Blog: Handy advice on tailoring your backup solution to fit your requirements

Backup to different people means different things, which is why there is no single backup solution in market that meets everybody’s need.
This blog post will hopefully highlight the different backup requirements that we have seen when engaging with customers and how backup as a service can be used to address many of their pain points.


What in the world is backup and restore? How do i figure out my requirements?

Backup is an activity whereby a copy is made of a file, program or computer system and is kept in the event of a disaster.
Restore on the other hand is to re-install something back to its original condition.

Backup and restore go hand-in-hand.

It’s no use running backups if you can’t restore and you can’t restore without a successful backup. Your backup requirements will really depend on how critical your data is to your business.

If you are an organisation that’s not very IT centric then your need for backup and restore would be low.

However, if your organisation is very IT dependent, backup and restore would be high on your agenda.

You could have other reasons for performing a backup, for example, regulatory or legal requirements. If you’re unsure on where you stand on this, you may want to do some digging around.

As we all know, over time, the amount of organisational date has grown, just think about how much the length of emails have grown and how much richer documents and PowerPoints are now.

Are organisations disciplined enough to delete data they don’t need and keep their active data set consistent in size?

Or do they simply keep everything with the thought that they might need it in the future?

Hoarding all this data doesn’t take much physical space so it is easy to overlook, but it does take a toll on your storage infrastructure.

But as the amount of data grows, the ability to backup this data also grows. If the growth of the data and backup are not inline, then you have a risk with the gap between these two areas.

Another thing to keep in mind is time.

The amount of time to do your backups doesn’t increase with your data growth. If anything, the amount of time organisations have to do their backups is actually decreasing, as organisations are operating longer when they are online.


Tape drivers as a backup medium

Traditionally, people have backed up their IT systems by using tape drives (or other removable media).This gave them mixed results, where backups were not successful.
Tapes as a backup medium offers good data integrity with lifespan and are power efficient.

However, you have to manage the storage of the tapes (keeping them onsite is not a good idea), you have to think about the ability restore the tape (how often do tape technology change), and keep in mind that the speed of backup and restore with tapes may not be sufficient to meet the customer’s need.

If your organisation is lucky enough to have multiple sites holding IT equipment and decent communication links between those sites, then you might be able to copy your data to the secondary site.

Will this meet your backup needs? Some people say that storage snapshots or storage replication isn’t backup, but to some businesses it might be all they need.


Using a third party for your backup requirements

For many organisations who don’t have a secondary datacentre, using a third party makes sense.
They can be used to simply Co-Lo some equipment that can use as a backup target, to use storage that can act as a backup target or they can use a public offering like Azure & AWS to store their data.

All of these are valid options, but a major gotcha that I have seen with these type of solutions, especially the public cloud offerings, is their ability to restore data.

For some of these solutions, the ability to restore a VM can take over 24hours which would not meet a business’ requirements.

If you are considering these type of offerings, please do plenty of testing.

Test the ability to restore a single file/element, restore a whole VM and try to restore the entire environment, see if it meets your business’ need.

A whole backup can be very confusing and technically challenging, so entering into the world of Backup as a Service makes sense for many customers.


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