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Plan ahead for recovery

How to prepare for the unthinkable.


Plan ahead for recovery
Rick Cook

The most important thing an enterprise can do to prepare for anything from a catastrophe to a failed RAID array is to develop a comprehensive response plan. A successful plan takes both a thorough planning effort and, equally importantly, requires buy-in from the people who will be affected by the problem.

In any such plan the devil is in the details. From lack of electric power to run the fuel pumps on emergency generators to incompatible tape formats on primary and back-up servers, history is replete with examples of problems caused by seemingly insignificant details that no one thought about until it was too late. A checklist of things to consider in a disaster recovery plan is at Go over the with a fine tooth comb. After you think you've got everything in there that you need, test your plan in a simulated disaster to make sure that everything will work.

Not only is it important to get user agreement with a plan, but user input is invaluable in making such a plan because the users are likely to come up with details the IT department might not think of. As an example of a complete disaster plan, a version of MIT's business continuity plan is available at

Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

Additional Resources:
1. What new distributed storage devices does IBM offer?
Here are some of the newest devices in IBM's family of dsitributed storage solutions, including a Fibre-to-Fibre RAID array product. Read this tip for product details and comments from The Evaluator Group.

2. What's the difference between hot swap and hot plug?
A user posed this question to Storage Administration expert Jim Booth. He says although these two terms are often used as if they are interchangeable, but they are not.

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