After last year’s VMware CBT bugs that made Virtual Machines backups unrecoverable we understand Sales Guy’s “Dont Ever Backup” frustration… but nowadays there is no reason to get crazy and freak out about backups, so here’s my response to:
Tip #3 – Freak Out
Tip #3: “If you ever discover you have lost valuable data, you’ll get the quickest response from IT if you freak the #$%! out. If your throat isn’t sore the next day, you weren’t screaming loud enough. And working up some tears won’t hurt. Just remember: You are the center of your IT department’s universe.”
One of our best practices to customers is to test your backups daily to be sure all your data and IT Services are fully functional when recovered from backup. This also ensure that they meet your RPO and RTO business goals, something we like to call Recovery Assurance… so it’s not necessary to pray anymore while your last backup is being restored for hours.
But how is this possible without investing in lot of people and money? I am sure the Sales Guy from The Pepper (Spiceworks) didn’t think daily testing was possible or affordable because he remembers his first job years ago as backup operator. Memories of spending a full weekend with his colleagues doing a manual DR Test while playing Quake and other video games in the LAN to fill the many hours while backups were restored from tape to start the DR Tests.. but things have changed bit.
Nowadays it’s common to see backup solutions that allow you to mount and access data (virtual machines or files) directly from backup disk in few seconds or minutes.
These Instant Recovery technologies can be automated to daily simulate a DR Test scenario where you run one or more virtual machines from last backup on a “Test Network”, boot them in the right order, and run application tests scripts to verify your IT Services and data from backup is fully functional when you need it. At the end of the DR Test everything is cleaned up and ready for next DR Test, and of course you get a report with the issues encountered during the DR Test, and a daily report on RTO and RPO compliance of all your IT Services… All these processes run scheduled daily without human intervention, and without affecting production workloads or users.
Do you need to freak out when you find out you have an audited annual DR Test next weekend and you don’t have time to prepare for it? Not anymore! If you put in place these daily automated tests you can find issues sooner, and recover all your services with just one click before your users start freaking out at you!
What about if your company relies on cloud backups and there isn’t an IT team to freak out? For these companies it is important to notice that you may not have direct access to call and freak out to IT team running general purpose clouds like Amazon, Azure or Google, so it gets more important to use tools that can provide this Recovery Assurance and automated recovery and testing, or find a MSPs or specialized DRaaS cloud vendor like Unitrends that can provide you with a more customized DR solution and daily DR Tests reporting.
The best way to be prepared for a disaster is to fail and learn from failures… but let’s be clear it gets much better if we learn from the daily simulated DR tests failures than from a real disaster recovery failure.
*Editor’s note – each day this week we’ll be responding to some of the tips that were suggested in the Spiceworks Pepper article in celebration of World Backup Day. Check back each day to see what the Unitrends staff thinks of these tips. We’d love to hear your thoughts about these tips, & our responses.