Restoring old backups: Lessons learned the hard way

Ancient HP OpenMail backup restore request presented a pretty poser.

I've recently been helping a consulting client restore some ancient data. It struck me that there are lessons here for today's IT operations: lessons to be learned from the mistakes of the past. Mistakes we'll try not to repeat, in The Long View...

For the past few weeks, I've been helping a data recovery specialist extract data from some 10-year-old backup tapes. The tapes contained the entire message store of an email server with hundreds of users. The server ran HP's OpenMail product -- a Unix/Linux enterprise email system. HP killed OpenMail in 2000; support for the product ended sometime around 2005./p>

Why me? As you may know, about eight years ago I was the CTO of a startup known as Samsung Contact. Its eponymous product was a spinoff of HP OpenMail. Before Contact, I'd worked for HP for about 14 years, doing a variety of engineering, evangelism, management, and marketing jobs on OpenMail and its predecessor product. From time to time, I get asked to consult on situations involving these old systems./p>

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This story, "Restoring old backups: Lessons learned the hard way" was originally published by Computerworld.

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