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[ The PC Guide | System Care Guide | Backups and Disaster Recovery | Backup Scheduling and Media Rotation Systems ]

Medium Security Rotation System

This is an average media rotation system, that provides good protection while requiring only a moderate number of media sets. It is suitable for a PC that gets a reasonable amount of use, and for which daily backups are a necessity. This would include a heavily used personal machine, or perhaps a smaller business PC or departmental server.

Here are the particulars of this system:

  • Backup Method and Type: Backups are performed on a tape backup unit or other removable drive with sufficient capacity to hold a full backup on one unit.
  • Media Set Groupings: The system uses two different groups of media sets. The first group is for daily backups, the second for week-end backups. If you are using the system only on weekdays, you need 4 daily media sets, labeled "Mon", "Tue", "Wed", and "Thu". If you are using it on weekends as well you add 2 more daily media sets labeled "Sat" and "Sun". Then you also use a number of weekly media sets; I recommend three or four, labeled "Fri 1", "Fri 2", etc.
  • Weekly Full Backups: On Friday, you perform a full backup to the set labeled "Fri 1" and then store it off-site. On subsequent Fridays you go to the next set, "Fri 2", etc. and then return to "Fri 1" when you run out of weekly "Friday" media sets. The more weekly media sets you use, the longer the retention period.
  • Rotational Daily Backups: On days other than Friday, you perform a daily backup to the media set labeled with the correct day of the week. This can be either a full backup or an incremental backup. Bear in mind that if you use incremental backups you save time, but if you have a failure on a Thursday you will have to restore from the previous full Friday backup and then each incremental, one after the other, since that Friday.
  • Drive Cleaning: The tape drive head is cleaned weekly using a cleaning tape specifically designed for it (assuming use of a tape drive).
  • Media Storage: All backup media sets are stored in a fire-proof, locked safe, on the premises. One of the weekly Friday sets is stored off-site.

This system provides a good balance of safety, convenience and cost.

Next: Maximum Security Rotation System

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