I Want to Restore my Data but . . . It’s Not There!!

Dec 2009
10

I Want to Restore my Data but . . . It’s Not There!!

Posted by Larry Bourgeois in Featured
 

This post is inspired by a tweet I saw recently from @thedren about having recovered data that was corrupted.

As a Solutions Engineer for a backup and recovery software vendor, the following customer conversation is all too familiar to me –

Customer – “I would like to talk to you about your backup software solution.”

Me – “OK. What is wrong with your current solution?”

Customer – “I need to replace it. It almost got me fired.”

Me – “That is not good. What happened?”

Customer -“I needed to restore our production accounting database and when I tried to restore I found out that the backups were corrupt and I had no usable data written to disk or to any of my backup tapes.”

Me – “Did the backups show any errors?”

Customer – “No. All the logs showed successful backups.”

Me – “Did you get your data back?”

Customer – “Yes. We were able to find an older backup from our off-site archives that was successful, but we had to spend many hours bringing the data up to date. Saved my job though!”

Me – “Do you have a policy in place to perform test restores as a part of your DR solution?”

Customer – “I did not before, but I will have a restore testing policy in place when I implement my new backup solution!”

Sound familiar? I would hope not, but how many of us would be in this customer’s shoes if a critical restore is needed? Although restore testing should be a part of any company’s DR plan, many companies either ignore this important function or are just too busy to take the time to perform any restore validation of their backup data.

The solution to this issue is to look for backup and recovery software solutions that have a built-in functionality to perform a test restore by reading data from the backup server to verify its integrity. This operation will ideally take place entirely on the backup server so no valuable outside network or system resources are used. No data needs to actually be restored to the source and this operation can either be initiated manually or scheduled as a part of the backup policies. Needless to say, the recoverability of your data should be the key focal point of discussion when looking at newer and better solutions. Backups are no good unless the data can be restored correctly. Don’t let this be you!

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