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Recovered data - Ed's journal
Recovered data
One of the things I deal with, day to day, is our backup and restore infrastructure. Every day, we take a copy of anything that's changed, and save it on a tape, in our 1000 tape slot library. Each tape is 400-800Gb, so that's actually rather a lot of data we store.

We have a good helpdesk team, who mostly field the restore requests directly, either by restoring from shadowcopy (snapshotted point in time copies of the filesystem) or through the backup software themselves.

However, that doesn't always work, at which point it gets to me. Well, us. One of the hardest conversations to have with someone, is when their data cannot be restored. I still feel that stab of horror, when the file that they're requesting, as actually really rather urgently hugely vital, is just not 'there' on our backup indexes.

Now, there's a variety of reasons why that can happen. Occasionally a server wasn't backed up properly one evening. Much much more often it's because the user isn't actually sure what file it is, or where it is, or haven't realised that files that they've cleverly (because it's fasters) stored on their laptop, just aren't backed up.

None the less, it's still... well always difficult, having a conversation with someone about why that really vital data is Just Gone, and how no, there is no way they are getting it back, and gradually it dawns on them, that no, actually I mean it. No amount of wheedling, shouting, corporate bullying, or crying (that's only happened once) will mean I am able to alter time and recover data that was never backed up.

I try to help. Really, I do. I'll go as far as searching through indexes, for possible matches on files of approximately the right size and type, but really, if it's not where you thought it was, chances are it's not anywhere else, either.
9 comments or Leave a comment
queex From: queex Date: November 6th, 2007 01:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Perhaps you could break the bad news to them using humour?
cbr_paul From: cbr_paul Date: November 6th, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
That one is absolutely brilliant! I love Penny Arcade. :D
cbr_paul From: cbr_paul Date: November 6th, 2007 02:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
We have a little saying in our IT dept: "Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."
How apt...
elrohana From: elrohana Date: November 6th, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I recently discovered that a vital file on the server was a previous version, NOT the version I needed. I had to re-amend the damn thing from a hard copy I had printed out for my boss. IT had a look for me but couldn't figure out what had gone wrong. I can only assume that I somehow closed the file without saving the amends. After almost 20 years of professional typing on computers, its an unlikely scenario but the only one we could agree made any sense. IT were duly thanked for wasting their time when they could have been doing something important instead of trying to deal with my stupidity, and I retyped the bloody thing.

I am well aware that my reaction and behaviour wre unusual. In fact, I started the conversation by saying, 'I am pretty sure this is my fault and you won't be able to do anything, but.....'.
purplebenji From: purplebenji Date: November 6th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Apologies for being totally off topic but...

...hello! *waves*
sobrique From: sobrique Date: November 6th, 2007 09:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Apologies for being totally off topic but...


Still alive then? :)
purplebenji From: purplebenji Date: November 7th, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Apologies for being totally off topic but...

I may have been a little broken, but luckily not irrevocably so! :o)
fitfool From: fitfool Date: November 8th, 2007 01:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ugh...that sinking feeling when you realize you have the break the bad news to the user that the data is gone sucks. On the other hand, you also get to experience the thrills of finding the backup copy (when there is one) and being that user's angel for the day, right?
sobrique From: sobrique Date: November 9th, 2007 11:15 am (UTC) (Link)
It's often a rather nice feeling. However all too often, our helldesk fields the 'easy' calls :).

*shrug*. It's why I get paid more I guess.
9 comments or Leave a comment