If March 31st is backup day, dont be fooled with restore on April 1st

March 28, 2012 – 8:13 pm

With March 31st as world backup day, hopefully some will keep recovery and restoration in mind to not be fooled on April 1st.

Lost data

When it comes to protecting data, it may not be a headline news disaster such as earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane or act of man, rather something as simply accidentally overwriting a file, not to mention virus or other more likely to occur problems. Depending upon who you ask, some will say backup or saving data is more important while others will standby that it is recovery or restoration that matter. Without one the other is not practical, they need each other and both need to be done as well as tested to make sure they work.

Just the other day I needed to restore a file that I accidentally overwrote and as luck would have it, my local bad copy had also just overwrote my local backup. However I was able to go and pull an earlier version from my cloud provider which gave a good opportunity to test and try some different things. In the course of testing, I did find some things that have since been updated as well as found some things to optimize for the future.

Destroyed data

My opinion is that if not used properly including ignoring best practices, any form of data storage medium or media as well as software could result or be blamed for data loss. For some people they have lost data as a result of using cloud storage services just as other people have lost data or access to information on other storage mediums and solutions. For example, data has been lost on cloud, tape, Hard Disk Drives (HDDs), Solid State Devices (SSD), Hybrid HDDs (HHDD), RAID and non RAID, local and remote and even optical based storage systems large and small. In some cases, there have been errors or problems with the medium or media, in other cases storage systems have lost access to, or lost data due to hardware, firmware, software, or configuration including due to human error among other issues.

Now is the time to start thinking about modernizing data protection, and that means more than simply swapping out media. Data protection modernization the past several years has been focused on treating the symptoms of downstream problems at the target or destination. This has involved swapping out or moving media around, applying data footprint reduction (DFR) techniques downstream to give near term tactical relief as has been the cause with backup, restore, BC and DR for many years. The focus is starting to expand to how to discuss the source of the problem with is an expanding data footprint upstream or at the source using different data footprint reduction tools and techniques. This also means using different metrics including keeping performance and response time in perspective as part of reduction rates vs. ratios while leveraging different techniques and tools from the data footprint reduction tool box. In other words, its time to stop swapping out media like changing tires that keep going flat on a car, find and fix the problem, change the way data is protected (and when) to cut the impact down stream.

Here is a link to a free download of chapter 5 (Data Protection: Backup/Restore and Business Continuance / Disaster Recovery) from my new book Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press).

Cloud and Virtual Data Storage NetworkingIntel Recommended Reading List

Additional related links to read more and sources of information:

Choosing the Right Local/Cloud Hybrid Backup for SMBs
E2E Awareness and insight for IT environments
Poll: What Do You Think of IT Clouds?
Convergence: People, Processes, Policies and Products
What do VARs and Clouds as well as MSPs have in common?
Industry adoption vs. industry deployment, is there a difference?
Cloud conversations: Loss of data access vs. data loss
Clouds and Data Loss: Time for CDP (Commonsense Data Protection)?
Clouds are like Electricity: Dont be scared
Wit and wisdom for BC and DR
Criteria for choosing the right business continuity or disaster recovery consultant
Local and Cloud Hybrid Backup for SMBs
Is cloud disaster recovery appropriate for SMBs?
Laptop data protection: A major headache with many cures
Disaster recovery in the cloud explained
Backup in the cloud: Large enterprises wary, others climbing on board
Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press, 2011)
Enterprise Systems Backup and Recovery: A Corporate Insurance Policy

Take a few minutes out of your busy schedule and check to see if your backups and data protection are working, as well as make sure to test restoration and recovery to avoid an April fools type surprise. One last thing, you might want to check out the data storage prayer while you are at it.

Ok, nuff said for now.

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press, 2011), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press, 2009), and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier, 2004)

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