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Enterprise Vault – How important is your DR to you?

Created: 17 Mar 2009 • Updated: 17 Mar 2009
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Liam Finn's picture
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Today more and more companies are looking into archiving solutions for various reasons. Some are looking to save space on their email and file storage. Some are using it so they never have to delete anything ever again. Then there some who use it to pull data when the SEC or some other Government agency or audit company come looking for data. Finally there is the group that use the software to protect themselves from law suits. All of these reasons are excellent business justification for having an archiving solution but with all this company confidential information stored in the archive a DR plan for your archive solution which was once seen as a copy of data has now become business critical.

Archives are no longer where you dump old files just in case you need them. Today it is where you store mission critical data to ensure that the email or file can be retrieved and that when needed you can search and pull all relevant data to protect yourself from a law suit, SEC investigation or to protect your companies property.

Since Archiving has become so critical to our companies then protecting that data in whichever format it is stored also becomes a critical task for IT. People have asked on the support forums if they can backup only the new indexes and not the old, if they can back up the data stores only and not the ever growing indexes. These types of questions leads one to wonder how well is the archived data that is currently out there being covered as part of a company DR plan. The impression some people leave in my mind is that the archive solutions are not the highest priority; this is worrying to say the least.

I believe that anyone who is using an archive solution to shortcut emails in mailboxes, shortcut users files on file server or those who do never shortcut anything but just store a copy of files and email in an archive to cover the company in the case of investigation, audit or lawsuit need to see their archive solution as a critical application and should be up there on their DR list with their email servers and their domain controllers. Modern days are days of Law suits, of people selling private information, of companies having to cover their ass to survive because if they don’t they will fall.

When any of these days come, I say when not if because they will come, every company needs to be prepared and have access to the data that will make or break them. An archiving solution when properly managed and maintained to the highest level can be the saving grace that will keep you in your job. So in future when you are thinking if I can backup this part of your archive and not that, think beyond the cost savings on hard drives you need for your file server or email server, Think beyond how many tapes it takes and that you may need to switch tapes during your backup and that the backup runs for 12 hours and you prefer it to finish in 6. You should be thinking what I can do to get this back online ASAP. In most cases a full backup every day is the best solution.

I personally think backups of various sections of the system should be done throughout the day. Steps like Truncating your SQL logs every 15 minutes. Backup you complete database to .BAK once every 12 hours and also backup your SQL using a SQL agent to tape once a day

Here is an example of one of my backup solutions

5AM backup all Indexes

8AM back up all SQL databases to file

Every 15 minutes truncate SQL logs to file

1PM back up SQL database backup Files and Truncated log files to tape then delete files that were backed up

7PM back up DA Exports directory

8PM back up SQL databases using SQL agent

As you see this is a solution for a large environment with 30TB of archived data that store their data on mirrored Centera’s so there is no need to backup the data files but it demonstrates that the DR of an archive should be taken seriously and once you have your environment prepared you can be ready for anything.

So for everyone that supports an Archive, I’m not saying that all don’t see the priority in the DR solution for their environments but there are some out there that don’t take DR for the archive as serious as they should.

Symantec best practice guides do provide valuable guidelines on what to backup and when but they do state that these are the minimum requirements and this to me tells me that I need to exceed these requirements if I am to be 100% sure that I can recover quickly.

Just keep this in mind before you plan your backups and DR for your archive. A little bit of extra time on your DR and backup plans will really save you a mountain of trouble and a lot of heartache if the unthinkable ever happens to you.