A server data backup plan that consists of doing a bare metal server restore on the fly may not be good enough. If you are serious about protecting data, here are some tips to make life easier.
There are two classes of backups – physical backups and soft backups. Physical backups provide the ability to restore a system on-site. Soft backups involve storing data off-site. They really don’t represent a choice so much as solutions to different problems.
Physical backups enable you to restore data when something goes wrong on-site. They are great for hardware failures, for example. Soft backups ensure continuity when something goes wrong with the site itself – flood, fire, or similar disaster. They are both necessary, even though they represent some redundancy.
More Than One Basket
If you put all of your eggs in one basket and drop the basket, you have no eggs. If you maintain only a single backup, you run the risk of having no backup at all. You should maintain multiple incremental backups.
For example, maintain daily backups for the previous three days, a weekly backup, and a monthly backup. Maintaining the past three weekly and monthly backups provides additional protection.
How Low Can You Go?
Bare metal restore means starting without anything on the hard drive. If you expect to perform a bare metal server restore, make sure you have all bootable media, drivers, and COAs, and that they match the system. Remember, you won’t be able to retrieve anything from the network until you install the network drivers.
RAID is No Backup
RAID is redundancy to protect against a hardware failure, not a backup plan. If a drive fails, RAID can get you back up quickly, but it can’t protect you against data loss under other circumstances.
Put it in Writing
Have a written backup and recovery strategy. It is always better to decide how to handle a problem before it occurs rather than trying to find a solution while the situation is unfolding. When your house is on fire, there is no time to be comparing escape routes.
Nothing was There
There is a story told about the early days of large corporate computing systems. The mainframe computer crashed, and the data processing personnel pulled out the daily backup tape to do a restore. The tape was blank. So they tried the previous day. … Same problem … So they tried the weekly backup, and then the monthly backup. It turned out the head on the drive used to make backups had failed several months before. No one had verified the tapes.
Verifying your server data backup and your restore procedures before you need them should be part of your data backup strategy.
NEI can provide solutions to physical hardware deployments and design solutions with built-in redundancy. Contact us to better understand how we can ease application deployment challenges, and stay tuned for future blogs that will describe additional virtual and cloud backup strategies.