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Consider open source appliances for backup

Aug 02, 2010, 17:07 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Christine Taylor)

"Backup used to be simple in SMB environments: You slapped on your tape and autoloader, scheduled backup in the backup application, and set it to run. Occasionally you would test to see that it actually did run. Most of the time it worked; when it didn't you could troubleshoot the problem and make sure backup ran that night. No harm, no foul.

"Those days are long gone. Backup remains a critical function but several factors contribute to making a once-simple process anything but.

"Manage complex backup procedures. Backup used to be tape. Now it's tape/VTL/SAN/NAS /DAS/cloud, etc. Your choices depend on what you already own, what you're familiar with, if the data is primary or secondary, if the data is regulated and/or valuable, and how much time you actually have to spend on all this. Multiple applications require multiple backup procedures, which change depending on server locations, application types, data sizes, service level agreements (SLAs), and backup targets. There is nothing wrong with having multiple procedures, but the complexity makes it awkward to administer and verify.

"Grapple with restore. If you want to restore from backup – which is the entire point – you must protect the backup. The most basic procedure is to store inactive backup tapes off-site, but this begs the question of quickly restoring priority data. Storing lower priority data off-site is fine, but you should keep critical data protected and close to hand for fast restores. This requires maintaining secondary sites that enable near-immediate restoration of critical data. However, this is an expensive proposition."

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