Beringer Associates Technology Blog

Consider Migrating From a Tape Solution to an Offsite Solution to Protect Your Most Valuable Assets

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Unfortunately there is a good chance you are not fully protected. As IT specialists we see a myriad of situations that result in data loss. In most of these situations the business leaders assumed their data was fully protected only to realize that was not the case. In this article we discuss the different levels of data protection (backup, recovery and continuity) and the ways data is backed up.

 

If you are still using a tape based backup system it is time to reevaluate! Tape backup systems are now outdated like cassette tapes are for audio. Just like other areas of technology backup systems have improved and evolved. Tape based backups are slow and very fickle. Most people do not realize that tapes need to be handled with extreme care, leaving a tape in your car for an hour in the summer can damage it enough that a restore would fail. Why? Tapes are very sensitive to environmental factors such as temperature, wear and other factors.

 

Additionally with the average amount of data being managed by companies today, tape based backups are not a good solution. A large tape is capable of backing up let’s say 400GB of data. Typically there is no one in the office at 3am when the backup runs to put a second tape in the drive, if you have more than 400 GB of data the backup will wait for a second tape to be placed in the drive. An option would be a tape autoloader (a device that automatically loads additional tapes during a backup). Autoloaders are expensive and still suffer from the other deficiencies of tape based backups.

 

 

A recent study of IT executives using tape based backups found:

 

    • 75% of respondents indicated that their companies suffered unrecoverable loss of corporate data they thought was successfully backed up to tape due to unreadable, lost or stolen media.

 

    • 63% said they encountered unreadable tapes when they tried to retrieve data with 76% of those cases reporting a direct impact to their business from loss of productivity to punishments for regulatory compliance infractions.

 

 

The industry has moved to disk based backup and incorporating an offsite strategy for housing data.

 

 

Why are disk/offsite backup strategies better?

 

Backup/recovery – All data on all servers is backed up using image based snapshots. An image is different from a tape based backup as it is a complete snapshot of the server (operating system, all program files and data). Tape based restores are never quick as the entire operating system needs to be manually installed, all programs installed and only data is typically restored from tape. This can take days to complete and longer if you are restoring to a new server as the hardware and all drivers will be different than what is on the backup. Tapes are also very unreliable and often fail when you need them most (during a restore). A snapshot image can be restored in under an hour and can be restored to completely different hardware (it automatically loads the correct drivers and other system files). A snapshot image is everything on the server (operating system, programs and data).

 

Continuity – Continuity is the ability for your business to function during a hardware failure or facility outage (like a fire, flood, theft of servers etc.). The piece of hardware that holds data backups (NAS – Network Attached Storage appliance) installed at your site is a server in itself. If you had a server fail or it was stolen the most recent backup image could be loaded onto the NAS appliance. The NAS appliance then becomes that server until the original one is repaired or replaced

Offsite Replication of your Data – As storage in general has become less expensive the industry has also endorsed offsite replication of data. A copy of backed up data is also copied to offsite data centers for complete autonomy from your facilities and associated IT hardware.

 

If you experienced a facility outage (fire, flood, theft of servers etc.) we can virtualize your servers in the “cloud” at our data centers. This would allow your users to log in remotely from anywhere they have an Internet connection and continue to work.

 

 

Interested in learning more?

 

We offer a complimentary disaster recoverability assessment. A senior engineer evaluates your current backup methodologies and produces a report on the health of your data backup.

 

We offer a complete Backup, Recovery and Continuity solution that is proactively managed 24x7x365. All for a cost effective fixed monthly fee.

 

Can you afford not to invest in a best of breed backup solution?

 

Consider these items:

 

      • Annual cost of maintenance of the current backup software

 

      • Cost of employee time spent maintaining the current solution (swapping tapes, working with support to correct failures etc…)

 

      • Cost of extended downtime if a server outage occurs. With a non image based backup solution it could be a lengthy process to do a server restoration as the OS and all apps would need to be reloaded then data restored from the backup. Also the costs for services should this happen could be significant.

 

      • Calculating the hourly/daily cost of downtime typically easily cost justifies this solution

 

      • Peace of mind is priceless. Your data is one of your most critical and valuable assets

 

 

To learn more visit our Offsite Backup Solutions Page on our Website.

 

To schedule your complimentary disaster recoverability assessment, Contact Us!

 

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