No one thinks making backups is an exciting use of technology. People think backups are routine and boring, and they aren't given much attention. That's probably a fair assessment, most of the time. You know when backups stop being boring? When you need to retrieve valuable data from them and your recovery process doesn't work.
Ideally, restoring from backups should be as routine and boring as creating them. The best way to make that happen is by periodically testing your backup and recovery process. Thankfully, virtualization and automation make these tests relatively painless. You should schedule regular tests periodically and add additional tests when an application has a major change (or its data has a major change) or a new application is deployed.
Backups Can Fail in Many Ways
There are many ways your backup and recovery process can fail you:
- the backup process wasn't monitored and failure warnings weren't seen.
- backup media has failed and files are corrupted and unreadable.
- critical files are omitted from the backup process.
- backups are encrypted and the key has been lost.
- the software needed to run the restore process isn't available.
- the restore software isn't compatible with the new media or backups created with an older version of the software.
- configuration settings for the restore don't work.
- recovery procedures aren't documented, or personnel aren't trained in them.
Backup Test Recommendations
Make sure your backup process won't fail you when you need it most by testing it when you don't need it at all. To be useful, your tests should:
- Be comprehensive. Don't just check a couple of files; check entire folders, applications, virtual machines, physical servers. You can omit a few low-priority applications, but all business-critical systems should be tested.
- Test restores. Backups are only useful if you can use them to restore operations. Make sure you are able to restart applications with the restored data.
- Restore to clean machines. In the worst case, you'll need to rebuild your environment from scratch, or close to it. Test loading data onto a server that hasn't run that application before.
- Collect statistics. Measure how long it takes you to locate the data you need, load it onto the machine, and get the application online again to have a realistic estimate of how long your servers will be down in a crisis.
Managed Backup Keeps An Eye on Your Backups
Are you concerned about whether your backup strategy is really working? Managed Backup from dcVAST eliminates the worry. Our professional team will implement an effective backup solution using Veritas NetBackup and monitor its operation to make sure any alerts or failures are addressed. We're also there when you need to put your backup into use to recover systems and services. Contact us to learn how Managed Backup can protect your business from costly loss of data.