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Data Protection Diaries: Are your restores ready for World Backup Day 2015?

March 20, 2015 – 12:43 pm

Storage I/O trends

Data Protection Diaries: Are your restores ready for World Backup Day 2015?

This is part of an ongoing data protection diaries series of post about, well, data protection and what I’m doing pertaining to World Backup Day 2015.

In case you forgot or did not know, World Backup Day is March 31 2015 (@worldbackupday) so now is a good time to be ready. The only challenge that I have with the World Backup Day (view their site here) that has gone on for a few years know is that it is a good way to call out the importance of backing up or protecting data. However its time to also put more emphasis and focus on being able to make sure those backups or protection copies actually work.

By this I mean doing more than making sure that your data can be read from tape, disk, SSD or cloud service actually going a step further and verifying that restored data can actually be used (read, written, etc).

The Problem, Issue, Challenge, Opportunity and Need

The problem, issue and challenges are simple, are your applications, systems and data protected as well as can you use those protection copies (e.g. backups, snapshots, replicas or archives) when as well as were needed?

storage I/O data protection

The opportunity is simple, avoiding downtime or impact to your business or organization by being proactive.

Understanding the challenge and designing a strategy

The following is my preparation checklist for World Backup Data 2015 (e.g. March 31 2015) which includes what I need or want to protect, as well as some other things to be done including testing, verification, address (remediate or fix) known issues while identifying other areas for future enhancements. Thus perhaps like yours, data protection for my environment which includes physical, virtual along with cloud spanning servers to mobile devices is constantly evolving.

collect TPM metrics from SQL Server with hammerdb

My data protection preparation, checklist and to do list

Finding a solution

While I already have a strategy, plan and solution that encompasses different tools, technologies and techniques, they are also evolving. Part of the evolving is to improve while also exploring options to use new and old things in new ways as well as eat my down dog food or walk the talk vs. talk the talk. The following figure provides a representation of my environment that spans physical, virtual and clouds (more than one) and how different applications along with systems are protected against various threats or risks. Key is that not all applications and data are the same thus enabling them to be protected in different ways as well as over various intervals. Needless to say there is more to how, when, where and with what different applications and systems are protected in my environment than show, perhaps more on that in the future.

server storageio and unlimitedio data protection

Some of what my data protection involves for Server StorageIO

Taking action

What I’m doing is going through my checklist to verify and confirm the various items on the checklist as well as find areas for improvement which is actually an ongoing process.

Do I find things that need to be corrected?

Yup, in fact found something that while it was not a problem, identified a way to improve on a process that will once fully implemented enabler more flexibility both if a restoration is needed, as well as for general everyday use not to mention remove some complexity and cost.

Speaking of lessons learned, check this out that ties into why you want 4 3 2 1 based data protection strategies.

Storage I/O trends

Where to learn more

Here are some extra links to have a look at:

Data Protection Diaries
Cloud conversations: If focused on cost you might miss other cloud storage benefits
5 Tips for Factoring Software into Disaster Recovery Plans
Remote office backup, archiving and disaster recovery for networking pros
Cloud conversations: Gaining cloud confidence from insights into AWS outages (Part II)
Given outages, are you concerned with the security of the cloud?
Data Archiving: Life Beyond Compliance
My copies were corrupted: The 3-2-1 rule
Take a 4-3-2-1 approach to backing up data
Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networks – Chapter 8 (CRC/Taylor and Francis)

What this all means and wrap-up

Be prepared, be proactive when it comes to data protection and business resiliency vs. simply relying reacting and recovering hoping that all will be ok (or works).

Take a few minutes (or longer) and test your data protection including backup to make sure that you can:

a) Verify that in fact they are working protecting applications and data in the way expected

b) Restore data to an alternate place (verify functionality as well as prevent a problem)

c) Actually use the data meaning it is decrypted, inflated (un-compressed, un-de duped) and security certificates along with ownership properties properly applied

d) Look at different versions or generations of protection copies if you need to go back further in time

e) Identify area of improvement or find and isolate problem issues in advance vs. finding out after the fact

Time to get back to work checking and verifying things as well as attending to some other items.

Ok, nuff said, for now…

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
twitter @storageio

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