My post the other day got me thinking about Disaster Recovery. Many people thing that this is really important for just big companies that can afford it, but I can not stress how well it can be done now a days even if you are not a big company with millions to spend on it. A few months ago I was speaking to a client that had a SQL Server that was important to his company. However, it was not so important that if it went down for a couple of days that he would stop bringing in revenue. If the database was down for months now that is a whole separate issue. If he lost the database all together then he would have may as well rolled up his shop and went home.
He had shopped around for a disaster recovery plan, when I talked to him, and found out that he did not have a lot to spend I started to think about the options. Now many of you may chastise me for this but he is running SQL Server 2000 and doing it from a small server. He could afford to lose a couple days even up to a weeks worth of data if need be. This is where the cost factor comes in. My recommendation to him was to get some external drives, back up his data to these external USB drives, You know the ones that are about $200.00 a piece. This was more then enough space for his needs. I recommend 2 drives so that he would always have one off site. All he had to do was bring in the new drive, plug it in, and take the old drive home or elsewhere for a few days. Rinse and repeat.
Was this optimal, yes… he did not have a lot of money to spend, but the cost of losing his data would be more then the company could make it through. End result was if there is a disaster he could take his car to the local computer shop and by a beefed up PC. We could re-install SQL Server 2000, restore the database, validate connections and he was back up and running.
I do have plans in place where I can have a customer’s data taken off site for them, these partnerships are in place now. Then if there is a disaster we call a hosting company, or we get him a new server ASAP. End result here is that he now has a plan where before he did not have a plan. I use to work at a communications company where the off site was in the trunk of the NetOps manager’s trunk. It took all the fight I had in me to convince them to just take the backups off site. Granted the trunk is not a good place and we fixed that problem. But it was something. When disasters strike and there is no plan, companies need to get the data anyway that they can.
What are some of the crazy plans that you have seen in place. What has worked and what hasn’t?