Can you restore your backup?

In this short note I simply want to second Joel Spolsky’s post on backups: Let’s stop talking about “backups”.

For instance many IT related people are comfortable enough knowing that necessary backups are done. However not many are concerned about restoring from the backup or actually tried the whole backup restore process. Nonetheless there is always something unexpected happens during restore…

Thus the right question to ask is not “are you doing backups?” but “can you restore your backup?” or “are you doing restores?” is even better.

The minimum bar for a reliable service is not that you have done a backup, but that you have done a restore. If you’re running a web service, you need to be able to show me that you can build a reasonably recent copy of the entire site, in a reasonable amount of time, on a new server or servers without ever accessing anything that was in the original data center. The bar is that you’ve done a restore.

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