Real-world backup woes and how to fix them

How four enterprises solved problems with their backup and restore processes

Data backup and restoration can be somewhat of a black-box effort. You often don’t know whether you fully nailed it until disaster strikes, and there is always room for improvement, especially as cloud and hybrid options grow. We asked four network professionals to share what made them realize they should do more to bolster their organization’s backup and recovery processes, and how they made that happen. Here are their stories.

A Kansas university outgrows tape backups

The aha moment: In May 2011, a tornado hit Joplin, Mo., and Tim Pearson, a volunteer fire chief in a nearby town, was called in to help in the aftermath. “Suddenly, I was in a town that I knew well but couldn’t recognize anything. They literally painted intersection names on the streets to help people get oriented,” says Pearson, who is director of infrastructure and security at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan.

His colleagues with data centers in Joplin, Mo., were struggling just to identify where the sites should be, let alone how to get their networks back online. He realized that PSU’s approach of having traditional tape backups, rotated weekly, in a bank vault across town didn’t provide enough reliability for the region’s weather patterns. “We had to take a fresh look at our vulnerabilities,” he says.

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