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As a result, backup administrators often don't notice if a given server, file system or database doesn't successfully back up for multiple days. Some environments where I've performed backup assessments have had servers that have gone several days--even as much as a month--without a successful full or incremental backup; and the larger the environment, the greater the problem. At one customer's site where they back up 10,000 systems, more than 1,000 systems went four days or more without a successful backup of any kind.
Servers that go several days without a backup are obviously at greater risk than others. If a backup administrator was aware of such a trend, they might do a number of things, such as cancel less important backups so that the server that hasn't backed up for several days can be given more resources. At a minimum, the storage admin
| may set the priorities on the backup system so that a server that hasn't backed up for several days is more important than other servers.
Most backup products don't provide the kind of tools necessary in their base product to see this kind of information. The solution is a relatively simple one, but not an inexpensive one: Buy a data protection management tool. There's a reason a whole industry has grown around such tools, and it's difficult to properly manage a backup system without one.
This was first published in November 2008