Virtualization Technology News and Information
World Backup Day 2020: Breaking Out of Backup Traps and Being a Recovery Hero

Written by SolarWinds

Today is World Backup Day, and while it's always important to run your backups regularly, this annual holiday is a good reminder to make sure your current backup strategy is up to speed and effective.

Backing up your data is critical to business continuity. Especially as the new enterprise security perimeter extends beyond company offices to home offices, coffee shops, airports, and remote locations, backups are now more than ever a critical consideration when it comes to ensuring business data is protected, recoverable, and available immediately after disaster strikes.

However, a backup strategy can also get complicated quickly-hardware failures, cyberattacks, natural disasters, and human error can get in your way when trying to keep up. What matters most is how prepared we are to act in recovery.

Members of the SolarWinds® THWACK® community came up with a list of backup headaches, success stories, and advice to emphasize the importance of a backup strategy. Here's what they shared:

●        Backup support wizard

"The best backup support experience I've had was back in the 1990s when I was first exposed to a small HP DAT cartridge array. I purchased it to back up a firewall daily, and it would automatically rotate through a small number of DAT tapes, and it worked well, until the day it didn't.

"Fortunately, I wasn't relying on it for a restore, but I could see it had errors, and I had no technology documentation or training for it. I called HP's support number that was printed on a label on the DAT library and was immediately in touch with an engineer-I don't mean a Help Desk person who had experience with it, I'm talking about the actual engineer who designed it and who'd written its operating code. Talk about competence on a landline! I was in heaven.

"This fellow was not only an uber-geek, but he had social communication skills that would make a hostage negotiator humble. It's a tech support experience I don't think I'll ever forget-he was able to remotely use my eyes and hands to diagnose the issues and correct them quickly and efficiently.

"This is a lesson I remember each time I pick up the phone to answer a call from someone with a challenge. I wish more magic phone numbers put me in touch with the root wizard for any system I'm working on."

-          User: rschroeder

●        Backups: the life preserver of IT

"The EURO conversion which took place over the year end 1998-1999 required us to recalculate the Mutual Fund portfolios managed at the firm where I worked.

"The software vendor for the book of record system gave us a set of steps to follow-when we were at the next to last step (waiting for the country to EURO final values) I had my team snap another backup of the system ‘just in case.'

"A few hours later, the data came in and we were clear to apply the conversion rates and do the recalculation, 45 minutes later we got a panic call that there was something wrong with those rates and we would have to start again (picture 8 to 10 hours). We restored the backup, applied the new ‘validated' rates, and 2-3 hours later it was adult beverage time!

"I heard horror stories from my peers at other firms that used the software package about recovering. When asked why I did the backup, my comment was ‘stuff happens' and ‘Murphy lives!' Backups are the life preserver of IT!"

-          User: gfsutherland

●        It's all fun and games until a restore is needed

"In the early '90s, I was a CNE working for a Fortune 500 company in Silicon Valley that relied on cc: Mail. We'd recently taken over the support contract and hadn't fully explored/comprehended the scope of the infrastructure when one of the Gateway/Router systems failed to cause a frantic call for action because business processes were interrupted.

"The system had to be returned to service quickly, so I poked around the computer and noticed the disk was reported ‘missing' during POST and it seemed a rebuild (no backups or documentation available) was imminent. In desperation, I removed the hard drive and gave it a good shaking, installed it and crossed my fingers. The computer ‘saw' the disk during start-up and mail began to flow again.

"After that incident, I give more thought to business processes and how service interruptions should be evaluated for their impact and mitigated. I think backups are a useful tool and it should be one resource in the SYSADMIN tool kit. Backup wise, it's all fun and games until a restore is needed."

-          User: jcrhoten

"In the 2000s, one of our teammates was not familiar with restoring to a different location. The files were for the VP, so imagine our surprise when emails were missing because files were being overwritten-not the best way to learn how to use your backup system."

-          User: ferrashoo

"Best backup/recovery day was when one of our new shiny host servers decided to melt down overnight. I was first in at 6 a.m. to do the morning checks and Nagios had so much red over it and enough dead systems to look like the last battle in a John Wick movie.

"Fortunately, the backup for that server completed about 20 minutes before it failed, so with some creative space-saving, we were able to restore everything."

-          User: scouseroy

●        A disaster recovery plan is always needed

"Around six years ago I received a call from a client asking if I could help them with some server issues. When I arrived, I found out that the night before someone had accidentally left the water running in the janitor's closet that was right above the server room making a waterfall down the server rack and over the servers. After shutting down the waterfall and figuring out what was water damaged, I asked about their disaster recovery plan and their answer was they had none.

"The whole process took 36 hours or so. It was quite the learning experience, and after it, I ended up meeting with the rest of my clients to make sure they understood a disaster recovery plan is always needed."

-          User: martian_monster

●        General words of advice

"Backups are required for everything-because you have never had an issue, doesn't mean you won't. You need to make sure you're backing up all your services-including cloud and other items like email. I am surprised when companies stick with the cheapest solution when they want to protect their most valuable asset-their data.

"I celebrate a day which reminds us all to back up by testing my backups. No, I do not trust a single solution-you test backups by how well you can recover by looking at the speed of the recovery and accuracy."

-          User: jeremymayfield

"Your backups are only as good as your last restore!"

-          User: zennifer


Published Tuesday, March 31, 2020 10:44 AM by David Marshall
There are no comments for this post.
To post a comment, you must be a registered user. Registration is free and easy! Sign up now!
<March 2020>