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Backup & Restore

The purpose of backup is to protect data

from loss.
The purpose of restore is to recover data
that is temporarily unavailable due to some
unexpected event.

To backup or not to back up, that is the question.
Backup is not free.
No backup is risky.

Proper Backup Procedure

Choose your application

Inventory (content and media)

Determine which data is critical.
Determine frequency and types of backups
to be used.

Determine which data is static and which is
Some OS installations are changed
infrequently; few backups required
E-commerce may require continuous backups.
Understand the changing state of your clients
data to determine an appropriate backup sched.
Organize with partitions

Determine the appropriate media storage for
your backups:

Solid State?

Partitioning of disk space is used to manage

Choose your Backup App

Mac OS X :
Time Machine

Linux/Unix :
tar (tape archive), cpio, dump

MS Windows :
MS Windows XP & 7 includes Backup & Restore
Many commercial apps are available

Enterprise Level Backup Apps

Paragon Backup & Recovery includes
customer support
Backup4All Professional

Determine the categories of data so you can
schedule the backups accordingly

Partitions are often used to manage backups
The OS has its own partition and may require
infrequent backups if changes are quarterly
User data may require nightly backups
Users must know what partitions have backup
and the frequency (SLA).

Full Archival Backup
image backup implies copying the unused

Differential Backup what has changed

since the last backup
Incremental Backup what has changed
since the last backup of anytype

Full Archival Backup

Mirror every last bit on the disk is
Many full backups ignore empty space.

Full Archival Backup (Pros)

Provides a complete copy of data
Easy to manage:
Done less frequently than other types of
backups due to cost and resource requirements:
Monthly, Quarterly, semi-annually, annually.

Full Archival Backup (Cons)

Usually requires more media space than
either differential or incremental.
Takes a long time to recover the full backup
to a new disk.

Full Archival Backup

Consider making multiple backup copies
Full backup media should be stored offsite to
protect data from disasters
Fire, Flood, Earthquake, Terrorist attack, Sabotage,
Hacker attacks

Full Archival Backups

The trend is to reduce the cycle of full
backups. This is because of liability. Files
that are not backed up cannot be
Statute may require destruction of some

Differential Backup
Copy files changed since the last full
Differential backups grow with time. They
can eventually grow larger than the last full
Scheduled less frequently than a full
backups: Weekly, monthly.

Differential Backup (Pros)

Usually takes up less time and space than a
full backup.
If the differential backup grows to the size
of the last full backup, then schedule a new
full backup.

Differential Backup (Cons)

Redundancy potentially many unneeded
copies of the same data.
Subsequent differentials take longer and use
more media space.

Incremental Backups
A backup of what has changed since the last
previous backup of any type.
Frequency of incremental backups depends
on the client needs.
Weekly, daily, hourly, continuously.

Incremental Backups
Keeps a revision history of actively changing
Fastest backup type
Uses the least amount of media to complete a
single backup

Much more difficult to manage

Schedule Example
Full backup twice per year
Differential each first Saturday morning of
each month that is not scheduled for a full
Incremental each Saturday morning that is
not scheduled for a Full or Differential

Other Schedule Considerations

Consider completing a backup in
conjunction with and before any major
system changes are scheduled.

The Actual Backup

Assignment of responsibilities
Written in the SAs job description

Acceptance of accountability
A signed form indicating that the backup was
complete, verified and secured

The Actual Backup

Choose the media type
Centralize the backup to reduce redundancy of
Not everyone archives the local C-Drive on
general purpose workstations. (SLA and user

Backup Inventory
Inventory the backup media
Tapes and other writable media use barcodes or
hand-written labels

Inventory the content of the media

The backup should have a table of contents
included in the backup

Backup Inventory
The media label information:

System identifier
Partition name(s)
Backup category: full, differential, incremental

The only time you know the quality of your
backup media is when you are doing a
This is the worse time to discover you have
Restore a small subset of random files from
the backup. Verify their integrity through
differences or checksums.

Verify: Firedrills
When new equipment arrives, test your
backup procedure on the new equipment to
verify it works correctly

Backup Automation
Automation reduces human errors.
Many pre-packaged apps include automatic
Linux/Unix backup scripts can be submitted
using the cron utility. Logs can be kept in
/var/log, and e-mail can be sent to the admin.

Secure The Backup

Offsite storage
Encryption: to encrypt or not to encrypt,
Will the encryption key always be available?
Statute or contract (SLA) may require

Secure: Off-Site Storage

Off site storage has risks all its own
Data can be lost/destroyed in transit
How important is it to have a backup of the
Some backups can be kept on site

Secure: Example Strategy

Where the backup is stored will impact
service response to restore requests:
Consider keeping incremental backups on site.
Differential and full backups could be stored

Data Compression
Risks if the media is damaged, recovery
may be difficult or impossible.
some data tolerates degradation (loss of

Some data should not be compressed. Know
your data!

Secure Backups
Contract to store your data in a secret
offsite location. (Secret implies a need to
know basis)

Backup Considerations
Backups slow down service. This should be
included in the SLA
Files should be write-locked during backup.

Avoid doing backups during peak service

hours. Schedule during early AM hours on
the weekend and holidays.

Common reasons for restores
Accidental file deletion
Disk failure
Disaster recovery
Fire, flood, earthquake, hacker attack, sabotage,
terrorist attack, etc.

Accidental File Deletion

If backups are once per day, lost work is limited to
one day for a given file. (RAID does not help)
As storage technology gets cheaper by the Gbyte,
it becomes easier to implement more sophisticated
storage procedures that are more timely. (HDD
A user wants the restoration to be immediate. The
quicker the turnaround, the happier your customer.

Disk Failure
A disk failure causes two problems
Loss of data
Loss of service

Critical systems should implement RAID so that

disk failures do not cause a loss of service.
Restoring an entire disk is slow. Service is
hampered until the last bit is recovered.
Consider using hot spares and hot swap

Disk Restore from Tape

Restoring from tape can interrupt service.
Restoring from tape slows the restore
process by a factor of about 5-10 times
compared to a simple disk to disk copy.

Tape Backup
Large amounts of data historically favored
tape media for backup:
Tapes are portable and fairly durable.

Tape historically has been the preferred backup
media for very large data storage environments.
Tape has a useful life span.
Tape can be very robust for storage
Easy to transport
Some tape formats are more reliable than

Tape Inventory
Backup tapes must be
Properly labeled
Properly stored

Proper inventory is needed to do restores in

a timely fashion.
Hand written labels are ok
Bar codes and printed labels are better.

Tape Inventory
Inventory is not limited to the physical tape
The contents of tapes must be inventoried.
The number of accesses must be logged
because tapes ware out.
Tape equipment is not free. You dont want to
purchase any more hardware than is needed.

Rotate media
Incremental backup stored on site can be

Tape Standards

DAT (4mm)

Tape Technology
Tape technology expands in leaps.
Tape hardware purchases are not made on a
constant basis (like disk storage).
Tape technology is purchased in leaps.
Three year intervals are more practical.

An occasional test of a full partition restore
is not unreasonable. This would be done if
A change is made in the backup software
A change of vendor for the backup software
When a new server with new unused disk

Without centralization, a tape drive is
needed for each server location.
Equipment can be interchanged more easily
when centralized.

High Access DB Backups

Some data changes so rapidly that backups
are not practical.
RAID 1 mirroring may be the only practical
RAID 1+1, includes a second mirror in a
RAID 1 array.

Disk space cost drops by 1/2 about every
18-24 months.
Disk space is filled as it expands.
Disk requirements are increasing on a
continuous basis.
Disk budgets increase faster than tape
backup budgets.

Backup Procedure

Choose your application

Scheduling (know your data)
The actual backup
Inventory (content and media)