Data recovery emergency on a downed server... Help please!!

Byron Sonne blsonne-bJEeYj9oJeDQT0dZR+AlfA at
Tue Dec 30 02:48:28 UTC 2003

> Madison (who has passed the 24hours mark and wishes she could just get a
> break and then go home!!)

Please let us know how this all turns out. I'm quite interested in the 
ultimate resolution! Sounds like a text book case of the typical failed 
drive/bad tape nightmare scenario.

I've been through this kind of hell but it was when I was part of the 
dark side and had to restore MS boxen, or attempt to, from bad 
Veritas/BackupExec and/or Legato backups (though most of the time it 
worked). Part of the overall procedure (which mind you wasn't followed 
regularly for whatever reasons) was periodic restores to make sure 
everything would work when called upon. Nothing like having a shelf full 
of backups that turn out to be shitworthy in the end.

Oh; I would avoid CDs for backup... I've used numerous brands across 
multiple writers and I'm finding that they are just not trustworthy 
enough over time. Some people seem to have something against tape, but 
I'd be far more inclined to trust DLT over CD. And keep them drives 
clean! It does help.

My experience with using RAID (level 5 or similar levels of redundancy) 
is that it obviates the need for 90% of the restores I would have had to 
do in the past. Except, of course, people that want a restore done to 
get an old version of a file back. RAID is not a panacea, but who gives 
a shit about a busted drive or a 12 hour restore when you can just pop 
in a new drive with nary a hiccup? If you got the money, go RAID and 
complement it with a good backup system (I like DLT). Given a solid and 
well designed IT infrastructure, using good stuff, backups should be 
solid, reliable, and never, ever needed. Or for those with massive 
amounts of data, go SAN.

While I'm rambling on, make sure you have clean electrical power, 
preferably backed up with a UPS. Numerous restores I've done in the past 
would have been avoided if the machine didn't hiccup or crash due to a 
brownout or power failure. They don't have to keep your boxen running 
for days on end, just enough time to close open files and back down 
gracefully. They also help for restores and backups; rather annoying 
when a long, long restore craps out midway through due to a power 
glitch. Tapes will also be more reliable if your power is clean too, but 
I suppose that is conjecture.
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