For years now people have been using 2 main technologies to back up their data, both of which are not really suited to the task:
Tape – has been around for over 30 years and has 2 main drawbacks.
Tapes are prone to fail, meaning that you have no backup and therefore no chance to recover the data. If it isn’t the tape that is the problem it’s the drive and the manufacturers only provide three years’ warranty on them for a reason. They break, jam, or just don’t work reliably.
Tapes also need to be managed, changed and taken offsite. This means using humans who tend to forget to order new tapes, forget to swap the tapes over and forget to take them offsite.
However, the biggest headache to tapes is how long it takes to recover the file that was lost or corrupted. It means running the software, finding the right tape, then finding the file, it’s just not particularly easy.
USB Hard Disks
USB Hard Disks – started to replace tape drives when the interface speed started to reach the point that you could back up a good size of data in the backup window, but still suffered from a couple of key problems.
To get a setup whereby you could have a decent backup rotation, so could go back a week to find the missing file, ended up being costly, With a tape drive you buy one expensive drive but the tapes are cheap. With a USB drive, the drives are all expensive, so the more you buy the more it costs.
As with tapes, the drives need to be swapped round, taken off site and then plugged back into the server. This is another area that used to be an issue, as you need to make sure the backup software can see the drive and the server hasn’t just allocated a different drive letter to it.
Cloud Backup – is the ideal antidote to all the problems above. You don’t have to invest in a hugely expensive tape drive or disks, the software backs up your data automatically, and that data is stored offsite in case of a disaster.
The secret is getting the right online backup, as there as other factors that you need to take into account. You need to find a solution that offers the following as a bare minimum:
- The company offers to take a seed of your data, to save the weeks of uploading that would normally be required to get your first backup stored in the cloud.
- The software will backup not just your basic user files but any databases you may have that may be left open overnight, your legacy exchange database being a prime example.
- The software stores not just the data but snapshots going back, preferably for weeks, so that you can recover that file to the state it was 2 weeks ago, when you know it was not corrupted.
- The software takes just block level changes to the files, so that you can get your daily backup done over an old ADSL line, because you don’t have Fibre Optic Broadband in your area yet.
- Finally the company will help you recover should you have a major disaster and you don’t just want to download all the data from a server somewhere, but need actual help getting your server back up and running again.
Online backup can not only provide a better solution to your backup issues, but can often work out more cost effective. By the time you’ve taken into account all the hidden costs, it may well worth taking the plunge right now.