Many people use the start of a new year with one or more resolutions: stop smoking, exercise more, visit the inlaws more, pay more attention to the kids and wife instead of spending time in your mens cave, that sort of thing. I have a hint for a New Year’s resolution: spent more time on your organization data recovery procedures and tooling.
Many of the customers I meet spent time on their backup process. But just a few actually spent time on checking if they are able to succesfully restore their data, in compliance to the service level agreements.
Backups need to be verified on a regular basis. Only than you can reasonably be sure you are able to restore data succesfully when data is lost. Some arguments on why not to trust automated backups are listed here. An example of what can happen if you do not check the backup is mentioned here. The story is about the Orleans Parish Clerk of Court office which experienced a computer crash at October 26 2010. The server which held the mortgage and conveyance digital records for the entire parish, and more importantly, the only index for the records, had gone offline. The full story can be read here: http://nola.humidbeings.com/posts/detail/181180/Our-Own-Worst-Enemy
Situations like this can be prevented by having reliable, up to date procedures. A regular check of the backup is one of the procedures. It can be time consuming to manually check if the backup can be restored, especially when the organization is still using phyiscal servers and not virtual machines. A very good software solution to perform automated verification of backup is Veeam Backup and Recovery version 5. The software is able to verify the backup of a VMware virtual machine by starting the machine from the backup media, in an isolated network environment. Read more about the SureBackup technology at the Veeam.com website.
Another solution would be the use of VMware Site Recovery Manager.
Whatever solution taken, make sure you have procedures if disaster strikes your datacenter.
To get some extra motivation for your resolution, read some of the disaster stories described at cxobriefing.com