Get “Replicated”

Alexander Freund

Backup technology is one of the areas of IT infrastructure that has seen some of the biggest changes in the last 5 years.  Tape backup has long been the standard in the industry for maintaining point-in-time snapshot backups. This method has been almost completely replaced by disk-to-NAS backups.

Disk-to-NAS backups have many advantages over the older traditional tape backup.  NAS devices are much faster than tape drives, the total time to run a backup has significantly decreased, allowing for more frequent incremental backups without affecting end-users.  The more often an incremental backup is run, the smaller the effective data loss would be in the event that data needs to be restored from backup.  For example, if incremental backups are run at 8:00am and 1:00pm, then a failure at 4:00pm only has 3 hours of data changes that would be lost if the 1:00pm backup had to be restored.  As was normal with tape backups, typically the data would have to be restored from the previous night’s backup, producing a much larger period of data changes that would be lost if a restore was necessary.  Restore speed is also significantly faster from Disk-to-NAS backups making the whole process much simpler and easier to perform.

Tape backup on the other hand did have one major advantage:  the tapes were removable.  In the event of a site disaster like a fire, flood, or theft, there was at least (1) master tape offsite at all times. Assuming everything at the site was destroyed, the offsite copy could be used to recover all of the data that was stored on the servers.
Living in South Florida, we tend to think of hurricanes as the major risk factor for generating a disaster condition.  Unfortunately, the statistics do not support that assumption.  Fire, flood, and theft are major risks to your company data, and statistically are more likely to occur over the life of your business than a disaster caused by a hurricane.  If you do not have an offsite backup of some kind and your office and servers were destroyed by a fire, your business would suffer a catastrophic data loss of all financial records, documents, and customer information.
So if you are currently using a disk-to-NAS solution and don’t have an offsite backup, how do you affordably mitigate this risk?  There are many good solutions in the marketplace, however all of them require the replication of your backup data to an offsite facility.  There are several additional features that you can add to an offsite backup replication service. The first step is to get a contract in place and get your backup data replicated to a location outside of your existing facility.  Have that data restored quarterly and tested to verify the replicated backup is valid.  This can be done for as little as $250.00/month plus the cost of a second NAS device.  This might seem like more money than anyone wants to spend, yet consider for one moment the real cost of losing all of the accumulated data that your business needs to run.  Don’t put this decision off one more day.  Get your backups replicated!

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