Genii Weblog

Where is your off-site backup?

Mon 12 Sep 2005, 04:10 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
If Hurricane Katrina proved just one thing, it proved that we are more vulnerable than we think.  Putting aside our personal safety for a moment, have you thought about the safety of your data, whether it is source code or customer data or even hard copy data, such as contracts?  Where do you keep it?  Where do you keep backups?

Aside: If you don't keep backups, you are just asking for disaster, so sit placidly on your porch and wait.  It'll find you sooner or later.

Most companies have backups, but many smaller ones do not have "off-site" backups, so a single building disaster would be all that it would take to end their business.  But even those who have off-site backups might think about just where that off-site is.  It may be on CD's or DVD's stored in a bank vault at your local bank.  Not terribly useful if your bank is 20 feet under water, even if the vault is waterproof.  But even if you don't live in New Orleans (and I am terribly sorry if you did until recently and don't anymore), have you considered other ways your bank or off-site storage could become inaccessible?  What about a dirty bomb that left the area radioactive and inaccessible for years?  That could happen to any of us.

So, what do I suggest?  You can't keep everything in Outer Mongolia, because the cost of getting it back and forth would be prohibitive, but if there is truly important information, you might want to consider sending a copy to your mother in Moline or your cousin in Kansas City or your aunt in Albuquerque.  Just in case.

The Molasses Disaster of January 15, 1919

Photograph of Molasses Disaster of 1919

You never know when disaster might strike.

Copyright 2005 Genii Software Ltd.

What has been said:

366.1. Stephan H. Wissel
(09/12/2005 08:56 PM)

Well, as long as you keep important information in Notes databases this kind of precaution is not too difficult. Talk to your favorite Notes Hosting provider and have a second server on a different continent and let them replicate (if you are more daring a root server would do too).

Of course that doesn't save you from deletions, so you might want to have some archival mechanism in place (Notes to Notes with your main server having only read access to the data to prevent deletions).

Works fine for us.

:-) stw

366.2. Nathan T. Freeman
(09/13/2005 02:34 AM)

I keep trying to convince my employer that we need to rig a low-power Domino server on a satellite. Then launch that into a geo-stationary orbit, where we can use IP over VSAT to replicate (the streaming stuff in ND6 works great for this).

Then we could have our data backed up even in the event of one of those planet-killer asteroid strikes we keep seeing in the movies.

366.3. Chris Miller
(09/23/2005 08:52 AM)

Exactly why we offer these types of replicating disaster reocvery servers at our Data Centers. We have a few custoemrs that have enjoyed that benefit for some time andI wonder why we havent heard from more already with the recent hurricanes.

366.4. NoticeBored
(23/09/2005 11:32)

Don't forget the option of backing up critical data via the Internet. There are commercial companies offering a few Gigs for a few $$. These may be aimed at small businesses but could prove useful for critical data from medium- or large-sized orgs too.

Just make sure the company you choose doesn't have its data center in the same town as your primary site! Take care over security of your data and resilience of the supplier: the cheapest is probably not the best.