Dec 162009

There is a profoundly important backup adage that should be front and centre in the mind of any backup administrator, operator, manager, etc. This is:

It is always better to backup a little more than not quite enough.

This isn’t an invitation to wildly waste backup capacity on useless copies that can never be recovered from – or needlessly generate unnecessary backups. However, it should serve as a constant reminder that if you keep shaving important stuff out of your backups, you’ll eventually suffer a Titanic issue.

Now, people at this point often tell me either that (a) they’re being told to reduce the amount of data being backed up or (b) it makes their manager happy to be able to report less OpEx budget required or (c) some combination of the two, or (d) they’re reluctant to ask for additional budget for storage media.

The best way to counter these oppressive and dangerous memes is to draw up a graph of how happy your manager(s) will be over saving a few hundred dollars here and there on media versus potential recovery issues. To get you started, I’ve drawn up one which covers a lot of sites I’ve encountered over the years:

Manager happiness vs state of environment and needless cost savings on backupYou see, it’s easy to be happy about saving a few dollars here and there on backup media in the here and now, when your backups are running and you don’t need to recover.

However, as soon as the need for a recovery starts to creep in, previous happiness over saving a few hundred dollars rapidly evaporates in direct proportion to the level of the data loss. There might be minimal issues to a single lost document or email, but past that things start to get rather hairy. In fact, it’s very easy to switch from 100% management happiness to 100% management disgruntlement within the space of 24 hours in extreme situations.

You, as a backup administrator, may already be convinced of this. (I would hope you are.) Sometimes though, other staff or managers may need reminding that they too may be judged by more senior management on recoverability of systems under their supervision, so this graph equally applies to them. That continues right up the chain, further reinforcing the fact that backups are an activity which belong to the entire company, not just IT, and therefore they are a financial concern that need to be budgeted for by the entire company.

  4 Responses to “Pictorial representation of management happiness over OpEx cost savings”

  1. Hey Preston,

    Off topic… but can you add a search function for your site. Also you should add archive links to a time prior to 01/09. You can use a drop down selection instead of links so the list isn’t a mile long. You’ve got some great info here, but it can be hard to find with the new layout. I’ve been having to use Google site search to find some posts I wanted to reread.

    I also couldn’t find a ‘Contact Me’ link… not that there isn’t one I just couldn’t find it. So that’s why I’m writing this in here.

    This site has become quite valuable to me since finding it a couple months ago. Thank you for the efforts your putting in here.



    • Hi Joel,

      I’ve re-added the search function (lost when I changed themes), and converted the archives back to a drop list. However, I can’t add entries to times prior to January 2009, since that’s when I first kicked off the blog πŸ™‚

      I’ll look at adding a ‘Contact Me’ option somewhere reasonably prominent. At the moment I think there’s a link in About…

      Thanks for the feedback!



  2. Cool thanks! I could have sworn I found articles from before 2009. Going senile.

    Still don’t see a link to contact you. Unless your talking about the IDATA link.



    • I’ve put the link in now – I took the time to see if I’d bother with a graphical or slightly occluded email address, but decided I’ll rely on Google’s spam protection instead…

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