What makes backups real

December 14, 2011

DEVOPS_BORAT tweeted today:

Is not about backup, is about restore.

YES. Many, many times yes.

DEVOPS_BORAT is undeniably funny, but sometimes those funny things are also pithily saying something very important where you shouldn't just laugh and move on. This is one of those times.

Until you have tested restores, you do not have backups; you have a superstitious ritual that may or may not write some useful bits to some place. What is important is not making those bits; what is important is getting things back. If you are not testing restores, you are just going through the motions of backups without knowing if they actually work. Restores are what makes backups real instead of cargo cult rituals.

Make your backups real today, before you find out the hard way that you've just been performing a superstitious ritual.

(The ideal test is an end-to-end restoration where you don't just test that you can, say, restore a database's files from backups; you also test that your database software is happy with the files and that all of the information is there.)

If you want hair-raising things, I've written about all of the things that can go wrong with backups before.

Written on 14 December 2011.
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Last modified: Wed Dec 14 22:15:45 2011
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