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Take the pain out of backup and disaster recovery

05 Oct 2012

In an ideal world where anything is possible, what three items in your backup, recovery and disaster recovery strategy would you like to change?

Today’s recovery solutions solve these and many more issues that customers face daily in their backup, recovery and disaster recovery environments. By backing up at the sector level instead of the file or block level, real-time recovery solves a broad spectrum of problems.

When asked this question, IT managers almost always cite at least two of the following points – and sometimes all six - on their wish list:

• Reduce / eliminate backup windows.

• Reduce cost and/or complexity.

• Recover physical, virtual or cloud servers in minutes rather than hours or days.

• Restore files in seconds.

• Do not want to restore from tape if at all possible.

• Have a cloud or remote location disaster recovery operational.

Backup is one thing, recover another

Recovery is the key. Too often companies look at backup products, when they should be asking the vendor ‘what are your recovery capabilities’? A real-time recovery solution should be able to restore any size or complexity of physical, virtual and cloud servers in less than five minutes and recover files in as little as 20 – 30 seconds. Such technology should also eliminate backup windows while reducing cost and complexity.

Ideally, users should be able test recoverability, as any recovery - of a file, folder, database recovery or even a complete server - is only as good as the last tested backup/recovery. Fortunately organisations may now rest easy with readily available automated recovery testing solutions. These are designed to deliver maximum confidence that backups are recoverable by performing complete automated recovery testing (DART) on a daily basis - at, say, 2am.

Remote site – or cloud

At an additional cost, backups can be replicated to a remote site or even to the cloud. Once data arrives in the cloud for archiving, other options are available. Users can verify that their data is recoverable, restore files and folders, perform complete server restores or even site failover restores in the event of a catastrophic failure at the primary site. These capabilities have led to a new breed of solutions called Recovery-as-a-Service (RaaS).

RaaS combines real-time recovery with replication, enterprise class disaster recovery and the cloud, delivering recovery levels that were previously unaffordable to most companies. Since RaaS is based on real-time recovery technology, a perfect solution can be available for almost any end user with almost any budget.

Enhance the recovery

End users wishing to enhance their recovery setup may do so in one of two ways.

Complementary disaster recovery works for those who like their backup technology yet require ultra-fast disaster recovery. They can add a five-minute disaster recovery solution to their existing solution to deliver near instant disaster recovery and file recovery to any 15-minute point in time. Organisations can then run their existing backup product between 8pm – 6am.

Replacement disaster recovery replaces traditional backup with next generation real-time recovery technology. Often, users may be able to migrate to real-time recovery with the ability to protect data and databases every 15 minutes, restore files in seconds and complete servers in minutes, eliminate backup windows and reduce cost and complexity at a similar cost.

More on the cloud..and tapes

An alternative is cloud-based disaster recovery. With affordable extensions to existing real-time restore technology, an organisation can build a cloud-based archival, recovery and disaster recovery solution. This eliminates large infrastructures required at a remote site or cloud location. When a disaster occurs and the cloud DR site is invoked, a recovery which once cost hundreds of thousands of dollars becomes exceptionally affordable.

Finally, with so many efficient and reliable disk-based options available, is tape backup dead? The answer is, not yet. However, there has never been a better time to eliminate many of the problems that have plagued backups or recovery capabilities. In so doing, you’re also likely to benefit from a considerable gain in peace-of-mind.

By Greg Wyman, Asia Pacific vice president, StorageCraft