Disaster Proof Local On-Site Backups

Briefing Note – ioSafe’s BDR 515

There are few things better than a local copy of your data center when the worst happens.  Unfortunately, events that destroy your data center also take out your backup system. Most people use tapes stored at an offsite facility or a cloud copy of their data that will not be impacted by a data center disaster. The problem is the distance that makes these copies safe also creates challenges in getting that data back to restore the data center.

There are solutions to the distance problem, but they often come with their own challenges. An onsite fire safe can protect backup tapes, but tape-based backups haven’t been the preferred method for operational recovery in quite a while. Disk-based backup systems are typically ruled out because such safes can’t typically support power, cooling and network connections.

One can also replicate backups offsite using a deduplicated disk target and replication, or a cloud backup product. The advantage of these methods is that the backup of the organization’s data is far away from the disasters that would damage it. It’s also the disadvantage. Once the disaster is over and it is time to start the restore, a local copy is prefered. But it’s really difficult to have a local copy of data when it’s sitting inside a cloud backup vendor’s VM running inside an Amazon data center whose location is unknown.

ioSafe has a line of fireproof and waterproof storage systems, from simple portable hard drives to full-fledged NAS systems running Synology NAS software. Its systems can withstand 1550°F for 30 minutes or being 10’ underwater for 3 days. ioSafe is now partnering with StorageCraft to create the BDR 515, a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) appliance. It is a complete system with 5-30 TB of disk running Windows Server 2012 R2 & StorageCraft ShadowProtect SDX.

The BDR 515 can backup Windows & Linux VMs and physical machines to the BDR appliance, which supports a concept known as instant recovery. A typical recovery is forced to wait until the damaged server is first repaired before you can even begin the actual restore. An instant recovery takes the latest backup of a server and presents it as a virtual image to your hypervisor, or runs the VM itself, which is the latest in backup technology. The BDR 515 runs the VM. The StorageCraft software requires client software in each VM; they will need to eventually support agentless backups inside VMware and Hyper-V.

The BDR 515 also supports replicating its backups to another location, which can be a private server or cloud-based VM – or a VM running in the ioSafe cloud. If it’s in a private server or cloud-based VM, IT planners will need to create a plan for transferring a large amount of data from the cloud location to the data center. If it’s a VM running in the ioSafe cloud, ioSafe will allow the organization to run the VM directly from their cloud, or ioSafe will copy the backup data to another BDR 515 and ship it to the data center.

StorageSwiss Take

While ioSafe & StorageCraft may not be the only vendors supporting instant recovery, they appear to be the only ones supporting it inside a system that can withstand both a data center fire and being doused with the sprinkler system it sets off. This would allow you to be up and running even immediately after a fire or flood, which allows you to continue your business while repairing the data center. Some day this may be how all restores will be done.

W. Curtis Preston (aka Mr. Backup) is an expert in backup & recovery systems; a space he has been working in since 1993. He has written three books on the subject, Backup & Recovery, Using SANs and NAS, and Unix Backup & Recovery. Mr. Preston is a writer and has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences around the world. Preston’s mission is to arm today’s IT managers with truly unbiased information about today’s storage industry and its products.

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