Creating a plan for backup

To maximize the reliability and availability of your servers, create a master backup plan that describes in detail what, when, and how backups will be performed. In addition to this master plan, be sure to create backup plans for each type or class of server. These plans should reflect the various applications and data stored on each server.

A good backup plan includes the following information:

Practicing and testing your plans for restoring from backup

To maximize the reliability and availability of your servers, practice backup and restoring procedures routinely, and budget time for this practice. It is recommended that you practice backup routinely once a quarter for each backup plan. This is particularly important for operations staffs with a high rate of employee turnover.

When you practicing your backup, use a test computer, a stand-by computer, or a new computer that does not have software installed on it. Your practice computer should be similar to the one that is used in production, and preferably the type of computer that you use most often. During the practice backup, remove the practice computer from the network to prevent address or name collisions with the actual production computer.

It is recommended that you simulate a variety of types component failures and practice restoring them. This will give you experience performing different kinds of restoration and recovery. This is important because, for example, the approaches you use to restore a data drive can be quite different from those you use to restore a drive that contains the operating system.

When the practice backup is complete, review and analyze the recovery process. Identify the approaches that succeeded and those that did not. Determine which procedures need changing, and how the operation could be done faster. Then use this information to improve the recovery plan procedures.

In addition to conducting a review and analysis after a practice back up and recovery, you should be sure to do so after a real backup and recovery.