Steven Jones posted an excellent editorial today all about how your backups are only good if you know that you can restore from them. He couldn’t be more correct. I posted the following thoughts in the comments, but I know not everyone reads the comments in articles & editorials. Although, if it’s a good article, you should read the comments, especially on SQL Server Central. Frequently the discussion about the article can be as enlightening as the article itself. But I digress.
Steve’s point, pretty clearly stated but I’ll repeat it, backups don’t matter, restores do. I’m going to pile on to this point just a bit, because it can’t be emphasized enough. Nothing is more important than verifying backups, except, verifying that you know how to run a restore. You’re absolutely right when you say that backups are no good unless you can restore them, but it goes beyond actually validating that the backup files themselves are valid and accessible. You need to know that you, and any other DBA’s in the organization, can actually run a restore, knows how to read the file header, can do a point in time recovery, etc. Practice restoring databases not only validates that the backups are good, but that you’re good as well.