Best practices to leverage offsite disk based backup and recovery solutions

by Patrick Redknap on December 19, 2013

tapeDespite advances in offsite backup and recovery technologies, many organizations continue to rely on tape or removable media storage for backup files. This approach has traditionally been the most “affordable” in terms of out of pocket expense for smaller firms to assure backup files are available for recovery. And changing your offsite backup strategy can seem like a hassle since existing habits require change. But as data growth continues to accelerate, maintaining tape and/or removable media for storing backups becomes more costly for companies in the long run due to reliability issues, manual steps to manage the process, and costs associated with physical data transport and storage of the offsite media.

In most cases, you can’t verify that the data you’ve backed up is reliable and has not been corrupted. It’s simply too difficult to test your backups. Another major concern is that recovery from an outage or disaster from tape or removable media is typically very slow, requiring days and even weeks to fully recover. Many businesses could not survive this kind of a “recovery.”

Offsite disk based backup and recovery solutions for virtual environments, on the other hand, offer many more options that are more efficient and less costly. Disk based backup and recovery processes are completely automated. After initial setup, IT administrators can quickly and easily backup and recover everything from full Virtual Machines to granular data such as emails. Disk based backups can be more readily tested to verify proper copying of files using features such as Instant VM Recovery and VM replication from backup data.
Options for disk based backup include hardware appliances that replicate backup data to a similar appliance in another datacenter.

In the case of PHD Virtual Backup and Replication, you can use the built-in software archiving feature, which can copy backups and automate long-term retention enabled by its global deduplication structure. Direct cloud storage access is an advanced option to consider as well, even if it is just for a small portion of the environment. Today, many solutions are writing backup data to the cloud, including PHD Virtual. Just be sure to understand the recovery process. If you have to bring all backups back to local disk before recovering anything from the cloud, then you haven’t improved on one of the main drawbacks of tape – slow recovery times.

Regardless of how you choose to use disk based backup, you should make sure your offsite solution supports automated long-term retention with deduplication across all backup sets. This will help you avoid excess requirements for offsite storage and reduce the bandwidth necessary to transmit backup copies offsite.

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