Lessons In Backup and Disaster Recovery From Classic Star Trek

Lessons In Backup and Disaster Recovery From Classic Star Trek

July 19

Star Wars and Star Trek share a number of parallels despite existing in two entirely different segments of the Sci-Fi universe. For example, both showcase technology that is not only light years away, but tech that already exists in some form. Additionally, both make for an exciting way to get to know about backup and disaster recovery. Casey already explored BDR through the eyes of a Star Wars fan. Now let’s do something similar while applying a little Trekkie logic.

“The Manual Override Isn’t Working, Sir.”

The manual override function came into play during numerous Star Trek voyages. Whether it was getting maximum power to the ship engines, bypassing the automatic setting on the transporter, or navigating through an energy field, this feature proved handy in many emergency situations. Okay, it didn’t always work, like in the classic Changling episode, where its failure resulted in the Enterprise being hijacked by the ultra intelligent villain Nomad. However, it was extremely valuable in most emergency instances.

While a BDR solution doesn’t make bouncing back from a catastrophe as simple as pushing a single button, it makes recovery possible. And in some cases, even makes it possible to avert true disasters. For example, even if your file and database servers take a hit onsite, an ideal solution will allow you to completely and quickly restore those systems from a remote server. In this case, the disaster you avert is excessively long periods of downtime that cost you in productivity, customers, and revenue.

Killer Malware From Outer Space

Contagion is another popular episode with BDR overtones, including an “attempted” use of manual override. In this episode, our favorite space cadets are responding to a distress call made by the USS Yamato, the Enterprise’s sister ship. Things are dire to say the least. Not only is the Yamato experiencing serious technical problems, but it actually explodes before the save can be made, killing all crew members onboard in the process. A mission to find out who’s responsible for the ship’s destruction results in a crazy chain of events, which kick into high gear when Captain Picard leads the crew to a suspicious planet on the far side of the infamous Neutral Zone.

With the journey under way, it’s discovered that the Enterprise downloaded a file from the same alien software that led to the Yamato’s destruction, which left the gang with little time to isolate it before the infection spread. Things grow even more bleak when Lieutenant Commander Data has his internal IT system rewritten by the malicious app, making it even more difficult for Picard to interpret the commands needed to halt the attack. But thanks to the android’s creator, Data was eventually able to wipe his memory free of the alien infection by performing an automatic shutdown. Lieutenant Commander La Forge applied the same approach to the Enterprise, completely shutting it down and effectively deleting the virus file from the system.

The backup and disaster recovery plan the Enterprise executed in Contagion can be traced back to system design. Both Data and the core of the ship’s computer were designed to wipe themselves clean by forcing a cold boot. Heck, developers took the disaster-proof concept even further with Data by building him to double as a floatation device and even walk underwater. Apocalyptic flood in the data center? No problem!

While you may not have the benefit of Star Trek technology, you surely have the resources to adopt an effective backup and disaster recovery plan. Okay, your systems are not in the crosshair of an alien malware-embedding tractor beam, but these manmade threats and natural disasters can be just as detrimental to your Enterprise operations.

Did you know your backup and disaster recovery plan can also give your business a competitive advantage?