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Crafting a Proper Backup & Recovery Service Level Agreement

By November 17, 2008Asigra Inc

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.. These

include:

http://www.itil-officialsite.com/home/home.asp

http://www.service-level-agreement.net/

http://www.itsmsolutions.com/newsletters/DITYvol2iss14.htm

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Tim Anderson

About Tim Anderson

Tim serves as a Senior Analyst HA/Infrastructure for DCIG

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