Thursday, Aug 17, 2017
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Why Your Backups Are Failing and What to Do About It

Backup and restore failures are an everyday possibility in the world of IT departments. Even though teams have come to expect failure, nobody really enjoys when failure actually occurs. Failures with backup and restore processes generally equate to high costs and the unavoidable loss of data.  IT departments often scratch their heads in wonderment about how to keep these failures at bay.  In this article, you will learn about the 5 most common reasons for failure and what you can do about it. It goes without saying that list list is simply a guide and not a guarantee. However, in properly understanding the root of your failures when it comes to backups and restores, you will likely have better outcomes and a stronger environment overall.

Cause #1: Monitoring is Not Working Properly

Yes, you heard me! Monitoring, though excellent on paper, is not performing as it should be these days. The reason is because of the incredible amount of growth that is occurring daily in the world of IT. In fact, when these monitors were initially set up, they were meant to only take on a certain number of servers. It is no surprise that the amount of servers around today has superseded the capabilities of your average monitoring system. The way to fix this problem is to implement a system that is able to monitor vast amounts of data efficiently, while offering a holistic picture of the health of the whole environment. The ideal system would also be capable of performing certain functions automatically so as not to require tedious and time-consuming manual work from administrators. Each particular server would be displayed along with the client names. Likewise, a tool that would serve by monitoring a variety of vendors and their individual backup systems would be an excellent remedy to fix the current monitoring problems.

Cause #2: Alerts are Not Being Received by the Proper People

Everyone knows that times and seasons are prone to change, and so are the staff, servers, and applications within the IT world. These changes bring about the great possibility for error, generally because alerts are sent through emails that might not reach the right person. The solution to alerts not being received is to incorporate a real-time system that sends alerts to a variety of people in the form of an email, SNMP integration, and SMS. This way, there is more of a guarantee that the right person will be receiving the alert through a quick and effective line of communication.

Cause #3:  Problems Occur With the Command Line Driven Operation

Most people in the IT world understand by now that the command line driven operation is prone to errors. Why then, do so many administrators continue to rely upon this interface to finish their jobs? The reason is because most people in IT spheres are more familiar with this interface and have used it time and time again. Unfortunately, it is a breeding ground for backup inconsistencies because of how many different administrators tend to use it. The fact that so many people rely upon it makes it inherently prone to errors, mainly because best practices get blurred and updates are ignored. The best solution to this dilemma is to use an interface which allows for GUI operation of backup features. With the GUI operation in place, the possibility of error is diminished and various operations are much more easily repeated over time.

Cause #4:  Reports and Planning Are Pushed to the Wayside

Even when an alert is sent, administrators cannot drop everything and focus only on the reports that sent the alert. But the truth is, this happens! However, there are so many other aspects of understanding failures and keeping track of the environment. Often times team within IT departments zero in on a particular report and ultimately end up neglecting other alerts and reports. This results in a lack of time and energy spent analyzing other reports that are equally as valuable. A fact that may motivate administrators to spread their attention more evenly is that data on the primary drive may not get looked at if it isn’t given attention during a certain window of time. The reason for this is because the data on this particular drive isn’t saved for long and will eventually become unavailable. In this case, attempting to unravel the failure and prevent future issues becomes an impossible task. In order to prevent this difficulty, IT teams must gather the data from the primary servers and place them into their own databases so that the data can be viewed and analyzed at a later date.

Cause #5:  Misconfiguration Really Does Occur!

This troublesome facts is the result of inherent problems within the sphere of the IT world. Often times when data and server spheres are too large, misconfiguration occurs. Below, you will see a few problems that can lead to misconfiguration.

Recovery Logs are Sized Incorrectly

In the event that the logs are incorrectly sized, data will generally get lost due to the data no longer being recorded.  To avoid this, the log will need to be enlarged by hand and restarted.

Issues Arise in Going from Disk to Tape

When you are working with a tiny disk pool, new data might not make it through. As a result, backups are delayed and windows are missed. Sometimes, tape isn’t capable of maintaining the speed of data coming from the disk, meaning the disk pool cannot accept the backup data.

Lots of Backup Sessions Running At Once

The truth is, today many departments have too many clients and an overabundance of backup systems.  In this case, missed backup windows are more than probable. A great solution to this is to implement a bigger monitoring system. When you add a bigger system, you will be more clear on the health of the environment. You will also be able to find errors quickly and notice environmental changes in no time. The most ideal situation would be to join the proper backup software with a big monitoring system in order to ensure backup environments are functioning as they should.

People Are Wondering What to Give Credit To in Relation to Backup Spheres-Art or Science?

The truth is, an efficient and effective backup environment is a result of both science and art. Ultimately, time-tested science is what makes predicting trends, producing accurate reports, and properly managing the environment a daily possibility. However, learning how to appropriately manage a backup environment is also an art to be learned and mastered. The skill and knowledge of this art must be passed down from generation to generation in order to ensure that future administrators are aware and educated on how to initiate a well-running backup sphere. So instead of choosing just thing to give credit to, remember that a backup environment that is running well is a matter of both the arts and the sciences!

Rocket Software

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