Backup isn’t good enough anymore

Backup just isn’t good enough anymore. Restoring isn’t good enough anymore. Today’s users expect much more.

I’m a bit of an old fogey when it comes to backup. I made my first backup to a cassette tape attached to a TRS 80 and I made my first professional backup to a nine track tape attached to an AT&T 3B2. I remember doing incremental backups to a QIC-80 tape drive that held 80 MB of data, and switching to an exabyte 8200 8 mm tape for full backups. TRS 80’s were some of the first personal computers and the AT&T 3B2 was the first system specifically designed to run UNIX. I’ve done a lot of backups in my time. Just saying.

That history is relevant because I can tell you about a time when customers of backup systems were happy to ever get their data back. It was a different time when backup systems were much slower and user expectations were much lower. Then came the Internet.

Seemingly overnight, users of systems that would tolerate an entire day of downtime suddenly cannot tolerate a few minutes of it. There is no such thing as off-hours in an Internet-based business – and what business isn’t an Internet-based business in today’s economy?

This means it’s no longer good enough just to copy the data to another location and eventually bring it back from said location if something were to happen to the original. Today’s customers expect zero downtime and a single outage can create a worldwide embarrassment via Twitter and Facebook. As a result, today’s system and database administrators expect zero downtime. This is why backup and restore is no longer good enough.

Today’s systems need to be able to immediately recover from an outage. If a primary storage system is taken off-line, it needs to be able to be replaced immediately by a replicated copy. If you’re using virtualization – and who isn’t – the virtualization system needs to be able to understand that its primary data store has moved somewhere else. The storage system needs to cooperate with the virtualization system so everybody is aware of what is happening from a data protection standpoint. That way when an outage happens you can recover from it almost immediately.

In our upcoming webinar, Is Your Storage Ready for Disaster?, we’ll talk about how important it is to recover from an outage almost immediately, and how many of the systems such as array-based replication and cloud-based backup art really up to the job. Join the team from Storage Switzerland and our guests from Tintri Systems on February 22nd at 1:00 p.m. Eastern / 10:00 a.m. Pacific, as we discuss this important topic.

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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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One comment on “Backup isn’t good enough anymore
  1. That makes sense…its all about the recovery

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