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Everyone loves to hate – BackUps

Backups are the bane of our existence in the datacenter.  They’re the operational process that everyone loves to hate.  Even worse, the constant change in the datacenter as new projects come along, data grows, and we retire old hardware cause the stability and performance of the backup environment to degrade.  Perhaps most important of all, the costs to support the backup environment just keeps going up.  The necessity for backups certainly seems to have no end in sight and the IT staff is caught in a never ending cycle.  All of this begs the question…how do we make this better?

The last several years have seen new technologies introduced that solve a lot of the traditional issues we see with backup solutions. Increasing backup windows, increasing tape storage costs, and saturated networks are common problems and can often be solved by adding new capabilities to the existing backup environment. Sounds great, right?

Disk-based backups bring new performance potential to a backup environment.  Tape-based backups are not only limited by the speed of the tape, but in many ways they are limited by the capabilities of the media itself.  The IT staff has had to juggle between “multiplexing” multiple jobs to a tape to reduce the backup window and increasing their restore times.  Disk-based backups allow for multiple jobs to run to a backup target with no need for multiplexing and no effect on the recovery time.

Tape has long been utilized for two major reasons: 1) cost and 2) mobility. Disk-based backup solutions are higher performing and solve our backup window issues, but the cost is higher and they’re not very mobile. Copying onto a tape after the original backup is completed doesn’t really help the rising costs of backup. To the rescue: deduplication and low-bandwidth replication.

Deduplication can take place either at the client, in the backup software itself, or at the backup target. Client-side deduplication reduces the amount of data being transmitted across the network. Backup software or target-side deduplication can provide additional value by deduplicating across multiple clients and backup jobs. Best of all, reducing the amount of data being backed up and the amount of data we store can reduce what needs to be stored at another site. Tape storage can be reduced or low-bandwidth replication to another backup target can remove tape from the picture completely.

Today, we’re hearing cloud with every breath we take.  Does it bring something to the table for backups?  Yes, it can.  Combined with disk-based backup and deduplication, cloud services can either provide the primary backup target or an offsite storage capability at a cost that is practical for many organizations.

Still sounds great?  I think so too.  But the RIGHT solution depends on the data you store and goals you need to meet.  OnX can help you determine what works best for you.  Talk to your account executive about our Backup and Recovery Optimization Discovery Workshop.  It’s a great starting point!!!

Karyl Miller, CTO Strategist, South Central, OnX

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