Home Datacenter With backups, it’s the restore that really counts

With backups, it’s the restore that really counts

by Philip Sellers

Broken iPhoneWhen is the last time your backups were tested?  For me, personally, it was a couple weeks ago.  My wife and I were sleeping beside our very sick child in the hospital (he’s great now, by the way).  My wife got up in the night to do something and her phone hit the floor – one of those unfortunate and precise hits that ruined the phone.  The screen detached but didn’t shatter, but I wasn’t able to pull data off of it the next day.  I went into one of my company’s stores and purchased a new phone.  While there, I saw another father from our daycare who was doing the same – buying a new phone to replace his that ended up taking a cola bath.  While I stayed and began my restore from the cloud backup, he left with fingers crossed that he might be able to dry out his phone in a bag of rice and get data off of it.  I honestly don’t know if he succeeded.  I left that store an hour later with an exact duplicate of my wife’s phone from a day earlier.

It’s a pretty common scenario at home.  It’s a common scenario in business, too.  Four years ago, a friend called me one Monday morning.  She arrived to work to find out that her office suite had been flooded due to a burst pipe in the unit above her.  No one was able to find her contact information over the weekend and so she arrived to the shock of her life – a very soggy and expensive problem.  When she called me, she needed to know how safe her data was and to see about how to handle several computers who had spent the weekend at an indoor waterpark.  After going through something of that magnitude, it brings a whole new urgency to data protection and she was ready to sign up for a cloud backup immediately.  Two years later, another (near) tragedy struck – this time in the form of data corruption that lost all the data in her NAS.  Fortunately, all the data was protected online and was restored to a clean volume a short time later.  I could tell you other stories without happy endings from my years of experience.

The good news is that cloud backups or backup as a service makes it incredibly easy and attainable to have a bullet-proof backup strategy.  It’s basically Baskin Robbins in cloud backup today – there’s a flavor for everyone.  You can choose from simple file-based backups all the way up to mirrors of production servers that can be booted up in the cloud during a disaster.  There’s specialized application mirror and application aware backups and everything in between.  The moral of the story and what I hope you think about, is how safe is your data?  Yes, you may have a backup that runs without error – but when’s the last time you tested a restore?

The infographic below from SingleHop gives some stats on cloud backups along with the causes and costs of downtime.


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