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Performing Backups with Recovery in mind!


There is a big difference between Backups and Disaster Recovery. Companies mistakenly believe that their routine backup operations have them covered in an outage or disaster. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard a company say, “Our data is backed up via XYZ software to these tapes each night. That’s our DR plan.”

Data backup and disaster recovery are not the same! For one thing, the backup software can fail, the tape drive and tapes can fail, or the person responsible for backing up can fail. Also, backing up without recovery in mind is not backing up at all. There are other steps you have to take in order to successfully restore your data in the event you need your backup. Steps like assembling the right recovery environment (the right operating systems and servers and storage) and the right people, processes, and tools to bring back that backed up data.

There are numerous examples where unjustified faith in data backup software left an organization hanging after a disruption. Take the case of a Civil District Court in New Orleans in 2010. What seemed like a routine recovery of the county’s conveyance and mortgage records database after a server crash turned into a bigger headache than a night out during Mardi Gras. Without conducting a full restoration test, what went undiscovered for years was that the installation of an upgraded version of backup software actually failed, despite an indication that the upgrade had been successful. And for nearly a year, new records that were thought to be backed up were not, all while old copies were purged every 30 days.

The end result: Not only were all changes and new entries that occurred after the most recent backup lost, but so too were all records dating back to the 1980’s.DR2

You Have to Back Up with Recovery in Mind

“Begin with the end in mind.” You have to back up your data as if you will one day need to get it back. I’ll give you an example why this is so critical:

Lets say you backed data up from different servers and multiple applications by striping it across Tape drives. From a backup perspective, the main concern is not restoring data: it’s to back up data as quickly as possible. Along comes a disaster which required IT to recover the data. When they began to bring data back from these tapes, they quickly realize that striping the data created a million-piece jigsaw puzzle that was nearly impossible to reconstruct. In the end, they couldn’t find all the tapes necessary to put together this “puzzle.”


Create a backup and recovery strategy. Choosing the right tool for the job. Getting a copy of your backup and securely storing it at an offsite location. Put your recovery strategy into practice at least once or twice every year.