Custom Application Development

Dec 26 2008   11:00PM GMT

Backup Strategy and Disaster Recovery

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

Nobody that I know disagrees about the value and need for reliable backups.  Regardless of company size, having backups in place that protect company data is essential, yet recent writings and surveys seem to indicate that very few disaster recovery plans are tested for their effectiveness.  In fact most “true” disaster recovery plans will take into account much more than data backup.

A disaster recovery plan is like business continuity insurance — without it the best one can hope for is to “remember” all of the required pieces in order to solve the resulting puzzle.  Documentation is the best friend of a disaster recovery plan.  As an absolute minimum those functions absolutely required for the business to operate need to be identified, and a plan for recovering those functions documented thoroughly and clearly so that minimal “expert” help is required.  Speed of recovery must be considered, as well as the multitude of different disaster scenarios “most” likely to be faced.

For the small company my experience indicates that the most over-looked consideration regarding their backup strategy is that no consideration is given to ensuring that somehow there is a backup residing off premises of the “server” room.  Many companies have gone to backing to a USB disk attached to the system.  This provides safety for the event of server failure — and provides for quick backup and recovery.  However, in most cases the disk receiving the backup is physically located in the immediate proximity of the server and stays there, and as such, is subject to the same physical disaster potentials such as water, flood and fire as the server itself.

Using tape as a backup media has a number of disadvantages, however, it is very easy for a backup tape to be consistently brought off-premises.  Perhaps it is not quite as easy when the backup is to such as a USB disk — however — how much is that data really worth?  Somehow, its certainly best to have off-premises backup.

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