Why and How to Change Backup Solutions – Catalogic Briefing Note

Almost every organization is looking for a better backup solution. Given the number of new solutions that appear on the market, seemingly every day, IT needs to decide why they need to change backup solutions and then how to replace them. Most of the time, the motivation to change comes from trying to solve a particular problem; SharePoint, ransomware, virtualization, unstructured data backup, SQL table restores, etc. But, IT needs to be careful not to compromise on core data protection values like easy administration, reliability, fast backup and recovery, and quality technical support.

Why Change Backup Solutions?

Most organizations are very hesitant to throw out their entire backup infrastructure for a brand new solution. At a minimum, they need to keep one copy of the old system around for data retention purposes. Additionally, they will want the new system to prove itself before replacing the old system. In data protection, there is comfort in, “the devil you know.”

The primary changes organizations are looking for are improved protection of a particular platform or use case like better SharePoint or MS-SQL backups. Technologies, like block level incremental backups (a.k.a. change block tracked backups) which enable rapid and frequent backups of the environment, address many of these challenges. Another technology, rapid recovery, which enables the backup solution to present a protected version of the data directly to the application from backup storage, dramatically speeds recovery. It also extends the usefulness of backup beyond just the data protection use case. With rapid recovery, organizations can now leverage the backup for test-dev, reporting, and analytics.

There are many other capabilities that IT should look for, like ransomware protection, disaster recovery, cloud integration and either tape integration or tape replacement. Each of these has its own unique value to the organizations.

In the process, IT planners need to be careful not to take a checkbox approach to evaluation. For example, not all block level backup solutions are equal. Some are dependent on the underlying file system or operating system. Others have issues with scale, forcing more frequent consolidation jobs. The same goes for cloud integration. Some solutions merely use the cloud as a replication point, others can archive old backups to the cloud freeing up on-premises backup storage capacity and curtailing on-premises growth.

In With the New?

One of the challenges with “new” solutions, especially in terms of backup, is they are just that, NEW. The organization doesn’t have the experience to truly demonstrate a long-term track record of reliability or quality technical support. Sometimes solving backup problems requires a “historical” understanding of the process instead of merely going through a few training classes.

Re-Introducing Catalogic DPX

Catalogic DPX is a veteran of the backup software market, available for over twenty years. The software was one of the pioneers of block level incremental (BLI) backups and rapid recovery capabilities long before they became a trend. In addition to BLI and rapid recovery, the software has all the features expected in an enterprise backup application like the ability to support disk, tape, and cloud as backup targets, bare metal recovery, full NDMP support, object level recovery and detailed reporting.

Over the past few years, Catalogic, which has spent much of its development time on its well received copy data management solution, is now returning to its roots with a significant update to DPX.

Among the many new features and improvements within 4.5.1 is added NDMP support for Dell EMC’s Isilon OneFS cluster-aware backup of scale-out NAS solutions. It also updates support for various operating systems and features of those operating systems. For example, the 4.5.1 release is qualified for Exchange 2016 and SQL Server 2016 using the Resilient File System (ReFS) on Windows 2016. Catalogic has also added backup volume verification. After completing backups, each image is mounted and checked for file system integrity, ensuring that backed up data is restorable.

StorageSwiss Take

The backup is the foundation of any business continuance plan, and while, thanks to replication and other high availability methods, it may no longer be the go-to recovery option, it is always the last line of defense. Having a backup and recovery solution that the organization can trust is vital. Having one that provides advanced features that improve backup and recovery performance, verifies backup quality and limits the cost to store backup provides the organization with a competitive advantage. Catalogic more than meets the expectations in all of these areas while at the same time not sacrificing on the core values of easy administration, reliability, and quality technical support.

Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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Posted in Briefing Note

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