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The Basic Theory of Schrodinger’s backup

The Basic Theory of Schrodinger’s backup

While the term Schrodinger’s backup is mostly IT related; it originated from the thought experiment that Erwin Schrodinger (pictured below) performed back in 1935 that’s commonly known as Schrodinger’s cat.

Erwin Schrodinger is credited with the theory behind Schrodinger's backup.

Erwin Schrodinger

Schrodinger’s Cat Experiment

The basics around the experiment was to place the following in a box:

– A living cat – Some form of radioactive source – A glass flask filled with poison – Radioactivity monitor

When the monitor detects radioactive material; the flask breaks and releases the poison – effectively killing the cat. However; without opening the box the cat could still be either alive or dead.

How does Schrodinger’s backup relate to his cat?

Well as the theory in the end boils down; the cat’s fate can only be validated by opening the box again. Additionally; backups not tested in a restore are similar.

It’s all well and good to perform regular backups; however the backup process isn’t what’s going to save the day in a disaster recovery – the recovery process will be the hero!

The recovery process proves that the backup is successful or failed.

What are the other benefits that come out of Schrodinger’s backup?

  1. Backup documentation (backup reports, backup status e-mails, etc.) are all validated.

  2. Data recovery is possible from the backup used.

  3. Someone knows the recovery process.

As we’ve written previously; testing backups for their recover-ability is an important part of any solid backup strategy. Another good read around Schrodinger’s backup and what an IT team went through in the real world is available here.

If you’ve had any experiences around Schrodinger’s backup or had a DR scenario turn pear shaped then leave a comment below or send us an e-mail letting us know about it!

Just remember the vital lesson Schrodinger’s backup tells us:

Schrodinger's Backup: The condition of any backup is unknown until a restore is attempted.

‘Schrodinger’s Backup: The condition of any backup is unknown until a restore is attempted.’

#backupandrecovery #backuptesting #Schrodingersbackup #testrecovery

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