A Good Backup Routine is Your Data’s Best Friend

Posted March 2020

Other than remembering to pay the electric bill, backups are probably the most important thing you can do to protect your data. 

ERAM — Electronic Random Access Memory, better known as “Memory Sticks”, “Flash Drives”, and “Thumb Drives” — offer large storage capacities in conveniently portable packages. Thanks to their affordable prices, reliable tech, and fast transfer speeds, they’re ideal for data backup and emergency data recovery.

But just copying your data to an ERAM every now and again doesn’t cut it where your critical data is concerned. For that, you need a backup routine that you follow day-in and day-out, or else you risk losing some or all of your data when you need it most. 

Over the years, INFONETICS has developed a backup routine that we use for our own data, one that makes sure we always have physical backups, and that the backups are kept safe and available when needed. 

We thought we’d share it with you, since it’s a simple, easy-to-do routine that can be easily adapted to any circumstance, including yours. We can’t recommend strongly enough that you adopt it for backing up your own data if you don’t already have a routine.

First, using Nightly Automated Backup And Reorg (NABAR), make sure that you backup your server data every night to a different ERAM on a weekly schedule. You’ll need a separate ERAM for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and one for weekends. Each night backup the data from that day to the ERAM for that day. That way you’ll have a rotating week’s worth of backups, to handle most any data loss emergency.

Next, make sure each day’s ERAM is stored off-site for the rest of the week. That means you’re not keeping the backup ERAMs in the same facility as your server — not in the same room, not even in the same building. Because you can’t restore from a backup if the backup was damaged by the same fire or giant atomic lizard monster that damaged the server in the first place. 

In practice, when arriving in the morning, your designated backup coordinator will check the NABAR messages logged on your console terminal to make sure the previous night’s backup ran without problem. Then, they’ll remove last night’s ERAM from the server and place it in a laptop bag or purse to take home at the end of the day. Next, they’ll place that night’s ERAM in the server to be ready for the next backup. This usually ensures that the backup travels off-site at the first sign of any emergency on-site, and that it finds a safe place off-site to spend the coming week. In the rare event that data needs to be recovered from a backup, you simply need to fetch the right ERAM from it’s off-site safehouse, with minimal inconvenience. 

Validating the integrity of backups periodically is also a vital part of a backup routine, and we recommend it’s part of yours as well. When an ERAM is first put into circulation as a nightly backup stick, and once every month, check it to make sure it is in working order. You can do this by logging in to the server as “root”, and running the Verify/List ERAM option from the Utility Menu. Insert the ERAM media to be inspected, and hit <F9/GO>. The system will then read the data on the media and list each filename as well as last changed date/time. Watch closely to confirm that the date/time stamp corresponds to the period the backup was made. The filename “cmCust” is usually an excellent indication of recent usage, since it is accessed almost constantly throughout a typical day’s business. If the date is current, the ERAM is working.

If you backup every night, use a rotating collection of ERAMs, keep your backups off-site, and regularly check your ERAMs to make sure they’re functional, you’ll have yourself a pretty decent backup routine, just like us.

PLEASE NOTE: Your INFONETICS Linux server must be specifically configured for various manufacturers ERAM media, so please be sure  to only use ERAMs purchased directly from INFONETICS for compatibility.