Retention of MLS backups

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
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sbradshaw
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Retention of MLS backups

Postby sbradshaw » Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:02 am

How long should we keep old backups of MLS? Is there any policy about this? One of the wards in my stake just reported that their USB drive for backing up MLS is now full... The drive was just provided about a year ago.

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Biggles
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Re: Retention of MLS backups

Postby Biggles » Sun Jun 29, 2014 8:17 am

Personally I keep backups for no longer than 6 months. Bearing in mind that any new release of MLS may change the actual file format, so older backups may not be entirely compatible with a newer release of MLS.

If I'm wrong in this assumption someone will surely correct me!

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Re: Retention of MLS backups

Postby gregwanderson » Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:33 am

I'm one of those old-timers who remembers making backups on floppy disks. We had six disks used in rotation so our oldest backup was no more than 6 or 7 weeks old. I always figured that, even today, if you have need to restore from a backup you wouldn't need a backup more than 6 weeks old. Can anyone think of an example where something older would be necessary?

One nice thing about using multiple disks in rotation was that if any individual disk went bad we always had a complete backup that was just one week older. Is there an official recommendation about using multiple flash drives for backups now?

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Re: Retention of MLS backups

Postby russellhltn » Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:44 am

The only defined guideline I know of is destroying financial records - 3 years plus current for the US. In looking for something, the best I could do is Handbook 1:13.9.2, which indicates only as long as needed.

Since so much of the information is duplicated at CHQ, I'm not sure how strong a need there is for backups at all, much less how long. I understand that CHQ does a full backup every 30 days. One might argue that sets the lower limit since anything longer then that is backed up elsewhere.

I have seen cases in the forum where old backups wouldn't restore on a newer MLS, so that's a valid concern.
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Re: Retention of MLS backups

Postby russellhltn » Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:45 am

mrrad wrote:I'm one of those old-timers who remembers making backups on floppy disks. We had six disks used in rotation so our oldest backup was no more than 6 or 7 weeks old. I always figured that, even today, if you have need to restore from a backup you wouldn't need a backup more than 6 weeks old. Can anyone think of an example where something older would be necessary?

I remember making a year-end backup and keeping it separate from the rotation.
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Re: Wireless Survey of church building with Netspot

Postby Biggles » Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:46 am

I use 2 memory sticks. 1 left in a locked cabinet in the Clerks office. The 2nd I take home, so in the event of some kind of accident/catastrophe/theft happening in the Meeting House, we still have an up to date file to fall back on.

Although a lot of data is backed regularly on the Church servers, at the moment HT/VT and Custom Reports and there probably other items as well that aren't. If I'm incorrect on this last assumption, I would be pleased to be put right!

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Re: Retention of MLS backups

Postby gregwanderson » Sun Jun 29, 2014 11:36 am

russellhltn wrote:I remember making a year-end backup and keeping it separate from the rotation.

Yes. But wasn't that also at a time when you could only access data from the current year? "Closing" the previous year on the first Sunday in January isn't quite the point-of-no-return event that it used to be. So now I'm wondering just how much data is saved in a backup. Does it include everything from the "retention period" (up to 4 years worth of data in the U.S.) or something less than that? Whatever it is, it certainly could never fit on a floppy disk anymore. :D

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Re: Retention of MLS backups

Postby russellhltn » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:38 pm

mrrad wrote:But wasn't that also at a time when you could only access data from the current year?

Not that I remember.

mrrad wrote:"Closing" the previous year on the first Sunday in January isn't quite the point-of-no-return event that it used to be.

True. But three year-end backups are only going to hold the same "stick space" as three weeks of regular backups - it doesn't make that much of a difference when to comes to retention based on available space.

Which brings up another question - are they storing more than one backup per week on the stick? Maybe what they should do is backup to the hard drive and save just the last backup of the day on the stick.
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Re: Retention of MLS backups

Postby jirp » Fri Jul 11, 2014 1:51 pm

Quick question why is the memory stick being full a problem? Memory sticks are cheap. Just buy another one.

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Re: Retention of MLS backups

Postby sbradshaw » Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:02 pm

jirp wrote:Quick question why is the memory stick being full a problem? Memory sticks are cheap. Just buy another one.

It can get confusing to have multiple memory sticks lying around. And if you get rid of old records/backups you don't need, there's less stuff to dig through in the future.
Samuel Bradshaw • Interested in church apps and sites, creative recordkeeping, clerk support, YSA wards and stakes, LDS music, Vineyard at BYU, and online service.


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