Some research indicates that the offender probably fat-fingered some options to oninit, causing sysmaster and sysutils to be initialized from scratch.
Surely, surely there is a way to regain access to this database by "re-educating" sysmaster and sysutils? Or am I on the wrong path here?
There is a cold backup from May of this year. Would it be possible to restore sysmaster and sysutil dbspaces from this old backup, and have any chance of success? O'Reilly's process flow ( http://examples.oreilly.com/unixbr/informix.html ) step 6 says:
"Can't I just restore the critical dbspaces?
Both ontape and onbar allow you to specify a list of dbspaces to restore. This even works with critical dbspaces. However, if you restore just the critical dbspaces, the restore leaves all other chunks in an "inconsistent" state, as specified by the "I" flag that they display after the restore is done. Informix support does have a tool that will change this flag to consistent, but your mileage will vary on this one. If you are restoring a critical dbspace, you should really restore the whole thing."
...Which seems to indicate I would need an Informix consultant's tool to finish the job.
There are two paths you can go here. You can do a physical restore of the entire instance from your May backup and live without the data you lost between then and now, or you can call the down systems group in tech support. There are ways of recovering your data if you haven't reused any of the disk space this instance previously used. They would likely charge time+materials to do this work.
mbishop, thank you so much for your reply. I think your response (the second option) is exactly what I was hoping to hear. I suspected this much was the case.
We actually recently contacted IBM for this, and the support human said it could not be done, even if all the raw devices were pristine. I myself doubted this. I think we got a dud on the phone.
I will escalate with them.
I cannot believe this is an unprecedented scenario, that there's no better way of dealing with this. I know the ultimate way is backups- would never dispute that. Still it's excrutiating to know the situation and to be told there's no recourse. I know the data is there. I can run 'strings' on the raw devices and see the data.