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Backup failure rates

I was wondering if you have any industry numbers that indicate general failure rates for backups. Does one out of every five backups fail, one out of 10? What's the most common type of failure, human intervention or hardware?

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A properly designed backup system would fail far less than 1 in 10 times. If backups are failing that often, then something is wrong with (a) the software, (b) the network, (c) the systems being backed up or (d) how the backup system was configured.

As to your second question, the most common cause of backup failure and problems is misconfiguration or mismanagement of the backup software package. People think, "It's backups. How hard could it be"? Then they proceed to configure their $10,000 or $1,000,000 backup system without the benefit of either training or professional services -- making the same configuration mistakes that everyone else makes. Then they call up the backup software or hardware vendor and blame it all on them. I can honestly say that MOST of the problems are solved by a reconfiguration or redesign of the system.

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This was first published in June 2002

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