Tuesday, October 4, 2011

You THINK you know backup

When Hurricane Irene was taking aim at our Huntington, NY, headquarters in September, we, like many companies, had the chance to review our disaster recovery plans. One thing that became apparent is that while backing up and recovering data and files is a job for IT, there is a business perspective that cannot be ignored.
All users know is that they were working on a PowerPoint that they need to have back to finish in time for an upcoming meeting. IT, on the other hand, takes a global look at the system and might not necessarily know that a particular document is stored in a particular place.
Sean McDonough is an expert in DR, and one additional thing he pointed out is that SharePoint Server presents unique challenges that overall IT plans do not take into account. We had a chance to talk at Microsoft's SharePoint Conference, and he pointed out that in SharePoint, content and configurations are stored across databases, but you can't back up in piecemeal fashion. "It's a real challenge to get to the data and restore it in a way that doesn't break things." SharePoint requires a granular backup that's different from what's involved in backing up a full farm.
He co-wrote a book on the subject that looks at backup and recovery from the business perspective first, and then backs into the IT view. It's an interesting look at a critical topic.

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