They call him Mr. Backup although his real name is W. Curtis Preston.
Preston has been a specialist in backup systems for more thank 30 years. We recorded this interview a week or so ago, and it usually takes about two to three weeks to go to air, but when one of our team realized that it was World Backup Day yesterday, our producer made sure that it got an earlier release.
I don’t know for sure if this is going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I came across Preston’s name in an article where he was referred to as Mr. Backup and I knew I had to have him on the show.
As usual here’s my opening story. I hope you will catch the rest on the podcast itself. And do let me know what you think.
There was nothing on the tapes.
That presented two problems. One, we’d blown our chance to do this conversion test on the new mainframe and now our project was falling behind. That wasn’t good, but it wasn’t the end of the world.
Then it hit me. Those tapes were copies of our backup tapes for our current production mainframe that ran banking operations with billions of dollars in assets.
If they were blank – were our current backups also blank. That would mean if the mainframe went down, we could restore it.
There’s a technical term for this – it’s starts with holy…
We learned a lesson that day – you had to validate backup tapes.
But in the early days, that’s how we learned. We made mistakes and if we were lucky, we found them, fixed them and put processes in place to make our lessons learned were also lessons applied.
And sometimes, thankfully it didn’t happen to me, although it was close too many times – sometimes, the mistake couldn’t be fixed.
You learned the difference between taking a backup and being able to restore.
The difference could mean losing your job.
That’s how we learned – school of hard knocks.
Today, everything is a lot more demanding and a lot more sophisticated. We’ve learned a lot over the years. Or have we?
I was thinking about that when I read an article from a man who was called “Mr. Backup”
I had to have him on Hashtag Trending, the Weekend Edition to share his knowledge and his learning. I’m your host, Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US, and my guest today is W. Curtis Preston, or perhaps more widely known as Mr. Backup
Welcome Curtis – or Mr. Backup.