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Backup Policy Standards and Retentions

Created: 02 Dec 2009 • Updated: 03 Jun 2010 | 6 comments

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We are looking to bring up the standards for the way we do our backups more in line with what the industry is doing at the moment.  Some of the ways we do things are still in the thinking of our mainframe days and nobody has bothered to change them until now.


What retention periods do you use for your backups?  We are looking to clean up/update our retention period policies for our backups and I am curious to see what others in the industry are doing. 

Currently retention for our backups is:

Nas (NDMP):

Weekly Full – 1 month

Differential Incrementals – 1 month

Oracle DBs:

Weekly Full – 1 month

System/ Data/ Application Backups:

Weekly Full – 1 month

Windows Systems:

Weekly Full – 1 month

Differential Incrementals – 1 month

We do not use TIR for any backups, nor do we do any snapshots.  What methods do you use along with retentions are you guys/gals doing?



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Stuart Green's picture

First off, speak with the business and ask them what their policy of retaining data, type of data (prod vs dev) is or what level of risk they wish to place on the data for recovery. How far back they would realistically need data to restore/recover from.

Set out goals and expectations for the business data, and make them fully aware of what you have implemented based on their policy/decision.

You could start out with trying the GFS method. Grandfather-Father-Son

Apply that to the longest length of time you wish to retain your backups.

You may of course require more storage depending on retention level set, but thats the rub these days - you need oodles of storage.

For example
Full Backup once a week. retain for 1 month except last one in the month is retain for 3 months
Inc Backups daily retain for 1 month

Or stretch this out to your period of retention.

Tip: Get overview/document your NBU environment. Run 'nbsu' and review the output.

• If this provides help, please vote or mark appropriate solution.

lu's picture

Yes, a backup plan has to be built in accord with the business.
But do not forget that some type of data must have short retentions periods, or very long ones (10 years), so check that your schedule conforms to the document retention laws of your state.

J.H Is gone's picture

For exchange backups - talk to the Lawyers - how long do you need to keep/want to keep exchange backups. (think law suit)

HIPPA type files may have to be kept for 7 to 10 years.  - Talk to HR (think law suit)

Account info may have to be kept for 3 to 7 years - Talk to Accounting. (think auditing)

You have to find out what your information is - then find out from the people who own it what they expect.

SLA - with your users about how far back they can expect you to be able to restore their files from their home drives.

I agree with you that there is a difference between Main Frame backups and what we have now, as now you have more "other" stuff that you never had with the Main Frame.  And because of that "other" stuff you now have to talk to the other people to find out what is required.  with the Main Frame all the backup stuff was yours... not any more.

And just and fyi
Daily backups 2 weeks
Weekend backups 6 months
"other" stuff 1 to 7 years

I don't have to know how to spell....I work on Unix.
NetBackup 7.0.1 - AIX & Windows

stu52's picture

Please don't confuse backups with archives.  I would argue against backup retentions of longer than 18 months.  If you are required by business or legal/regulatory reasons to keep data longer than 18 months, then switch to an archive.

Remember.....Google is your friend!

Nicolai's picture

Daily = 1 month
Weekly = 3 month
Monthly = 15 month
Yearly =  3 years
Redo logs = 3 months

We use this retension scheme for ALL backups.

We have defined our backup system as a "crash recovery system", you loose it,we get it back. No archiving takes place because additional meta data (E.g owner,batch number, department, expiration, etc etc) are required for long term storage (15-20 years).

Assumption is the mother of all mess ups.

If this post answered your'e qustion -  Please mark as a soloution.

dukbtr's picture

Thanks for the replies.

I figured it would come down to the business units.  That is what I have been saying all along. 

I got a bad feeling about this !