Your Recovery and Backup Health Plan

Rather than looking at storage protection as backup and recovery, I prefer the term "recovery and backup."

Developing a backup plan without first determining your recovery strategy is akin to purchasing building materials for a house without first creating the blueprint. You may have everything you need, but you won't know for sure until you start using what you have. By then it may be too late, and you'll have compromised your recovery efforts. Why back up a system if you've never considered how you'll use this stored data during a recovery?

If your strategy is to back up everything every day (and who has that luxury these days) you'll likely have the data you need in the event of a recovery. However, if your strategy also includes storing your backups offsite, how will you manage if you lose the load source disk and have to reload the entire system?

A recovery and backup strategy is an insurance policy whose value is measured not when the backups are performed but when the recovery begins. To ensure recoverability, your strategy should include three steps. Borrowing from motivational speaker Tony Robbins, you must:

  1. Know your outcome
  2. Know your purpose
  3. Take action

Know Your Outcome
Your strategy should focus on the end result-the need to fully recover lost or damaged data and return to normal operations as quickly as possible. Ask yourself questions such as these: Are we facing ever-decreasing backup windows, which force us to focus on expediency rather than completeness? Is our strategy comprehensive enough to support a full-scale disaster recovery scenario, as well as minor user mistakes?

Spend some time reviewing "Backup and Recovery" (SC41-5304-05). This manual is typically shipped with every OS update and new system install. (It's also available at the iSeries Information Center Web site-choose "Go," "Systems Management," "Backup, recovery and availability" and "Manuals and Redbooks." Chapter four, "Selecting the Right Recovery Strategy," provides information on contingencies and recovery scenarios.)

Software tools to assist you with developing recovery and backup strategies also are available. However, remember that software tools should fit your strategy rather than determine it. Tape-management systems are tools that provide a means of tracking volumes (tapes) and their contents. Disaster recovery reports also are available, but keep in mind that each disaster is unique. A disaster recovery report is a tool to assist you in developing your recovery plan. You can't depend on it to dictate steps and procedures, which vary according to the type of disaster faced.

















The purpose of an effective recovery and backup plan is clear-to help ensure against extended business disruption, customer dissatisfaction and (most importantly) job loss.

Tim Kormos is a senior technical support analyst for LXI Corp. He can be reached at

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