“We’re going to start 2016 setting new backup retention policies,” says your boss. “Go talk to managers in each of our business units tomorrow and find out what they expect.”
That means you have to get time with people, then sit down and talk to them about how long they expect to keep their files in primary storage before it goes to secondary storage. They’re going to want rapid backup recovery no matter what, but you know how expensive it is to keep everything in primary storage. You’re in for some back-and-forth and eventually you’ll have to tell somebody “no.”
It’s not your favorite part of the job or your favorite way to spend the workday, so on the morning commute you reach for some inspiration:
Adele’s “25” album.
“Don't let the lights go down, lights go down, lights go down . . .”
Listen to the business managers and find out which lights they don’t want to go down.
Generally, they’re worried that you want to take away something precious: their immediate access to files and data, no matter how old. You, on the other hand, are simply trying to understand their expectations for retention and uptime because your side of the business case hinges on the cost of storage.
Most of the time, the managers will agree with you that the recent data and files belong in primary storage. They don’t often care about backup retention of old stuff and won’t mind if it’s moved to secondary storage. The problem is, though, that there are a lot of unspoken recovery expectations in the business that have never been documented for you and the recovery team. Processes loosen up over time, and it begins to look as though the business expects rapid data recovery on everything.
Here’s another situation you’ll run into: You have indeed documented procedures for restoring data, but a certain group’s business changes. Or there’s a change in the type of data it handles. Or its management changes. You find out in talking to them that they have a strong case for being able to recover and access their data quickly in the event of an outage or disaster. But nobody ever documented that update for the recovery team.
“Hello from the outside/At least I can say that I've tried”
It’s important to say that you’ve tried to understand the expectations of the business. Data retention and application uptime are part of your job, and documenting the expectations of business managers makes for a better data recovery plan.
Have a look at our new e-book called The Secondary Storage Squeeze: How Can I See It Coming? for more perspectives on what it takes to get all your incremental and full backups done for increasing volumes of data.
And start your 2016 by going out and talking to the business about new recovery requirements and service-level agreements (SLAs). The sooner you find the unrealistic and obsolete expectations, the sooner you can get out of your own storage squeeze.
At least you can say that you’ve tried.