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  • #2285095

    What role do tape backups play in your DR solution?


    by debate ·

    Does your organization rely on tape backups as a primary part of your business continuity plan? Where do you store your backups? How often do you perform backups? Share your comments about the role of disaster recovery solutions in your organization, as discussed in the Nov. 16 Disaster Recovery newsletter.

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    • #3311766

      backups? what backups?

      by belgarath1 ·

      In reply to What role do tape backups play in your DR solution?

      live on the edge dont do backups!

    • #3311763

      Paranoid employee

      by sue’s comment ·

      In reply to What role do tape backups play in your DR solution?

      Having had near disasters before I tend to be paranoid on this issue!

      I take a full back tape home, daily, (23 miles from site). I keep a copy of the 1st Tuesday of every month (for 1 year) and a copy of each Tuesday in a given month (for a week).

      I also do a CD of our databases and “standards” monthly so all the required client database files and documentation could be up and running on a normal PC within minutes. I would like this to be weekly but I am having difficultly getting someone to buy the CDs. After all they cost pence!

      At least this way we would be able to alert our clients immediately that there has been a problem but we are fully operational! As I look after the databases this also enables me to look at the state of the database at any one month. This is more a history than a backup.

      • #3292572

        Storing backups at home?

        by flakes_73 ·

        In reply to Paranoid employee

        Don’t know what it is like in other countries but in the UK storing backups at home may invalidate your contents insurance for your home! Not sure of the exact details but a member of staff here was informed that if they stored backup tapes from their work at home then there house was regarded as a business and their current contents insurance would be invalid!

      • #3292571

        TApe BAckups

        by clane ·

        In reply to Paranoid employee

        I change the tape and backup daily, the previous days tape goes home with me, also daily.

      • #3292568

        Why do you do all handly?

        by vzhuravlyov ·

        In reply to Paranoid employee

        I think You spend too lot of your time for you restore scheme. We have our data backups with Legato Networker with Autochanger and all we have to do is controlling the process.

      • #3292512

        Tapes at home

        by jbrown ·

        In reply to Paranoid employee

        I don’t think this is a good idea for several reasons. What if the company fires you? You could destroy their backups. What if there is litigation and it’s known that you store data at home? Suddenly, you’re served with a warrant to search your premises. Either store the tapes at another office or contract with an offsite storage facility.

      • #3292490

        Tapes at home?

        by ·

        In reply to Paranoid employee

        Having a tape at home doesn’t seem to me to be any kind of secure or resilient DR solution to me? Why not use some sort of offsite storage company such as Iron Mountain (or their likes). Fairly low cost, they guarantee your data and you don’t have to worry about no being able to restore a backup because your car breaks down on the way to work!

    • #3311682
      Avatar photo

      Well I use a combination of

      by hal 9000 ·

      In reply to What role do tape backups play in your DR solution?

      USB HDD, DVD and Tape. The HDD are made daily and stored in a fireproof safe on site, the DVDs are made weekly or more frequently and stored off site and the tape is a continuous backup which is run a a 5 tape rotor with 4 of the current backups being off site and the oldest one being on site being overwritten on a daily basis.

      The HDD’s are nice and fast but the drives get very hot and have a relatively short life compared to those same drives used in workstations but then again they are subject to far more shocks than if they where fitted in a computer. However I should add here that we use the 2.5 inch drives from LT’s but this is just for ease of caring as the 3.5 inch drives in their caddies are a bit cumbersome to carry around.

      The DVDs are nice as well but not overly reliable as I’ve had a few with critical read errors now and at present I’m searching for new media which works better as the current crop of DVDs do not seem to be as well made as the previous ones.

      The tapes are a different kettle of fish and while being slow compared to the other two methods they still prove more reliable than any of the other backup systems that we currently use. The one advantage is the size over the DVDs as we use 40 GIG tapes but they are far slower to read/write than the HDD. On the up side so far we have yet have one fail and on all the major reinstalls that I’ve had to do it was always the tape which had more data stored than any of the other media.

      While the HDD’s and DVDs get you up and running quickly the tape eventually restores all the nice bits and pieces that the others can not copy. We have one server here with an autoloader which just runs away all day saving the data onto tape and at the end of the day we remove the used tapes and replace them with new ones or at least the oldest backup that we previously had. The unit than proceeds to backup all that days data while the business is closed for the day/weekend and anything else that was originally programed in to save.


    • #3311641

      Logic and admin errors can wipeout online and nearline storage

      by rograham1 ·

      In reply to What role do tape backups play in your DR solution?

      There are three additional reasons for REMOVING the media:
      1. There have been many historic situations where administrative error has obliterated massive quantities of online data (and real time replicas).
      2. Errors in online/nearline infrastructure code and microcode can cause extensive data loss due to even a partial destruction of data.
      3. Hardware failures can override normal write protection (including most WORM technologies).

      The removal and off-site relocation of data can preserve an ability to restore an application baseline in the event that online and nearline technologies have corrupted all production versions.

    • #3293261

      Reply To: What role do tape backups play in your DR solution?

      by silvioandpauly ·

      In reply to What role do tape backups play in your DR solution?

      Backups run nightly. For the most part, full backups run weekly, sent offsite in a rotation of 4 weeks.

      Differentials are run to a NAS running redundant hardware.

      SQL is backed up to disk, then a tape backup which also goes offsite.

      We run a recovery test every few months. I hate to get caught with my pants down.

    • #3293178

      Tapes? Yeah we still use them!

      by house ·

      In reply to What role do tape backups play in your DR solution?

      Full backups every week; differential everyday (includes home drives of clients). Hopefully the tapes will never have to be used. We implement various technologies including mirroring and SCSI Raid 5. Recent efforts have been devoted to consolidating our servers into the new IBM Sharks. Yeah we still use tapes…do we use them? NO!!! When a client box goes down, we give them a new machine…all of their vital data is stored on a network share…we have developped a solid system of standards with general images for very few different model types…about 5 minutes to revert a machine to its initial installation.

      • #3293166
        Avatar photo

        So what you are saying is that

        by hal 9000 ·

        In reply to Tapes? Yeah we still use them!

        While you still have tapes you are hoping to never need them Right?

        That is the thinking behind every good DR plan as it is always a last form of defense when things go wrong. With minor problems it may work perfectly to replace th unit that failed but in a large scale problem this is where a good DR plan comes into its own.


        • #3292997


          by house ·

          In reply to So what you are saying is that

          Since the power outage last year in central and eastern North America, we’ve also implemented a huge diesel generator at each site. While I would have rather seen a natural gas generator, it still gives us 24 hrs.

          The tapes are stored in a safe at a remote location. If we are talking about more serious disasters, our network will need some serious collaboration and manpower.

          Our main server room is sublevel and surrounded by concrete, so it is relatively safe.

          We are lucky in that our business is health care and the IT department is not the only one concerned with this issue.

        • #3292757
          Avatar photo

          Actually I use Solar for my off line power backup

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to Yes

          But then again I’m in Au so we have a lot of development in Solar technology and being south of the equator makes it even better.

          I’m glad you’re working in that field as I escaped from it several years ago because it was just beginning to get really hard to control who had access to patient data and with our new Privacy Laws it would be a nightmare now.

          Also I used to use the expression “No matter how bad things get no one is likely to die” well I had to stop that when I started working medical and then Government work. It really keeps the pressure on you knowing that any down time could be the difference between life and death doesn’t it?

          My worst case however was when I was working at a bank in the mainframe area we where doing some routine maintenance and removed several frames from the installation and pulled all the grates around them to gain access to the cables and so forth. At the end of the day we fenced off the area in question I removed all the power plugs and to all intents and purposes that area was dead from a power point of view. But some unknown idiot reconnected everything {we never did find out who it actually was} and of course the area we had fenced off was the shortest war to the tea room so some “Rocket Scientist” just pulled away the fencing and walked through the area on his return he trod in one of the open grates and fell into a powered frame which of course had all the covers off he quite nicely killed himself and I was left holding the can as being the top guy there I was held responsible in the Coroners Court for his death.

          But to this day I still do not know what more I could have done to prevent this incident and the Coroner while accepting the power plugs into evidence still found me responsible as I should have realized that someone could have replaced the plugs! I could have removed everything and still had it replaced and as we only had 6 weeks to perform the maintenance we couldn’t reassemble everything at the end of the day as we just lacked the time to do things like this.

          You have just got to love it as it is all part of the industry but I sometimes wonder why the hell I’m still doing it.


        • #3292741

          by house ·

          In reply to Actually I use Solar for my off line power backup

          …I’ve never been involved in a situation like that. I don’t even know what to say about that.

          There was an incident a few years back, involving the expansion of the building (I wasn’t working there then) and a half witted construction crew who shut off the oxygen and in turn cut off some poor guy’s life support.

          On another note, patient data is political and legal hell. I first started on a student placement and I wasn’t even able to access the temp storage area. I needed the remote share to store client data while rolling out new workstations. Every time I went to image a new box for an employee, I had to sit around and wait for a member of the IT staff to free up 2 seconds of his/her schedule to login. I told them to create a subfolder in the storage area for me to use, and set the permissions accordingly…NO…”you’re not allowed to access it”. Does this sound like a breach of security to you? Wasn’t I liable like everyone else? They said “no, since you’re not getting paid…what are we going to do if you do something…fire you?”

          Anyways, I guess they recognized my work, and offered me a job. But I’m still only juggling contracts on and off with a part time ISP and Home VoIP tech support job in between. Seems to be the way of the industry now…no jobs for life!

        • #3291234
          Avatar photo

          Fun isn’t it?

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to

          I have a doctor well actually a surgeon who has a network at his offices which is all XP home with no security at all involved and an internal modem in the main workstation {well there are only 5 stations} I once spent 16 hours down there patching the entire system and of course never considered billing him for the effort. Not because I didn’t want to be paid but I know that some jobs just are not worth the effort of sending an invoice. He would have paid without hesitation but it would have left a paper trail if he ever gets broken into and at the very least I would be called to give evidence against him.

          Anyway despite constant warnings he just isn’t interested in any form of security and even has PC anywhere on every workstation so that the makers of his medical program can log on and update as required which is perfectly all right from their point of view but it tends to leave a big hole which anyone could slip through. Anyway his reasoning for not locking it down is that I do not have any patient data on the system so it isn’t necessary. I on the other hand point out that he uses the system to bill Medicare {sought of like a nationalized health care scheme over here} for any of his patients. He says well yes but that’s perfectly all right and I do not have an personal data on the system. So I just have to ask what data is on the bills that you send to Medicare? Which of course has everything about the patient involved but he either can not or refuses to see the potential problems that he could face.

          AS he is a long time friend and we have just had new Legislation put into place this year I do my best for him to keep him out of jail and as he is the official Ballistic Expert here he is often called on by the Police to remove projectiles from victims and give reports. It is not uncommon for a Police car to arrive unannounced and whisk him away so I keep telling him one day they will take you away and not bring you back.

          I would hate to work that side of things as a long term place as you need more law skills than technical but I suspose I did for quite a few years so I’m no one to complain about it.

          Anyway best of luck and I hope everything goes smoothly for you for the long term.


        • #3291083

          Thank you

          by house ·

          In reply to Fun isn’t it?

          We’ve recently been providing local doctors with a citrix client so that they can logon, access, and enter patient data from their homes and offices. It is unbelievable to see what kind of systems they are running when we do a house call type training service. Some of their PCs are one generation above a calculator. I don’t even know how they can connect to the internet.

          We use a huge program called Meditec. There is a function for them bill our health care system. It ties in with our entire network and is a constant “work in progress”. According to Meditec, we are the largest client that they have. Even though the software is pretty mature, there are a lot of compatibility issues. I guess we are pretty lucky in a way…every issue that we have directly affects the development of the program. It is pretty much an internal app if you look at it that way, although they are the leading provider here in Canada.

          It sounds like a mad jungle down where you live. It is pretty quiet and comfortable in Canada. We don’t have to worry too much about projectiles and unorganized crime…except maybe in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.

    • #3291077

      No More TAPE feeding for hungry little bugger!

      by mr. tinker ·

      In reply to What role do tape backups play in your DR solution?

      I have removed TAPE from all of my customer’s diet. DVD-R is my choice for all my clients as it is not only FAR cheaper, but the Device is cheaper, and it automaticaly puts all my clients into a compliance with the Sarbanes Oxely Act.
      Now they have a rigid, understandable, and usable DR path when things break down. (I.e.. e eryone now knows what a backup and recovery process is, and how to implement it without erasing the past, week after week!)

      • #3291051

        Reply To: What role do tape backups play in your DR solution?

        by house ·

        In reply to No More TAPE feeding for hungry little bugger!

        This is a smart move on your part to block some of the legal fallback for you.

        Not a very reliable backup solution in a high turn over data environment.

        That’s just my opinion though…I don’t know what kind of business your clients are involved in.

      • #3292338

        Beware short shelf life of DVD-R

        by mgordon ·

        In reply to No More TAPE feeding for hungry little bugger!

        No doubt you have been apprised of short shelf life of some DVD-R especially if you put sticky labels on them; plan on less than two years if you put sticky labels on. But it *is* cheap storage, no doubt about it, and making two accomplishes some redundancy.

    • #3292333

      Diverse backup portfolio

      by mgordon ·

      In reply to What role do tape backups play in your DR solution?

      “Don’t keep your eggs all in the same basket” is good advice. Two vastly different storage philosophies compete. One is rapid restore of a mistakenly deleted file. That happens fairly often. We used to do a full backup to tape every night, but that consumes vast quantitites of tape and hits the network pretty hard all night long. Such things as incremental or differential backups require much more handling to restore a particular file. I still do selective full backups weekly (not all file types) to tape just for the archive but we are also experimenting with DVD-R. Only the tapes contain the full permission structure information.

      For immediate restoral purposes I am using rsync hosted on Linux to synchronize storage devices. Using the crontab, I instruct it to make 7 versions, one for each day of the week. Rsync is amazingly efficient; copying only changes and makes a replica (without all the permission info, but the permission structure is not complex in our case). Over the wire, rsync has some added benefits — bandwidth limiting, compression, and selective copying within a single file. What that does is hash the source and destination files (if they both exist), discover just the changed pages *within* the file and transmits only the changed pages. A test required only 30 kilobytes of wire transmission to synchronize two 11 megabyte spreadsheets in which one cell had been changed.

      So when the daily “oops” happens, I just type in “locate xxxx” where the filename replaces the x’s, look at the path to find the most recent one (last night usually) and copy the file back to the NAS device. To reduce the potential for catastrophe, the Linux box is permitted to read (only) the directory trees on the NAS to perform its synchronization; restores go to a special writeable folder and from there must be dragged to the final destination. Some commands entered into Linux can be VERY destructive to itself and any mounted storage. “How do I destroy thee, let me count the ways!”

      BEWARE file size limitations; some storage solutions fail if you have a file >8 gigabytes, and that includes some implementations (maybe all of them) of the zip compression format.

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