Why backups are useless

Yes you read that right. You might think I’m crazy for stating that backups are useless, but stay with me for just a second.

Backups are just 1’s and 0’s sitting on some form of mechanical storage (tape, disk, DNA, etc) they mean nothing to anyone around you, no one cares that you have backups. When I first started working in IT I would have thought that statement was ridiculous, but in fact backups are 100% useless unless they are tested regularly. I don’t know a single, manager, director, VP, or C level that cares that you have backups. All they want to know is that there is an active, functioning and tested recovery plan.

It doesn’t matter if your running VMware backups with Veeam, SQL backups, Physical host backups with BackupExec; if your not testing these backups whats the point in doing them?

I get it its not always easy to get the hardware required to spin up a production VM, DB, etc. You must find a way to get the importance of having a backup and recovery plan to upper management. If they don’t budge then only failure will teach them a lesson in that case, most capable managers will understand the need to have some form of hardware to do a restore, even if its an Optiplex desktop from 2005 its better then nothing at all.

Lets say a production VM fails, maybe on top of that the DB inside of the VM backup is corrupt. Now you need to restore the VM and then restore the DB. Do you really want to try that out for the first time on Monday morning while the accounting team waits for GP Dynamics to come back up?

Test your backup AND recovery plans before its too late. Build a script that parses your environment and produces a “fire drill” for a failed piece of infrastructure, execute your DR plan and practice it regularly. Getting backups running is the easy part, making sure with 100% certainty that they are valid is very much the hard part.

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