Dangers of Outdated Backup Solutions

By Ritchie Fiddes, Sales Director, Backup Technology

February 05, 2010

Time is money and those who waste time and money will soon find themselves out of business. One of the factors that can waste both your time and your money is the use of outdated backup technologies. So, if the enterprise is still using outdated backup technologies, it needs to heed the dangers and risks associated with it.

What are the dangers of outdated backup solutions? With the growth of data volumes, organizations have come to the realization that outdated and traditional backup strategies no longer meet their data protection, service level or cost structure requirements. A fundamental data backup paradigm shift is the demand of the day! Businesses need data on demand, and the data life cycle management must take into consideration this information on demand environment while defining data backup protocols and technologies. Secondly, the data backup solution must enable customer comply with the increased regulatory scrutiny governing the management of data that is archived or stored in servers for instantaneous access. Security of data, management of data and disposal of data are concerns that cannot be addressed by outdated data backup solutions and therein lay the dangers of using outdated backup solutions.

Historically data was backed up with an intention to prevent data loss and for disaster recovery. Large amounts of data backed up into arrays of tapes or disks took hours or even days to backup or restore and that came at the cost of loss of business time. The growing globalization of economies does not permit enterprises to remain offline for days or even hours at a time. The amount of data that was generated then and is being generated now is also volumetrically different and bottlenecks in data backup or restore can be crippling. It follows that data backup applications must backup more data in less time.

Early data storage methodologies required data to be backed up into a local or a central server and local file stores were used to store almost all data of the enterprise. Access to this data was via a LAN that used common IP network protocols like NFS, FTP, CIFS.  Backup applications made incremental copies of the data directly to a local tape drive in this scenario and the network was not used for local data transfer. However, these systems are extremely vulnerable and subject to all the restrictions and limitations of the enterprise wide network. The limitations include limitations in the number of tape drives in the tape library; limitation of the number of I/O channels in a server; limitations of scalability of backup applications and inability to keep all tape drives streaming in parallel.

Modern enterprise wide backup technology allows disparate enterprise wide clients to automatically move the backup data via a network to a tape drive(s) connected to a backup server, so that, automated tape libraries can backup multiple clients in parallel. Also, online backup comes in handy to automatically backup ever growing data. Data de-duplication, data replication, data mirroring and cloud backups make for redundancy of data backups that can be performed during the run time of the business. This also makes for high availability and instantaneous restore while the business is in operation. Disaster recovery and business continuity are instantaneous and there is no loss of time or money during the process. These systems also lower administrative costs and infrastructure costs.

In short, modern data backup solutions are designed for handling large volumes of data backup and restore; to lower total cost of ownership by maximizing storage infrastructure utilization and reducing administrative costs of backup and restore operations. They make a directional effort to limit the reliance offline backup systems that make data life cycle management a nightmare and data restoration and business continuity a long drawn process.

About the author: Ritchie Fiddes is Sales Director at Backup Technology, a UK based data backup company specialising in business continuity.

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