"Backups. We all know the importance of making a backup of our
most important systems. Unfortunately, some of us also know that
realizing the importance of performing backups often is a lesson
learned the hard way. Everyone has their scary backup stories. Here
"Like a lot of people, my professional career started out in
technical support. In my case, I was part of a help-desk team for a
large professional practice. Among other things, we were
responsible for performing PC LAN backups for a number of systems
used by other departments. For one especially important system, we
acquired fancy new tape-backup equipment and a large collection of
tapes. A procedure was put in place, and
before-you-go-home-at-night backups became a standard. Some months
later, a crash brought down the system, and all the data was lost.
Shortly thereafter, a call came in for the latest backup tape. It
was located and dispatched, and a recovery was attempted. The
recovery failed, however, as the tape was blank. A call came in for
the next-to-last backup tape. Nervously, it was located and
dispatched, and a recovery was attempted. It also failed because
this tape also was blank. Amid long silences and pink-slip glares,
panic started to set in as the tape from three nights prior was
called up. This attempt resulted in a lot of shouting.
"All the tapes were then checked, and they were all blank. To
add insult to injury, the problem wasn't only that the tapes were
blank--they weren't even formatted! The fancy new backup equipment
wasn't smart enough to realize the tapes were not formatted, so it
allowed them to be used. Note: writing good data to an unformatted
tape is never a good idea..."
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