When Backup Becomes an Afterthought, You Kill Buzz Lightyear

Okay, so you won’t really kill Buzz, but Pixar almost did. Along with the rest of Toy Story 2 back in the late 90s.

See YouTube video here >> Pixar Studio Stories – The Movie Vanishes

After a year of work on those magical animated renderings, a careless RM* command wiped out all of it in the span of about 20 seconds. Then when the Pixar team went to restore from their trusty tape backups, they found that they had been failing for a month. The backups were bad, and all of that work was just gone…


Now what?

Well, lucky for Pixar, an employee who had been working from home a lot had a copy of a good portion of the lost data stored on their home computer. That’s great for them (and for Toy Story fans) but what would you do in their shoes?


Most IT pros that I know would swear up and down that they are ready for disaster recovery 24/7 and would wag their finger at Pixar for not monitoring thoroughly enough. In fact, quite a few did on reddit yesterday.


I’m calling BS.

Can you honestly tell me that when things get hectic, monitoring your backups won’t be one of the first things that gets shuffled off your to-do list?


It’s time to start looking at monitoring as a key part of backup strategy, and that means backup solutions with monitoring baked right in.

That’s why we included a Google Workspace health history when we made our new Spanning Backup Admin Dashboard. This gives our customers complete transparency, so they know exactly what’s happening with their backups each day.

Now, technology has come a long way since the 90s and tape backups, but the lesson that Pixar learned that day still holds true: Monitoring and backup go hand in hand, and letting either become an afterthought can have dire consequences.