Backups are the difference between happy management & upset management with unemployed staff. Better to do it than not, after all, what have you got to lose?
A few years ago, I had a coffee cup that stated, with a picture of a homeless man busking: "Software Meltdown, Data Destroyed, Didn't do no Backup, Now I'm Unemployed". I used to trot that cup out at meetings with clients, vendors, you name it, the cup was at nearly every meeting I attended. Then it crashed. I didn't drop it, it just died when I was on holidays. When I bought it, there were two cups exactly the same. A smart bet would have been to buy the second cup as a backup when this exact situation occurred. I didn't. When the cup was cracked and unusable, I realised that my attitude was that I would be ok, it would last forever.
I treated data exactly the same way, up until the day the cup broke. I kept everything locally, I didn't use the H: drive set up on the server for me, I didn't even bother to save my Outlook PST file. As is the way with data, it grew. the outlook data grew until one fateful day, without warning, it crashed the system. When I rebooted, I got the chilling message that any user fears...
<Disk not Found>
I had a command prompt, so, drawing on my old basic commands, I tried to see what files were there, if I could find the C: drive, a directory tree, nothing.
I was, to put it mildly, in a large amount of poo. I had a tender to respond to, a proposal to write, umpteen emails to reply to, and I couldn't even see the Operating system, the hard drive or my network. I yelled at the computer, I banged the mouse, the keyboard and cursed it to the lower reaches of hell. I blamed the IT Guys (unfairly, of course) the manufacturer, anyone I could think of. I never ran a rescue disk, I never thought about it and blamed myself.
I managed to hunt down a dusty floppy disk. it had "rescue" written on it. I didn't know if it was this version of windows, DOS, or PS/2. I gave it a go, and windows returned to my screen. I was very lucky.
I completed my work for the week, and went on holiday.
When I returned, my cup was broken, my system was bloated with all the emails people still sent me, even though my out of office was on, and I was confronted with two pressing issues: Replace the cup, (Noooooo) and move my data off the PC and onto the H: drive. I transferred a couple of Gigs of data, then copied and pasted (I know) the pst file on the server. The server was now in serious trouble, it needed data to be backed up. Up until my using the H: drive, the sysadmins had realised that they had a bit of space to play with. when I started using the H: folder, suddenly, they didn't. The server was backed up by a Virtual Tape Library, on a SAN, and had an offsite physical tape library option installed. Overnight, and everything was back to normal.
The company hat taken backup seriously, but they had neglected to create a very important document - a Data Storage policy document, which could have told me that it was mandatory to back up to the server all files created on desktops. this document could have saved a lot of angst for the sysadmins.
It doesn't matter where the data is backed up, by which brand of software, as long as it is. I have seen clients who have monstrous outlook files because they have never, ever backed up, until the damn pst file is too big to move and the backup regime is incremental - archival by month.
Things have changed as well. Before, Tape was very, very, mind numbingly slow. Now, it outperforms hard drives in transfer speeds. It is still slow on fetch specific files, which hard drives are good at, but the backups don't take all night to complete. Hard drives are reliable sources for backup. They meet a specific market need, usually the SOHO or SMB space. One of my old bosses once told me that if the business runs a server, use a tape drive. If they don't, a hard drive is fine.
Now we have online backups, Hard drives & Tape drives. All have specific market niches, but all of them are better than explaining to management that you don't have the report / proposal / response because you didn't back up your data.
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