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A quick guide to data center backup in Elk Grove
Although increasing numbers of SMBs are giving up private data centers in favor of the public cloud, the data centers which do still exist need to be maintained appropriately. This includes making sure that they are appropriately backed up. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to data center backup in Elk Grove.
Data center backup means backing up physical assets as well as digital ones
If you’re running your own data center, then you’re either buying or leasing your hardware, which means that you need to think about how you are going to manage hardware failures. Even if your hardware is under warranty or leased, meaning that it’s someone else’s responsibility to deal with faults, you still need to think of the practicalities of managing without the relevant piece of hardware until it is swapped out/repaired.
For the sake of completeness, managing your physical assets will depend on knowing what they are, hence the importance of effective inventory management and a robust change-management process.
Configuration data can be as important as business data
Your digital assets will almost certainly include operating systems and applications as well as business data. In principle, there’s nothing to stop you installing off-the-shelf solutions from scratch and in practice, this can be a reasonable strategy in some situations. If, however, you’ve spent a lot of effort configuring your operating systems and applications and/or you have customized solutions, then it can make a whole lot of sense to back up the configuration data.
Similarly, if you’re running virtual machines, then it’s usually a good idea to back up the details of the host and management console as well.
The better organized your business data is, the easier it is to back up
Ideally, what you would like is to be in a situation where you can recover your data by bringing whole servers online one after the other. This is entirely possible, but it means actively managing your data to the point where everything in your production systems is not only clean and relevant but also segmented in a way that expedites your recovery process.
Any data which is not actively in use should be either deleted or archived, usually in that order of preference. If, however, you’re stuck with a pile of “legacy” data which nobody seems to want but nobody is prepared to delete, then archiving it is often the pragmatic compromise.
Your choice of data center backup management software is crucial to your success
Hardware-based solutions and cloud-based solutions (Backup-as-a-Service) can be good choices for businesses with fairly light needs. They are both simple and convenient but these days BaaS tends to be more popular as it eliminates the concerns about hardware failure. Most businesses, however, even SMBs are going to need either software solutions or hybrid solutions (which are part software and part BaaS).
It’s important to test any solution thoroughly yourself before committing to a purchase. Just reading online reviews is not enough, even if they include the results of hands-on testing. Reputable software vendors will allow an evaluation period for potential buyers to do just that. The industry standard is 30 days and while this may sound like a lot, it can evaporate surprisingly quickly so it’s very advisable to have a testing plan in place before you download it.
Your choice of storage is extremely important
In theory, hard drives should be the best all-round option because they offer decent read/write speeds at a cost-effective price. The problem with them is that they are notoriously prone to failure. This is bad enough for local data backups and even more of a concern if you need to transport them to an off-site storage facility.
Similarly, in theory, SSDs are a great option as they are as fast as it gets (for now). The problem with them is that they are also as expensive as it gets (for now). Also, while they are much more robust than mechanical hard drives they are still vulnerable to failure and when they do fail it is very difficult (and expensive) to recover data from them.
In the real world, therefore, tapes still tend to be the preferred option due to their cost-effectiveness and robustness. The main problem with them is that they are slow. In fact, they can be painfully slow by modern standards, but this issue can be alleviated by running the data through an SSD buffer first to clean and decompress it before it is stored on the tape.
For off-site storage, you need to decide whether your priority is the security of physical media or the convenience (and speed) of the cloud.
If you’d like to speak to a reputable and experienced data center backup partner in Elk Grove, please click here now to contact Salient IT.