Accountability for network backup failures

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Regular hard disk backups for workstations are widely recommended. The necessity of backups -- akin to one`s own mortality -- is something most people would rather not think about. This attitude has two consequences. When people do subscribe to automated network backups, they expect the system to perform at a high level of reliability and that their files will be there for them when they need them. Second, they usually fail to appreciate that reliability is a shared responsibility. Although ostensibly their only responsibility is to keep the computer powered on overnight, there are actually many more opportunities for failure ... continued below

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6 p.

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Benson, W. H. February 1, 1994.

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Description

Regular hard disk backups for workstations are widely recommended. The necessity of backups -- akin to one`s own mortality -- is something most people would rather not think about. This attitude has two consequences. When people do subscribe to automated network backups, they expect the system to perform at a high level of reliability and that their files will be there for them when they need them. Second, they usually fail to appreciate that reliability is a shared responsibility. Although ostensibly their only responsibility is to keep the computer powered on overnight, there are actually many more opportunities for failure within the user`s jurisdiction than in other parts of the infrastructure. High reliability is almost a sine qua non for backups. We describe a strategy for enhancing reliability based on the principle of accountability. This strategy involves monitoring the system, gathering statistics, detecting problems, anticipating problems, troubleshooting, and finally determining where failure occurred within the infrastructure and who should be accountable. We describe a specific backup system in a specific network environment to illustrate the value of accountability. This system, macdumps, backs up Macintosh disks over an AppleTalk network. The original software was written by Dan Tappan of BBN in the early years of the Mac and is available by ftp for noncommercial use. It has proven reliable and robust. Despite the high quality of the fundamental software, there are still many opportunities for failure within the infrastructure. We first discuss accountability in the context of network backups, then briefly describe how the backup system operates, the components of the infrastructure, types of failures experienced, and then summarize our experience.

Physical Description

6 p.

Notes

OSTI as DE94011365; Paper copy available at OSTI: phone, 865-576-8401, or email, reports@adonis.osti.gov

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  • 12. annual Pacific Northwest software quality conference,Portland, OR (United States),17-19 Oct 1994

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  • Other: DE94011365
  • Report No.: LBL--35282
  • Report No.: CONF-9410102--1
  • Grant Number: AC03-76SF00098
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 10148312
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1311659

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

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  • February 1, 1994

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 3, 2018, 11:47 a.m.

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  • Nov. 12, 2018, 12:33 p.m.

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Benson, W. H. Accountability for network backup failures, article, February 1, 1994; California. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1311659/: accessed July 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.