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Geeks’ Backup Rotation Schedule

Backing up the most valuable information is inevitable basis of any corporate disaster recovery plan. To optimize an effectiveness of your plan it’s necessary to store the data as long as it possible, while using the least number of media storages. No one who knows a way to have only few tapes and use them effectively wants to pay for tons of tapes waiting uselessly in an expensive off-site storage. Tapes for backup usually could be hardly considered as moderate cost solution. And quite the same thing with secure storage space prices.

There are several ways in which one can organize backup rotation. The most known and popular are four backup schedules: simple incremental backup, Round Robin effective in weekly rotation, Grandfather-Father-Son also known as GFS and Tower of Hanoi based on mathematical puzzle. We already described all of them in previous articles. But today we are going to talk a bit about GFS backup strategy pros and cons.

Here is an example of how to perform GFS backup rotation in the most cost-effective way. To execute following rotation schedule you will need:

  • 4 Daily or "Son" tapes
  • 3 Weekly or "Father" tapes
  • 1 Monthly or "Grandfather" tape
  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Week 1 Son 1a Son 1b Son 1c Son 1d Father 1 X X
Week 2 Son 2a Son 2b Son 2c Son 2d Father 2 X X
Week 3 Son 1a Son 1b Son 1c Son 1d Father 3 X X
Week 4 Son 2a Son 2b Son 2c Son 2d Grandfather X X

This table shows that GFS backup rotation schedule allows to get data from anywhere in the last two weeks, all end-of-weeks backups for a month as well as end-of-month backups for all the period you are going to keep your monthly tapes. All tapes are reusable except the “Grandfather” one which you will have to remove from the rotation scheme on the last business day of each month and store it in somewhere in out-of-location secure vault.

Talking about disadvantages of this backup rotation schedule have to say that tape is used correctly until the fail, which is much more likely to happen than it is usually considered. The only advice is to replace most used tapes before the tape failure accident. Daily and weekly tapes should be replaced every 2 years.

Having such backup rotation scheme can increase your disaster recovery plan greatly. Moreover, it will help to make offsite data storage much more affordable and effective solution. So if you are not making profit of this backup strategy yet, then it’s a good chance to do it right now.

See also: Backup Database, Backup MySQL, Backup DB2, Backup Oracle

 
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