Do you test your backups?

As I talk to customers these days, they all typically have a system set up to back up their data. “What do you do to back up your data?” I’ll ask. Customers dive right in, talking about the different software in use. Sure, there may be gaps in the backup strategy, in that backups may not be frequent enough or make it offsite, but almost everybody I talk to is doing some sort of backup.

Many times after we’ve talked through the backup methodology, I’ll ask another question. “Do you test your backups?” Some customers do, but not as often as they would like, and many others will admit that no they do not test their backups at all. It’s tough; many IT departments don’t have the resources and time to proactively test their backups. Others are testing, but rarely are testing frequently enough for comfort.

Now, just about any backup software will tell you whether a backup job was successful or failed, but that’s a long way from positively knowing that application data that is backed up can be restored to a working state successfully. Quest’s Rapid Recovery software goes a step further than the competition by offering automated testing of the backups for recoverability for Microsoft SQL and Exchange.

In the case of SQL, we take the SQL databases from the Rapid Recovery backup (recovery point) and attach it to a local Rapid Recovery core or production instance of SQL. Each SQL database in the backup is verified to be recoverable as they are attached one by one. The backup, when restored, will work because it has been tested as such. For SQL, this automated attachability check occurs once every 24 hours.

In the case of Exchange, mountability checks work by simulating a real mount of the Exchange database (EDB) to the Rapid Recovery core server. It leverages technology from Rapid Recovery and from Microsoft (ESUTIL) to mount the volumes containing the EDB, system and log paths. This mount is done in the same manner that Exchange mounts its databases to provide certainty that the mount will work during a recovery.

Testing your backups is a great habit to get into and much simpler if your backup software can test them for you.

Want to learn more about SQL attachability and Exchange mountability checks to test your backups? Take a look at Quest Rapid Recovery!

About the Author
Andy Puckett
Andy specializes in assisting customers with their backup & disaster recovery strategy and implementing products within the Quest data protection portfolio that make organizations successful.