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What is the meaning of should loss occur in the following text?

Backup and recovery procedures protect your database against data loss and reconstruct the data, should loss occur. The reconstructing of data is achieved through media recovery, which refers to the various operations involved in restoring, rolling forward, and rolling back a backup of database files. This chapter introduces concepts fundamental to designing a backup and recovery strategy.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Should something happen is equivalent to if the thing in question happens.

Therefore the sentence from your paragraph could be rewritten as:

Backup and recovery procedures protect your database against data loss and reconstruct the data, if loss occurs.

A simpler example to help you understand this easier:

Should I arrive late tomorrow, we will not watch the movie together.

Is the same as:

If I arrive late tomorrow, we will not watch the movie together.

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I can go with that. But note that it's quite normal to call this particular thing in question "data loss". The author just didn't fancy the ugly repetition of writing ...reconstruct the data, should data loss occur. –  FumbleFingers Jul 5 '11 at 1:25
    
@FumbleFingers: I was just trying to explain the phrase, not improve the original text. If you have a suggestion on how my answer could be made better, please say so and I will edit it! –  RiMMER Jul 5 '11 at 1:26
    
I wouldn't have presumed so much. But since you invite me... You added "of data", which altered the sentence more than was strictly necessary. I'd have left it out, since by implication we're assuming the only thing OP didn't understand was use of the word "should". If you think he wouldn't understand "loss" to mean "data loss" that doesn't matter since my first comment clarifies that. Or you're welcome to crib something like that into your text and I'll delete mine. I'm all for polished answers! :) –  FumbleFingers Jul 5 '11 at 1:45
    
...the rest of the answer is probably as good as it gets, btw –  FumbleFingers Jul 5 '11 at 1:46
    
Well, I don't know why I put it there in the first place. I guess I was just trying to explain the sentence to the OP as carefully as was possible, but your point is valid. I erased it. –  RiMMER Jul 5 '11 at 1:49

This question is related:

Basically, should is being used in the subjunctive here, and is:

(used to express condition):

So, in this case:

...reconstruct the data, should(will only happen if condition is fulfilled, in this case "loss") loss occur.

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