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Do You Have a Disaster Recovery Plan?

It does little good to have a carefully thought out system of backing up data if there is no plan in case of a catastrophe.

Do You Have a Disaster Recovery Plan?
Richard Waymire

Disasters happen, and storage administrators have to be prepared. It does little good to have a carefully thought out system of backing up data if there is no plan to get operations up again in case of a catastrophe. This is particularly true now in the 24 x 7 environment we all live in. This tip, by Richard Waymire, excerpted from InformIT, discusses some necessary aspects of testing a backup plan.

One of the best things ever done in the mainframe era involved having a disaster recovery plan and occasionally running disaster "drills." I was once involved in such a drill. We grabbed our tapes, jumped on a plane, flew to a backup site, and got our mainframe up and running, as well as our databases. If you want to test a backup plan and verify that everything you need is being backed up, run one of these drills. It's amazing how many things you forget. Interesting questions might arise, such as does your backup site have the same brand/model of tape drive available? Did you remember to get the software you need in your backups?

Some typical items to consider including in your plan are the following:

  • Windows NT/2000 on CD
  • The latest service pack for Windows NT/2000
  • A SQL Server 2000 CD, along with the latest service pack [assuming you run SQL Server]
  • Any application-specific software or external DLLs (extended stored procedures) you've incorporated into SQL Server, including third-party backup and recovery software (if used)
  • Your backups

You don't necessarily have to jump on a plane if you have the discipline to make sure no one cheats and grabs that last file you need off the network or sneaks back to her desk. You can also ask yourself [some basic] questions [if you are using Microsoft SQL Server, for example]:

  • Do you know what drive SQL Server is installed on?
  • Do you know what character set and sort order were used?
  • Which network libraries are installed?
  • Do you know the network account SQL Server was using?
  • What drives and filenames are used for each database?
  • What mail profile was used to automate email with SQL Server?

You get the idea. Dealing with such a disaster can quickly become unmanageable without a plan. Perhaps this plan requires some serious thought before a disaster occurs. Remember that disasters can happen at any time. Floods, fire, ice storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, sabotage, and self-inflicted problems (a poorly written transaction, for example) are all real problems in various parts of the world, perhaps even in your area.

To read more of the article that includes this tip, click over to InformIT. Registration is required, but it's free.

To find out more about disaster recovery check out this book from the eMarketPlace

Disaster Recovery Planning: Strategies for Protecting Critical Information Assets
by: Jon William Toigo
This book shows IT professionals how to implement world-class disaster recovery -- without paying for expensive consultants or proprietary methodologies! Disaster Recovery Planning, Second Edition offers expert techniques, strategies and insight that any company can implement -- large or small.

This was last published in November 2000

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