One of the AppAssure features you may have heard us talk about is Recovery Assure. What is this? Basically, Recovery Assure performs automated recovery testing and verification of backups to ensure that the file system and applications you need to protect (specifically Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server instances) will be recovered.

I can hear yáll saying blah blah marketing blah - what the heck does it do.

From a technical standpoint, Recovery Assure is a blanket term for four different features in AppAssure:

1. Testing the validity of the data you are protecting

One way this happens is with an integrity check based on 256 SHA  keys that make sure every block is valid. This happens during archiving, replication, and data seeding, on all the servers that you protect.

Starting with AppAssure 5.4.1, we also enumerate the files contained in the snapshots for each protected machine, and make The filesystem can be mounted. AppAssure warns you If corruption is detected that will prevent mounting a protected file system. Basically, if you are backing up data that is no good, we tell you before something happens and  you need to restore it.

2. Testing that protected Microsoft Exchange data can actually be mounted.

AppAssure is application aware. What this means is that when you put an agent on an Exchange server to protect it, it's going to find all of the things that typically need to be protected with that application. With Exchange, in addition to the application, typically you'll also want to back up the logs and the EDBs (Exchange databases). Once you enable this feature, a SHA=256 checksum is executed nightly on protected Exchange databases and compared to the EDB page checksums. We also perform a mountability check on every Exchange snapshot (remember, Appassure can take snapshots up to every five minutes). A mount of the EDB is simulated to the Core server using ESUTIL to mount volumes containing the EDB, system and log paths. If a problem is detected, AppAssure will warn you.

3. Testing that protected Microsoft SQL Server data can actually be mounted.

To test the recoverablity of SQL Server data, AppAssure performs an attachability check. The databases are attached to a non-production SQL Server instance installed on the Core server. This check happens nightly, and tests the latest recovery point (snapshot) of the database. If it does not attach, AppAssure will warn you.

If I didn't get into enough detail for you, go check out this tech brief on the topic or this KB article. I'm thinking the only thing worse than losing a critical server is finding out after a restore that all the backups you had been taking were actually backing up bad data. AppAssure can automatically test your backed up data, making sure the data you restore will be usuable. 

What do yáll think of this feature?