Thursday, July 3, 2014

Schrodinger's Backups

A comment on a cautionary tale from Spiceworks offers a wealth of IT insight:

Schrodinger's Backups:
"When you are not testing them the backups are both there and not there at the same time."
- Wilkins IT Solutions (Though I don't know the original source of this quote.)

Apparently this is a thing. What's this mean? The Schrodinger Cat theory basically boils down to a situation where two states are considered true at the same time until someone checks them. In the case of the cat, you've got a cat in a box that will be poisoned at an unknown time, therefor without looking in the box, the cat is considered to be both alive and dead. (Personally, I'd say it's "unknown" not in both states, but hey, what do I know of quantum mechanics?)

So, you're doing backups? Great. Do they work? Have you ever tested restoring even one?

In this case, backup files physically exist, but without testing them, you don't really know if the backup is valid.