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What Every Business Owner Must Know About Data Backup, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity (Part 3)

October 24, 2012
Reading Time: 3 mins

Problems with Tape Backup

In Part 2, I discussed issues that you should consider before settling on any system to ensure Business Continuity for your business.

In Part 3, we will explore one of the techniques that you probably have in place right now and the weaknesses that you should keep in mind.

Tape Backup.

We used to install this for our clients everywhere.

i. Problem 1 : What happens to the data that was created since my last backup? Ever heard of a system failure conveniently occurring right after the backup was finished? Tape Backups use a ”snapshot” approach. They backup the data as it existed at the time of the backup. It is a snapshot of the business then. It has nothing to do with the business now.

  • If your server died at 3pm today and your backup was last night:
    • How many email-based deals / quotes / customer discussions could ALL of your staff re-create from memory?
    • How much goodwill would you lose if you couldn’t recreate an email from an important customer. Is there a chance you could lose business / goodwill / productivity?
    • What was the last invoice or quote or supplier payment keyed into MYOB ?
  • Attempted Solution 1a – Run backups all day long – every hour, etc. The reality is you can’t do this.

ii. Problem 2 : Time To recover. Tapes are very slow. It’s just one long, single lane highway. To find your data , the tape drive has to read all along the single lane until it finds the data you are after. Also, if your tape drive or the server itself is damaged/lost you have to wait for new hardware to arrive before you can even start the recovery process! How long can you really be off the air or without key data ?

iii. Problem 3 : Our customer’s data kept outgrowing the capacity of the tape!

  • Attempted Solution 3a – Buy a bigger tape drive – Of course, it uses different tape media which is incompatible with the old ones. What do manufacturers do ? They keep creating new technology every few months to keep up with this growth. That’s great but what happened to the old model? Can I still get it if my current tape drive fails? Will it even connect to these new-fangled servers that have just been released .
  • Attempted Solution 3b – Buy extra tapes. That’s great but the tape can’t change itself unless you an afford expensive enterprise-level jukebox drives. So now we change the tape when we get to work the next day and the whole network suffers whilst the backup writes to tape and have I backed up that document I worked on yesterday that I just accidently deleted?

iv. Problem 4 : Our customer’s data kept outgrowing the speed of the tape drive! Backups were taking hours and still running in business hours slowing down the network!

  • Attempted Solution 4a – Buy a faster tape drive – Of course, it uses different tape media which is incompatible with the old ones. What do manufacturers do ? They keep creating new technology every few months to keep up with this growth. That’s great but what happened to the old model? Can I still get it if my current tape drive fails? Will it even connect to these new-fangled servers that have just been released .
  • Of course, it uses different tape media which is incompatible with the old ones. What do manufacturers do ? They keep creating new technology every few months to keep up with this growth. That’s great but what happened to the old model? Can I still get it if my current tape drive fails? Will it even connect to thesenew-fangled servers that have just been released.
  • Attempted Solution 4b – Delay the backups . Let’s put the backup off until the weekend ! So, what happens if a failure occurs during the week. We have lost that data completely !

v. Problem 5: What happens if the tapes fail. The reality is that all tapes fail eventually – they stretch, are stored incorrectly next to magnetic fields, or are not even taken offsite in case of a site failure! There is no real protection against this.

vi. Problem 6 – Human Error. Did your staff member rotate the tapes and store them off-site as they should?

Sensible Business Solutions has developed a Sensible Recovery System which will help your dramatically reduce the impact of any Business Interruption or failure . Contact Sensible for more details.

In Part 4, we will further explore one of the techniques that you probably have in place right now and the weaknesses that you should keep in mind.

Email Kevin Spanner: info@sensible.com.au

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