Companies that rely too heavily on one long-time backup administrator run the risk of having a single point of failure in their backup infrastructure, according to Brian Sakovitch of GlassHouse Technologies, who suggests tongue-in-cheek that cloning that backup administrator is a possible solution. Failing that, bringing in more low-level backup administrators to fill the gap is a more realistic way to deal with the problem.
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Everyone has a backup horror story. For a backup administrator, surviving a backup nightmare can make one a a better backup administrator. Here David Boyd of GlassHouse recounts how a catastrophic failure of an Oracle database ended up making him a savvier manager.
What are the costs involved in switching to a new backup application? If you switched applications, could you retrain your same backup team? Will they bother to sacrifice their skill set to learn another or will they look for new jobs? Can the storage environment handle the loss of their years of detailed business knowledge? Would the long retention backup tapes sitting offsite be in a code that another software suite wouldn't be able to decipher? These are all valid questions to ask for any storage administrator whose organization is thinking of changing its backup application.
Your data could be too fat for your backup window. For the backup administrator, increasing volumes of data in database and file servers create a daily headache. Data volumes don't increase in line with technology refreshes. For now, at least, tape speeds allow large databases to be backed up in a timely fashion, but with an increasing dependency on proper environment design.
But there is one other question to ask when encountering large and growing data volumes: What is the value of all that extra data created on a daily basis? How much of it is replicated from elsewhere and how much of it can, therefore, be recreated – rather than restored – in the event of a disaster?
These are hard questions to ask, harder questions to answer, and the answers difficult to interpret. But until these questions are answered, you may find yourself having to back up ever-increasing data volumes.