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Crafting a Proper Backup & Recovery Service Level Agreement

Anyone who works as an end-user is continually confronted
with crafting SLAs
for various infrastructure components. Aggravating the situation, once SLAs are
signed-off on, it is nearly impossible to make changes without completely
rocking the boat so it is extremely important to get it right from day one.

First, you need to determine the scope of the backup and
recovery SLA both in terms of what it will cover, and maybe more importantly,
what will it not cover. It is crucial that as SLA objectives are crafted that
they are clear and to the point to cover both yourself and your customers. To
do this, you should have as many face-to-face meetings with your customers
about the SLAs to ensure everyone understands the terms of the SLA and that
they are in complete agreement about them. and total understanding.

Crafting the SLA objectives for your internal backup and recovery
environment will need to cover any component of the infrastructure that may
impact the successful backup or restoration of critical business data. These
areas may include:

  • Backup Libraries
    (Disk-Based or Tape Based)
  • Offsite/Internal Media
    Storage Locations (How fast can you retrieve those tapes?)
  • Backup Servers (Masters or
    Media Servers)
  • Backup Reporting Servers
  • Client Backup Software
    (SAN Connected)
  • Backup Client Priorities
    (Business Critical Nature of the Application Server)
  • SAN Network (Fibre
    Channel, iSCSI)
  • Ethernet Network
    (Connections to Clients and Backup Servers)
  • Backup Operators
  • Data
    Center Environmentals

Once you have determined the appropriate infrastructure
that should and should not be included in the SLA, then you need to determine
the metrics that you will report back to your customer, to ensure you are delivering
on all of the agreements defined in the SLA. The metrics are really determined
by how much of the infrastructure and people either you or other IT teams are
responsible for.

I encourage you, especially if you work in a large IT
organization, to develop OLAs (Operational
Level Agreements)
with sister groups that you need to support as part of the
overall backup and recovery environment (Windows & Unix Teams, Operations
& Implementation Teams, Application & Database Teams, Facilities Team,
and Outside Vendors were applicable).

Only when your infrastructure components, metrics, and
OLAs are in place should you begin to put the whole SLA together. Depending on
your customers’ requirements, the SLA can vary greatly from nauseatingly
detailed to simple and to the point.

One very effective way to accomplish this SLA engagement
is by using software to track, monitor, and control every aspect of the backup and
recovery infrastructure and process. One example of a product that does this is
Asigra Televaulting. Taking advantage of Asigra’s Televaulting backup and recovery
software will give you and your organization the ability to define all of the various
levels of the SLA and OLA processes and directly implement them in your backup and
recovery environment. Asigra’s software ensures that not only is the backup
environment properly classified, but also that you the have the ability to
customize the reporting and notification parameters around your SLA directly
into the software. This greatly enhances your ability to meet and, in some
cases, exceed your SLAs.

Anytime you can take the human factor out of a process
including SLAs, and automate it via software, you have just placed yourself and
your company in a much better place to be successful.

For those of you just establishing an SLA process for the
first time, there are many sites to help you in this endeavor..


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