Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2011-06-14 05:17:40Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. Twice in the last month, I have monitored client enterprise system issues that were caused by ever-expanding back-up time. Now generally I am not down in the pits with the admins wrestling to keep massive communication, archiving, etc systems stable any more. However, I have recently been asked to serve as the corporate 30(b)(6) witness on enterprise systems. That means I need to understand their history, architecture and to monitor their ongoing health. Back-up windows have always been a necessary evil for enterprise systems that constantly ingest new documents. There are many replication and live fail-over systems that avoid taking systems off-line, but old fashioned tape back-up seems to dominate my client base. This means that legal searches, placing holds and retrievals are effectively stopped 4+ hours per day. The impact of a 15-25% productivity loss becomes all too clear when trying to give clients a realistic estimation for large PST migrations, archive conversions, legal hold initiatives and even critical case productions. Imagine telling the U.S. Attorney that their data will be another couple weeks just because we have to back up the system every night.

Not only do back-up windows cause delays, I have found far too many environments where they actually throw cryptic errors or simply fail to complete actions without warning. The root issue is communication between the IT administrators and the legal users who are under tight deadlines. I have had to explain far too many hardware/software failures to ever doubt the need for effective disaster recovery.  However, I commonly see Legal left out of the loop when critical systems suddenly run over their back-up windows, need to be patched, or have down time. The messaging team knows to yell when executive mailboxes become unavailable, but in our ever-connected world of federated search they have not yet learned to notify LitSupport before anyone else.

In a recent conversation with a software company, the marketing group had latched onto the growing pain of back-up windows as part of their sales strategy. This tells me that they have had prospects who were actively seeking to manage this as a conscious pain point. I have a hard time believing that mission critical systems in global companies will tolerate nightly offline status. Too many discovery search and retrieval applications have been pushed into enterprise service without the major architectural changes required to keep systems fully functional while back-ups are running.  This means that your searches, holds and productions may be stymied during the night, which is actually the best time to move large quanties of ESI about your network. These are symptoms of our maturing industry as corporations bring more and more of eDiscovery functions in house.

So what are your best stories about back-ups causing you eDiscovery headaches?

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