Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Handy Andy's Disaster Recovery Corollary

Awhile back I mentioned my frustration over a client who "couldn't afford" a real backup solution. Grrr.

My good friend Handy Andy made a comment:
    "Handy Andy's corollary, if they can't afford the Disaster Recovery Solution now, where are they going to get the money after the crisis?"

An excellent point! Have you ever noticed how wide the wallet opens the day after the disaster? When the firemen are rolling up their hoses and the police have taken their report, it doesn't matter what it costs.
    "I'm sorry Mr. Cheapskate, but you wanted to have your 14 year old niece burn backups to DVD every Friday night, so we didn't put in a real backup system."
How's that working out for you?

    "You said you didn't need tape because you got this cool thing from Cousin Larry's Pretty Good USB Backup Solutions for only $49.95."
But the forty-nine dollar 1/2 TB drive failed? Wow. Who could've seen that coming?

    "Oh you're backing up to the cloud. You're not sure how often. Or what gets backed up. Or whether there's versioning. But you're sure it's good because you heard it on a national radio program, right after the segment about setting up your AOL email account."
GRRRRReat. So you don't really need to test, right? Cuz it should just work. Uh Huh.

Everyone -- By which I mean everyone -- knows that sh*t happens. Electrical spikes. Fires. Floods, Hazmat spills, divorces, employee lawsuits, and practical jokes gone bad. Stuff happens. Everyone -- by which I mean everyone -- either has lost a hard drive suddenly or WILL lose a hard drive suddenly.

We had a client closed out of his own offices due to a lawsuit. We have a client who had every piece of equipment in his office stolen. We've experienced multi-week power outages. We've seen "the guy next door" start a fire that burned down the building. This stuff happens every single day.

There are a million great excuses why you don't really have to take care of your data. Cuz nothing bad has ever happened so far.

For whatever reason, people pay about as much attention to their business backups as they do to their personal health. Yeah, we're all going to die someday. Pass the pork rinds. But on the day when someone actually has a heart attack - or drive failure - then the attitude changes.

Many people never take the time to prepare for disaster. But when it hits they'll put out any amount of effort to recover.

We want to find clients who are committed to uptime because they're going to see us as being on their team when stuff happens. And we'll have them up a lot faster because they spent a few extra pennies up front.

It scares me that we now live in an era where there are 1000 different backup solutions and 99% of them are inadequate in a true disaster. Clients and consultants are both guilty of relying on half-baked solutions that will probably NOT work in a disaster. What we've basically created is a thousand ways to do file recovery. But only ten of those ways also provide disaster recovery assistance.

I keep waiting for the news story that will put this on the front page. I'm sad that our profession has veered this far off center.



  1. All my critical data can be downloaded from payones.com or even streamed.


  2. Please explain How do you recover a bad tape, that's 5years old, that they have never changed? That $49 drive if failed you can however for less than the price of a tape system. IMO Tape not reliable or scaleable today, and recovery is slow... and you know the same day a HD fails vs after you need the info on your tape that the heads won't read the tape...

  3. What do you mean by a bad tape?


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