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Everyone needs a backup, even NASA


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News from the Mars Rover is that the robot’s computer has been corrupted, possibly by stray cosmic rays. This means that the past few weeks’ worth of data collected by the robot are having to be retrieved from backup, whilst the machine runs on its reserve computer.

It’s yet another example of the importance of backing up data. The cost of the Mars Rover was US$820 million for its first 90 Martian-day mission. It has since cost a subsequent $104 million for the four mission extensions, with the fifth mission expected to cost at least $20 million. This is a phenomenal amount of money. Without an efficient backup, NASA would have lost millions of dollars of government money, not to mention lost data that is simply not replicable.

This is an extreme example, but it’s a timely reminder of the impacts of not having sufficient, and efficient, backup systems in place. The amount of data created by businesses is phenomenal: 2.5 quintillion [1018] bytes of data every day. Much of this will not be critical for operations. But a lot will be needed to keep your business running. Losing it would be disastrous.

Data backup will only get more important as the way we do business becomes more reliant on IT and virtualised systems. Businesses need to look at how they are backing up data, and the implications of this. If you cannot access your data for a day, what is the impact on your business? What about if that data is lost altogether? It’s a timely reminder to make sure your business is not caught unawares.



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