While there’s no doubt that computers and digital files are very handy, they’re certainly not infallible. What happens if you’re hard drive crashes, or thieves steal your laptop.
Backup has been evolving steadily for over 60 years. And just when we think we’ve solved every problem, new technology comes along to present us with new challenges.
Since disk is so unstable, companies would have to make copies of their backups on tape for long-term storage. This was inconvenient because tape required special hardware, lots of manual labour, and it had to be hauled off for off-site storage. Also, tape could be stolen or damaged… so it was far from perfect.
Now, cloud storage (such as online backup) allows companies to automate the process of moving these files off-site. It’s more secure than tape, and there is less chance of damage since most cloud providers will also make backup copies of your backups.
Unexpected downtime is expensive and embarrassing. That’s why more companies are opting to make 2 backups every night.
- One to tape for off-site archiving or storage
- One to disk for fast on-site recovery
As we’d mentioned earlier, unexpected downtime can do a lot of damage in a short period. This is especially true for larger companies.
In order to minimize this possibility, many companies are opting for a D2D2C backup methodology. First, the data is backed up to a secondary system, and then those backups are transferred to a remote facility over the internet.
In the event of a minor crash, the data can be quickly recovered from the on-site disk copy. And for more serious disasters, the data can be downloaded from the remote cloud server.
Data production is growing out of control. We’re producing and sending more files than ever, and these files are also getting larger. More data means longer backup windows. New compression technologies like deduplication will help squeeze out redundant or duplicate information in order to greatly speed up the backup process and reduce storage costs.
With Virtualization, servers are treated as a software “object”, rather than a physical device. You might have 4 virtualized servers running on a single box, or 1 server running across 4 physical boxes.
This means that companies can be “geographically resilient”. If one of the physical devices should crash, the other machines will compensate and ensure that the applications continue running.
Archiving is not a new concept, but it’s gained new importance because of new information privacy laws and the exponential growth of data storage requirements.
Because data is growing so fast, constantly upgrading servers is not a practical option. Instead, companies need to set up policies for taking under-used data off of production machines while ensuring that it can be quickly accessed and searched when needed.
Continuous Data Protection
There was a time when companies could afford to only produce daily or weekly backups. But as we become more dependent on information, our tolerance for data loss is also diminishing.
“Continuous Data Protection” describes the practice of backing up files every time somebody saves a document, eliminating the possibility of any data loss whatsoever. Online backup technology also ensures that these backup changes are instantly taken off-site and securely stored in a remote facility.