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The importance of RPO and RTO

It is unbelievable how common it is to walk into a new organization only to find that they have no database backups. But when having a conversation with management, they expect zero data loss. Seems like a bit of a conundrum don't you think?

It's important to bring about the importance of RPO and RTO and it's associated costs.

What is it?

RPO - Recovery Point Objective. Basically how much data is acceptable to lose.

RTO - Recovery Time Objective. What is the maximal downtime allowed when performing the RPO.

Management might be quick to say "Well, we can't have any data loss". Just so you have an idea, we, as IT professionals always strive for zero dataloss regardless of the projected RPO/RTO.

However, guaranteed zero data loss is a very difficult and expensive endeavor. It requires multiple active servers, expensive storage and some in house development. It can literally take months to develop, test and deploy a solution that will guarantee zero data loss. With all that in mind a company could easily invest close to $1 million.

A solid backup strategy is a prerequisite for HA/DR solutions. If I walk into an organization that has never had a backup performed for their databases we cannot proceed with implementing any HA/DR solutions.

RPO and RTO is a business decision based heavily on cost and what they already have in place. Based on that, you should get some realistic expectations from management. Then, as the DBA, it is up to you to document and meet these expectations.

Regularly Test and document backup/restores as well as HA/DR solutions.

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