What do Dilbert, Billiards (or Pool), the US Navy and your SQL Server Backups all have in common?
Well, Dilbert is a fantastically hilarious comic that aptly describes failures and disasters both within the business world and within IT circles. And, in my mind there is no greater failure or screw-up in IT circles than when a critical system fails, IT professionals go to recover the system, and find that for some unknown (and unexplained) reason that mission-critical systems started silently failing a few weeks prior to the disaster in question.
Which, in turn, is where Scott Adam’s (the author/creator of Dilbert) blog post on the Illusion of Winning comes into play. Quickly summarized, Scott’s post details how if you were ever to play a game of pool with him, he’d beat you – and you’d be tempted to chalk his win up to something lame like luck. But, in his post, he points out that his win would be anything but luck. Instead, it would be all of the countless hours he put into playing pool when he was younger.
In fact, the post is so good, that I’ll wait here while you go read it.
Seriously, go read it’s a quick and brilliant read.
Back? Good. Now, there is a bit of cynicism in that post on a couple of points—but the the underlying assumption there is hard to miss: the more you practice something, the better you become at it—and the more capable you are of dealing with it (even under pressure).
Which, in turn, is probably why the US Navy is the only Navy in the world to train Junior Level flight officers in night-flight missions. Dangerous? Hell yes. Scary? I can only imagine that trying to land a 17-ton aircraft on a rolling/pitching deck in the dark is a hair-raising experience. But, the payoff is tremendous. By putting in regular, tough, hours practicing the basics (and advanced maneuvers) over and over at night, Navy pilots end up with a distinct advantage on the field when it really counts.
Bringing us full-circle—to SQL Server Backups.
Because, as I constantly like to tell my clients:
When you don’t regularly practice your backups:
On the other hand:
When you DO regularly practice backups:
So, when's the last time you actively tested your backups and disaster recovery procedures?