Test your Assumptions: Database Backup and Recovery
Every now and then something happens that really drives home the need to test and validate the assumptions that we have about the availability of our IT assets. I had an experience this week that brought to mind the importance of testing backup and recovery and business continuity plans.
At the beginning of each week, I look at each day’s activities and any travel that I need to do that week, and I plan out how I can be most productive each day. I find myself on the train often now between our offices in New Jersey and Boston and I have come to take my wifi service for granted. I rarely have down time when traveling that way any longer.
Last month, while traveling to San Antonio by air, I was able to use wifi in the air, just as I can on the ground on the train.
Then last week, while planning a trip by air to Austin from Philadelphia, I decided to make good use of the flight time. I planned to use the roughly four hours of flight time to get some work done that I will need for the next day.
After I boarded the flight however, I found out that a huge assumption that I made was not correct. I found that not all airlines have wifi!
So now as I sit on the plane writing this post into a word document, I am completely disconnected from the web, from my office, from my clients!
The problem here is not that I am not connected for a few hours, it is that I did not anticipate that this might happen, and so I planned to use that time to get some important work done. I assumed that the flight had wifi, and I did not validate that assumption!
Think about what will happen if you (or your customers) don’t have access to your servers for a few hours. It can be that the connectivity to the servers was interrupted, as in my case, or that the servers are completely down, or that your database software is hanging. Ask yourself what will happen during those hours, and what you can do to avoid them in the first place.
Validating your assumptions is key to productivity. In this case, it is only one person whose productivity is compromised today, but consider the cost if your whole company is down for a few hours. What are you taking for granted?
So what does this have to do with the database?
This is a database blog, so you might be asking what this has to do with the database. In the database business, we see people fail to validate assumptions all the time. A typical (and very dangerous) assumption people make is that their database is properly backed up and ready to restore in a disaster. As I describe in this blog post, this is rarely the case. This is one of the most important assumptions for any company to validate.
If you haven’t tested your backup procedures lately we can help you validate that your database is indeed protected the way you assume it is.