24 Jun 2013

Continuity and Cloud – Episode 2: Backup

Without an unlimited budget and resources, how do you really protect your Information Technology assets?

All businesses have a backup solution in place that is more (or less) effective. Typically this backup solution involves copying data from running physical and virtual machines to a second server and storage system and then migrating this to a tape which is taken offsite.

Depending on the amount of data, the infrastructure you deploy to support this and the networks that connect them this can take anything from hours to days or weeks to complete full backups. Whilst we diligently check our backup logs and pay to have our tapes taken offsite and stored, few of us pay particular attention to whether or not we can actually restore that data in a usable fashion.

Even should you have access to the tape you backed up 5 years ago and you have access to the hardware and software to read that tape, are you sure you can recover the data ?

Backing up your data to tape is a monetarily cheap solution to data protection, but is it really a cost effective way to provide a solution to recover your business in the case of disaster?

Your recovery solution with tape is to:

  1. Recall your off site tapes
  2. Restore your backup server
  3. Deploy tape hardware
  4. Recover your backup application
  5. Restore your server images and recover your application data

Depending on your application and server requirements, this can take days to set up, recover and provide application services to your users.

How do I get a better result?

Whilst consuming backup-as-a-service from your service provider is a simple way to achieve a better result, you can leverage your current investment in software and processes and still take advantage of the flexibility of cloud computing.

Have a look at the features of your backup software. If it can provide you with a secondary copy of your data to a remote installation of that software, consider putting that second copy in a running server in a cloud environment. A small secondary backup server and storage can provide you with your off site requirement at a cost effective price.

This provides you with the following benefits:

  1. Your data will be off-site
  2. Recovery to a cloud system is simple
  3. You no longer have to worry about maintaining legacy tape infrastructure to recover your data