[Preface: This is an excerpt to the 7 Shortcuts to Losing Your Data (and Probably Your Job) white paper and the 7 Shortcuts to Losing Your Data (and Probably Your Job) webinar; click on the respective links to get the white paper or to get access to a pre-recorded webinar (or sign up for a live webinar.)]

Data Loss Shortcut: Ignore Hardware Failure

Shortcut to Losing Your Data

Hardware failure is the leading cause of data loss; thus ignoring hardware failure is the most important shortcut you can take in order to lose data. You have several choices with respect to taking this shortcut. The most straightforward technique to lose your data is to imply ignore that hardware failure can occur and simply not backup your systems and data. Of course, that’s a bit crass – there are more subtle ways to ensure data loss.

Another age-old option to help you lose your data is to use tape as your backup medium. With the high failure rates associated with tape, sooner or later you’re assured that you’re going to need to recover your data and not be able to do so.

A creative technique to ensure you will eventually lose your data is to use your SAN or NAS storage device as both the source of the backup and the target of a backup. Note that I’m not referring to snapshots in between physical transfers of data off the SAN or NAS; I’m talking about using your SAN and NAS for primary storage and for backup storage exclusively.

Taking Another Path

To protect yourself from hardware failure, you have to move your data from primary storage to a completely separate secondary storage. That secondary storage can be (and should be) less expensive than your primary storage, but it has to have RAS (Reliability, Availability, Serviceability) characteristics that are as good or better than your primary storage. Those requirements rule out tape as well as ruling out partitioned primary storage (SAN or NAS) – although SAN and NAS snapshotting may be used between primary backup protection. The best approach is some type of D2D (Disk-to-Disk) backup. The advantage to D2D backup is that you are using secondary media with higher reliability characteristics than tape while still insuring that you have a physically separate secondary storage set so that you can survive hardware and system failure.