Backups are collaborative

This is an open letter to Windows server admins.

I have had the luxury of managing large backup environments at a few different organizations over the years. This is a great way for me to engage my skills in a very niche area as well as for my colleagues. Why for them? Well then they don’t have to manage backups as part of their daily operations. If I have learned anything since focusing in this area, it’s that nobody thinks about backups. Nobody wants to. Whether it’s in the early stages of a large system build, where we really should be brought in to consult and ensure that our backup application can ingest this new load or in daily ops. It is somehow expected that we will be there ready to drink from the veritable data fire hose and provide near zero downtime recovery.

The point I wanted to make was since the first tape drive was connected to the first mainframe, demands have required tighter integration between the backup application and your data. Whether it is a backup agent protecting your database, the vstorage API to protect your VM or VSS to capture a backup of your Windows server to ensure recoverability. They all require collaboration with backup administrators and systems administrators. Are you a Windows administrator? Are you familiar with the VSS process?  If not, you should be. Like the vstorage API and RMAN, VSS is just a mechanism that allows a backup application to capture the data. I don’t own the VSS component although I’m probably more familiar with it and better at resolving VSS issue than any Windows administrator.

If there is one thing I can assure you is this. VSS issues are not unique to any one backup product. Google “VSS backup issue” and you will find a multitude of forums from an array of products filled with angry, annoyed backup system administrators fuming over VSS.   I can generally and do fix most VSS issues without having to bother an admin. Sometimes I can’t and the only thing I can offer is to reboot the system. Is there a better solution? Yes, call Microsoft! Open a ticket, run some VSS traces. In short, work with me. Don’t treat me as a nuisance who is again requesting a reboot.

Collaborate with me because one day, you will need me by far more than I need you.

Category: backup recovery |

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