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The top three mistakes in configuring backup software

Can you describe the top three mistakes that are made when configuring backup software?

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Without digging into the configuration details and parameters of the various backup software products available on the market, there are some common implementation mistakes. Some of the most frequent ones are:

Poor scheduling: Too many backup jobs scheduled to run concurrently at a given time while the system is practically idle at other times. A poorly planned sequence for administrative jobs can also cause issues. For example, a backup server's database or catalog backup should typically take place once client backups and duplication tasks have completed. This is so the latest state information is captured and sent off-site.

Original sent off-site: Many organizations are tempted to cut corners due to time or budgetary constrains by skipping the backup data duplication process. Instead, they choose to send the original backup copy off-site. This situation can become serious in the event of an emergency restore of even worse when the only copy is lost to tape media failure.

Unjustified retention: This one is not so much a configuration mistake but rather, the inability to gather the right information to properly configure a backup solution. Many (if not most) organizations do not have clearly defined backup data retention policies. Too often, people are tempted to keep backup data longer than required and sometimes indefinitely by fear of making a wrong call. Recent legislation changes are making this situation even worse. This situation can quickly make a properly sized backup solution appear undersized and inadequate.

This was first published in July 2004

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