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Tuesday, 23 September 2014 17:34

Multi-tier data protection a must


It's understandable that Mr and Mrs J Public can become confused about different types of backup, archiving and data protection - but it seems some IT pros might not be on top of the issue either.

Veeam technical director Charles Clarke (pictured) is promoting the idea of the 'data centre selfie' - a picture of how well prepared you are for various kinds of outage, including an inventory of all your systems.

"Data protection has to be multi-tiered," he told iTWire. A locally stored snapshot is a good starting point, but needs to be supplemented with a copy stored on different media and another stored elsewhere, perhaps in the cloud.

Just as cloning a personal computer's hard drive means the backup disk can be plugged into another computer for immediate use, a cloud-based copy of a snapshot opens the possibility of using the backup 'in place' - in a virtual machine hosted on the cloud provider's infrastructure.

Veeam's customers can easily make local backups allowing quick recovery from minor problems such as drive failures, and then stream the result to a cloud provider for use in disaster recovery situations or for development/testing use, he said.

The local backup is still important as it allows the quickest recovery to on-premises hardware, and as Mr Clarke pointed out, access to cloud services "isn't 100% infallible" thanks to incidents such as a backhoe slicing through a cable.

But the multi-tier approach provides "belt and braces" protection, and makes it possible to restore an entire data centre onto cloud infrastructure.

Veeam's software can perform a complete backup of an entire system, and then use deduplication and compression to make the overall archive smaller.

Users can then recover a complete system image for restoration, or just specific files, eg to restore an email that was inadvertently deleted.

Trying to retrofit a legacy backup system into a modern IT environment doesn't work, he suggested, pointing to the example of one organisation that tried to do just that and then discovered it took 11.5 hours to recover a single email.

That task could be done "in a couple of minutes" with Veeam, he claimed.

"Use the right tool for the job," Mr Clarke suggested.

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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