In many ways, backups are the heart of any design of critical systems. Handled properly, they represent the last line of defense against just about any catastrophe. Even if your building or your entire city is wiped out, your business can be restored on other computers from properly generated and protected backup tapes. But there are several "if" conditions that must be satisfied for everything to work out properly and data to be recoverable.
- Mirroring does not replace backups.
- The most common use of restores isn't after a catastrophe.
- Regularly test your ability to restore.
- Keep those tape heads clean.
- Beware of dirty tapes.
- Pay attention to Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) numbers for tapes.
- Tapes decompose over time.
- Make two copies of critical tapes.
- Make sure you can still read old media.
Learn more about these nine rules for better backups.
Backup management headaches
The amount of data that companies are producing is growing exponentially. The sheer quantity of data doesn't make it any less important to the company. So every bit needs to be backed up in case of an accidental deletion, a hardware failure or, as we have been reminded recently, an actual disaster. Everyone knows the data needs to be preserved, but how does an network administrator go about doing that without devoting all his time to backup management?
It's definitely an issue that hasn't gone unnoticed among the many backup software companies. Backup software is a multimillion-dollar industry, and wading through the vendor rhetoric can be a challenge in and of itself. Here we take a look at the biggest backup management headaches and challenges for network administrators:
- Shrinking backup window.
- Inability to force an enterprise-wide centralized backup policy.
- Inability to backup desktops and laptops confidently.
- Network bandwidth limitations.
- Rapidly growing data, and finding a place for it all.
- Tape management for recovery.
- Restoring quickly.
- Difficulty of backing up complex, heterogeneous environments.
- Remote management.
- Tape security.
Get some solutions for curing your backup management headaches.
Managing network traffic during backups
Backup and verification operations can create significant increases in network traffic. This can lead to reduced performance of your servers and all of the segments of the network involved in the backup. One solution to the problem of course is scheduling backups at a time when network usage is low, like before or after hours. Since this may not always be possible, you can perform backups in smaller incremental steps during normal hours.
Learn more about managing network traffic during backups.
This checklist was created by Doug Chick.
Disaster recovery basics
The lessons from the catastrophe of 9/11 are all too often replayed with every new calamity that comes along. If your company's operations are in any way reliant on data stored on computers, you cannot afford to ignore the basic tenets of disaster recovery preparation. If data is not backed up a sufficient distance out of harm's way, your company may not survive the disaster. At some point, maintaining shareholder value and meeting regulatory criteria will become paramount in the disaster recovery discussion. Use this as a checklist to gauge -- and improve -- the effectiveness of your disaster recovery plan.
This information was excerpted from "Disaster recovery success begins and ends with the basics" by contributor Dennis C. Brewer.
Learn more about disaster recovery.
This was first published in March 2005