I have been hearing the term "bounce the database" lately, and researching it, it seems that people take it to mean different things.

Most recently is was an Oracle DBA saying:

"not even the DBAs could access the instance, so we had to bounce the database"

Is there a standard definition?

In the context of Oracle databases, I have seen people use it to refer to a shutdown normal, shutdown immediate, or shutdown abort followed by a restart.

Would it mean the same thing in the context of SQL Server? e.g. stop the service, restart, or kill the service abruptly, restart, etc.

Perhaps in all cases it just means to shutdown and restart a database (or instance?, or server?) and depending on the context, can be achieved in a variety of ways.

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    While some teams/companies will use this term, I find the meaning can vary widely and include all or some of what you've listed. I make it a point to say specifically what I am doing, i.e. "We are going to reboot the Windows server because that is how you fix problems with MSSQL." I doubt you'll find any consensus. Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


I agree with gbn's answer, to an extent. Bouncing the database will always mean that the database will be shut down and restarted (like bouncing a ball implies that it leaves your hand, hits something else, and comes back to your hand).

However, as noted by LowlyDBA in the comments, the specifics of the meaning could be very different.

If a DBMS allows you to close and reopen one specific database, that might be sufficient. In most cases, I would expect the DBMS itself to have been stopped and restarted somehow (through any mechanism from the "shutdown normal" you mention to having the OS force terminate the process). It could even mean the server itself was restarted (anywhere from nicely to "yank the plug").

If someone else is asking you to "bounce the database" and you've got any doubts as to what they mean, I'd ask for clarification.


It's been consistent for me: bounce generally means restart - Bounce SQL Server = restart the service, normally - Bounce the server = reboot - Bounce the PC = reboot - Bounce IIS = run iisreset

I'd interpret "bounce Oracle" as restart the DB engine processes

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