Backup Management The Son-Father-Grandfather Methodology

POSTED ON August 13, 2013

Marker Seven is often asked about the necessity and methodology for backing up the websites we build and deploy. As the lifeblood of a business’s online presence, it is imperative to have a backup solution in place, should the unthinkable happen. Even the best-maintained data sometimes becomes corrupted; even the most secure servers are sometimes compromised.

The goal of any backup management plan is twofold:

  • Maintain the ability to restore a compromised server to a point where there is essentially no data loss, whether configurations, content, codebase, or database.
  • Generate enough backups to do this without clogging up valuable (and sometimes expensive) server space.

Marker Seven subscribes to the Grandfather-Father-Son backup method

Son: The Son backup is a frequent snapshot of a site that is kept for a short period of time on the server, on the same server where the data will most be used. On very large sites with lots of data, this is usually configured to be only a subset of the entire instance, usually only the data that has been changed since the last “Son” backup.

Father: This is a less frequent snapshot of the site that is kept for a longer, or “medium”, period of time. This image is generally stored on the server where the data is used, or is copied to a remote storage location.

Grandfather: The Grandfather backup is taken at larger intervals than the Father backup, and is kept indefinitely – or for a period as required but larger than the lifetime of the Father backup.  This backup is generally stored on external hard drives or tape drives, which are sometimes referred to as “cold” storage.

This combination of the Grandfather-Father-Son backups provides a stack of revisions and redundancies to protect a site’s data in any circumstance. Should one part of the data in the process be lost, e.g. if a Father backup was lost, the instance could still be rebuilt using the Grandfather and multiple Son revisions to get back to the original state.

The specifics of how often each Son-Father-Grandfather snapshot should be taken will vary based on the size and activity of the site. A retail site with hundreds of visits and database transactions per day will require a more aggressive backup schedule than a 50 page marketing site that changes only weekly, for example. Marker Seven works with clients and service providers to help each site develop an optimal backup management plan.

For more information about Marker Seven’s full-service online solutions, Contact us here, or call: 415-447-2841

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