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HI,

I am defining a backup policy for the following. Given the characteristics of the following (in my scenario), what would be the ideal backup plan for each (retention rate and backup frequency)?:

Active Directory (including the secondary DC) - AD is about to be heavily used and updated with new users etc

Monitoring server (running built-in SQL Server) - of course, always writing to the database and the config will change

VMs which are built at will by users for product testing (product is deployed on these VMs, so we can test the product/run SQL against the SQL Server this product installs) - SQL Server is very important for daily tasks and testing new releases

As the product is desktop virtualisation, we are provisioning a lot of desktops to mimic a real world situation (so these desktops have apps etc installed from a VMWare template). For each template which a VM is made from, the VM will have data/apps etc installed. This too could change very quickly.

There is a lot of information about media rotation on the internet, but not when to use one over the other.

THanks

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1 Answer

Before creating a backup policy you need to know several things:

  • Any retention policies that may be in place due to regulation (HIPPA, SOX, FERPA, you name it).
  • The maximum data-loss acceptable by the business (as measured in hours/days/weeks) in case of a total-loss disaster.
  • Any off-site retention requirements that may be in place.
  • What your backup infrastructure looks like if you already have it. If not, see the previous points before purchasing anything.

Now, some specifics:

AD backups become stale pretty fast. You probably won't need to keep those for 7 years (check with your auditor first though). However, you want to get those offsite as soon as you can as that kind of restore is one you need to do ASAP, and likely before anything else if it is required at all.

Monitoring Server backups are best done on a tiered system. Use SQL-level backups to create backup files, and then use a file-level backup to back up the exports. How long to keep that will depend on what your recovery thresholds are (see bulleted list).

VM Backups should be handled by an agent that can handle your VM environment, whatever it is. These will be very large compared to your other backups. How long to keep them will depend on what your recovery thresholds are (see bulleted list).

That's all pretty abstract so far, but you asked about media retention policies. That depends on what you're using for backup. Tape, Disk, and Cloud are all valid backup media, and each has their own relative merits. The existence of de-duplication in your backup infrastructure also impacts retention policies. If you provide more details about what you have on hand, I can elaborate more specifically.

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