How to Check If Your Server Is Really Backing Up Your Data Properly

Backup Backup Backup - And Test RestoresThere are many ways to create database backups. The only challenges lie in figuring out what the best strategy would be for you and whether your server is actually backing up your data properly. Here are several questions to ask yourself to find out if it is:

1. Can You Tell When Your Backups are Successful?

Since some people have to deal with a lot of different databases, they might have trouble keeping track of all of them. Because of this, different strategies must be used for backup management, such as external services. Well, can you actually tell when your service doesn’t start or completely fails?

To ensure that you do, ensure that you set up a failure alert system. Also, check on your latest backup updates on a regular basis. If you aren’t using a basic recovery model, you might want to check on your latest log backups on a regular basis, as well.

2. How Long Does it Take to Restore Data?

When taking backup technology into consideration, it would always be important to know the amount of time that it would take to restore data in case everything but the backup data is gone.

In other words, you have to find out how much time it would take to get the backup data and whether you can access all of it on your own; how much time it would take to move those files into a place that you can restore them from; how much time it would take to bring a restoration server up and properly configure it; and how much time it would take torestore the data altogether.

If the technology doesn’t meet your objectives, you might want to think out other options to mitigate your overall risk. Once that is done, you will still need to have a backup restoration plan in place that you can test periodically, though.

3. Does Your Backup Affect Performance?

Running backups means that precious resources are getting burned in the process, including the CPU, memory, disk IO, network, and overall memory. In a lot of cases, it is alright to burn these things up during off-peak times. However, VLDBs that backup numerous terabytes and important OLTP databases that serve users all over the world, backups have to run quickly. After all, they only play a small part in overall maintenance.

So, when performance is getting critical, you need to ask yourself whether you are backing your data up at a good frequency. If the case in point is a slow log backup, find out how many times it runs. Also, ask yourself whether you are using all of the available magic. SAN storage might require you to explore every database backup option out there.

Other questions to ask include whether you are using any backup compression that could burn much more CPU, yet reduce the duration of backups and the overall writes of backups at the same time. Aside from that, do your backups have sufficient throughput for your storage device? Regardless of whether you use Fiber Channel or iSCSI, throughput usually plays a big part in the solution in the end – remember that.

Ilya Elbert writes for several IT Support Los Angeles companies.