Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Backups are important

I think backups are usually the most poorely done thing in any organization. Even if you have a backup solution it is very rarely checked to ensure that it is working.

1. How often are backups verified / tested. If possible I recommend taking a system and restoring your backup to it and see if everyone can still work.

2. How old are your tapes? They don't last forever you know. I don't know the average life but I am guessing at 1-2 years depending on rotation.

3. Do you have a rotation (i.e. a tape for every day of the week)? If yesterday is corrupt then going back 2 days is not terrible

4. Are your backups stored offsite? If not, set your building on fire as an exercise and see how well you can recover.

5. Do you have a backup server? Replacement hardware can take time to install and configure. I recommend having a spare server on site that you can restore to (or better yet clone your data to it periodically and have a spare with all the data).

Backups are not just about computers.

Do you have a backup internet connection?

Do you have a backup air conditioner? (one of my clients had all their servers go down last night as the air conditioner crapped out).

Do you have backup power? Even if it is only 15 minutes that could be all the time you need to save your work

Do you have a backup backup opperator. If only one person knows how to backup / restore then just hope they don't get sick.

Do you have your servers off the floor? Floods and computers don't mix. I had a client whos air conditioners drain pipe (to drain away the condensation) break and flooded the server room. Thankfully the servers and power connections were off the floor.

If you are not confident that you could wipe all the computers in your organization and be back at work 100% in a quick period of time (1-2 days depending on size of organization) then its time to re examine your backup solution(s).

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