By Deanna Hoover, Sr. Technical Marketing Manager, EMC Backup Recovery Systems
Summer has arrived! Most of my weekends are spent participating in activities filled with adrenaline and a little touch of risk.
This weekend we were rock climbing in an area that is very popular and filled with experienced climbers. While waiting for a route we were observing climbers in other groups.
One thing that I found shocking was the unnecessary risks the experienced climbers chose to take. We watched a guy take a fall of 25 feet. His confidence and experienced allowed him to make the decision to limit the protection he placed in the rock. During his fall he smacked his head on the rock (luckily he was wearing a helmet) and only suffered from a few scrapes and bruises. In the end he managed to walk away from the fall.
After speaking with other climbers in his group we learned the climber had completed the route successfully multiple times in the past and on this day was over confident and took safety for granted.
How does the climbing story and over confidence play into the life of a backup administrator? Well, let’s talk about this for a minute.
How many times have you completed the same task over and over again, taking the steps for granted, being confident in the outcome and not rethinking your plan? For example: How many times have you checked the backup console, found the backups and the DR copies were successful, and later found you could not recover data from tape? Did your confidence and past experience allow you to move through the familiar steps with confidence, only to realize later that you should have spent more time with validation?
Like the climber I met last week, backup administrators have the option to lessen the chances of “taking a fall.” For example, we can always reduce our risk of data loss by being more diligent about checking the status of our DR tapes (to avoid the over confident factor). We could randomly re-load backup tapes and verify their validity. How feasible is this really? We all know that validating backups will take a back seat to the day-to-day fire-drills that we all encounter; and even if they are verified, a tape could still fail on the next read pass.
So for those of you who are experienced and confident backup administrators – Let me ask you, are you sure that your experience and over confidence is not placing a risk on your ability to recover data?
I was recently on a call with a customer talking about this exact scenario. Management had full confidence in the backup administrators, and the backup administrators had full confidence in their backup software and hardware. There was little to no validation of their backups. This lack of attention to detail and an unreliable tape-based infrastructure resulted in the inability to restore important data. The root cause was that the disaster recovery tapes could not be read.
Customer’s before scenario:
- Backups were not completing within the available backup window.
- Full backups for remote offices ran for 3 days.
- The backup software was linited in its ability to validate the status of the backup and the cloning process.
- They had no reporting capabilities.
- The backup target was tape for both primary and secondary (DR).
- Tapes were sent off-site manually to a vaulting location.
- There was no internal tracking of the off-site tapes.
- Backup tapes were rarely sent off-site, even though the company policy was to have then sent off-site nightly.
- Restores were slow and unreliable.
Customer’s Next Generation Backup (implemented today):
- EMC NetWorker provided centralized management and reporting of backup, cloning and recovery.
- Data Domain is the backup target complete with replication managed to a remote Data Domain through NetWorker.
- The customer is running with a tape-less backup environment.
- Clone Controlled Replication makes it very easy and quick to test recovery of the data from the remote Data Domain appliance.
- The three day backups were noe completing in a few hours.
- High data Deduplication rates of 40X.
- DR data is automatically replicated and easily monitored within the NetWorker Management.
- Data replication efficiency – increased by 100%
- Restore rates are now down to seconds and extremely reliable.
To find out more on how you can legitimately feel confident that your backup environment is meeting your business needs check out the links on EMC NetWorker and Data Domain
Reach out to the EMC NetWorker Community and collaborate with your colleges: www.emc.com/networkeronline
To see a complete list of NetWorker modules: http://www.emc.com/backup-and-recovery/networker/networker.htm
A full list of the EMC backup and recovery portfolio: http://www.emc.com/backup-and-recovery
Plan on attending the backup and recovery sessions at EMC World: http://www.emcworld.com/