Thursday, March 02, 2006

Backup, Backup, Backup

One would think that by now everyone with a computer would know enough and be wary enough to back up thier important data.
One would think that everyone who backs up actually performs a test restore, to make sure that the backup process is actually working.
Just last week I had a client need to restore a file. She assured me that she checked the backup log every day, and was getting good backups. On arrival I found that she was indeed getting a backup log every day : an empty one. No backups were being made. File gone forever.
I've seen a business nearly fold over the loss of critical SQL data due to the old SQL worm. Again, a backup was being made, but no one bothered to check and make sure that the SQL databases were actually making it to the tape.
These days there is no excuse for bad backup practices. We've all heard the horror stories. We've had clients backing up faithfully to CD every day, only to find out they were making frisbees. We've had tapes go bad. We've had laptops stolen.
What we need is a miracle: a backup process that is real time, transparent to the end user, and free. For smaller companies and home users, there are a plethora of Online Backup companies sprouting up. I've used Streamload for a while now, and the free version isn't anything to write home about, but it works.
Internally we rely on Novell's iFolder to backup critical laptop data, and it just works, whether the end user is plugged into our network or into the internet somewhere.
We all know what happens when a user loses data: the poor IT schlep gets the blame. We've got to play CYA in terms of backup. That involves off-site rotations, test restores, tape rotation, and daily log checks. Huge pain, I know. But it's one of the things you just DO, because when a backup fails it your rear end hanging in the breeze.
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