Disaster Recovery

Pros and cons of remote data backup service

Remote data backup service has been around for several years. This IT Manager has never had a need to consider it seriously until recently. We are updating our disaster recovery plan and looking into remote data storage options. When we sat down and ran the numbers, we were amazed at how expensive it is compared to the value returned.
Are you frustrated with your backups and tired of hassling with tapes?

That's the title of the e-mail I received from a new breed of companies that are jumping onto the bandwagon offering remote data backup and disaster recovery services. The sales guy is aggressive and has called several times asking if I have reviewed their service offerings and the quote they sent me.

Frankly, I don't get it. Why would we want to pay $600 a month to tie up our T1 every night blasting Gigabytes of our data to somebody else's server? I back up the same stuff every night to disk and to tape. They promise a 3-7 day turnaround time to get our data back. Are they kidding?

They offer more expensive services that promise faster turnaround time. For $999 a month, they will provide an on-site data appliance with data recovery in only 4 to 48 hours. For just $3,299 a month they will guarantee a "bare metal" recovery using the appliance and their expertise at $225 an hour.

Maybe you could help me out. I trust my Tech Republic readers much more than I trust this naive sales guy. Am I missing something? Are there other companies that are doing this successfully? I can't imagine anyone willing to fork over that kind of money each month for next to nothing in return.

Here's why they say I should use their service:

  1. No user intervention. No tapes, no CDs, or other local storage required.
  2. The data is safely off-site without having to manually take a tape somewhere.
  3. Multiple locations for storing the off-site data - in case of single site failure.
  4. Only backs up incremental changes after the initial backup.
  5. Stores up to two weeks worth of nightly backups off-site.
  6. Encrypts and compresses on-site before sending off-site via HTTP.

Here are some disadvantages I see:

  1. They say a T1 is sufficient bandwidth, I suspect the initial dump will be slow.
  2. How will this affect remote sites and remote users who VPN in through the T1?
  3. Other than the encryption, what guarantees that our stored data will be kept private?
  4. What happens if we lose the encryption password or the encryption process fails?
  5. When I need to recover data, will it be on tape, external disk, or over the Internet?
  6. The remote backup service company could go out of business or raise costs.

Considerations:

  1. We have about 1TB of data on our servers, including SQL and Exchange Server.
  2. Our critical data has been tagged and the backup set is down to less than 400GB.
  3. We already have a two-step backup procedure in place - to disk and then tape.
  4. We store four weeks of tapes in a local vault and take one tape a week off-site.
  5. When I need to restore data I am able to do it from disk in minutes, not days.
  6. This small local company has no track record. They compete with Iron Mountain.

My conclusion

I would be a fool to take this kind of proposal in to management as something they should seriously consider. Our current backup plan is adequate and provides for quick and easy restoration of data. Should we lose a critical server, we have a spare on site, already configured with SQL server. It could be configured and the data transfered from backup in less than four hours. If needed it could also be configured as an Exchange server. We do not have continuous data protection but our business does not require that kind of backup. A data restore from the previous night's backup is sufficient.

50 comments
pete_heylin
pete_heylin

Here are some disadvantages I see: 1. They say a T1 is sufficient bandwidth, I suspect the initial dump will be slow. The initial dump when choosing remote data backup should be done using an external disk. The company you choose should provide this service. Most good backup companies do. 2. How will this affect remote sites and remote users who VPN in through the T1? Following the initial dump, later backups are incremental and therefore only the changes are backed up. 3. Other than the encryption, what guarantees that our stored data will be kept private? The fact the data is encrypted means that only you can read your data. The staff in the backup company cannot see it as they do not have the decrypting key. 4. What happens if we lose the encryption password or the encryption process fails? If you lose the encryption password, your data cannot be recovered. Good backup companies will advise that this code be safely stored. 5. When I need to recover data, will it be on tape, external disk, or over the Internet? Small restores can be done over the Internet in minutes or even seconds. Larger restores would mean the data is placed onto an external disk. Good backup companies would use same day or next day delivery services from the courier depending on the time of day the call for the data came through. 6. The remote backup service company could go out of business or raise costs. Good backup companies have Indemnity insurance guaranteeing that in the event of liquidation, your data would remain secure in the Data Centre and could be retrieved. I hope this increases your confidence in remote data backup. I am a great believer in remote data backup as the future of data protection.

jelcik
jelcik

So like a few others here that have posted I too work for a Company that does Disaster Recovery, we offer three Tiers of Backing up your data. Now I am not the sales guy, I am the tech and have been involved in countless Installs. I have tested many products and have configured many others. My words of advice to you are this. TEST IT, I'm not going to name names or say what application is good or bad, but I will say this, If they start talking about baremental restores, and restoring to different hardware and we will have you up in an hour. Test it out, any company that knows what they are talking about will have no problem with you doing a test. But don't take it easy on them, Tell them you want to do a full test from backing up your entire server and seeing just how fast they can have it back up to different hardware. You do that and you will quickly find out how good they are and how long they have been around to know what is going to happen. I've seen restores go from super smooth to wow that took forever. We all know that what won't happen will happen and what could happen will probably never happen again. Its the IT world and thats why you always need to know what you could and probably will see. I have talked to several Sales guys and they swear up and down that you can do a baremental backup of an exchange server and restore it and Wham be back up and running in no time, the truth of the matter was after talking with their techs was that Their Version of a baremental backup was nothing more then a system state, which means you still have to Install the OS, do a system State Recover, reinstall the applications, and then restore the data. Oh and if its a exchange server, i'm willing to bet the information store isn't going to come up and clean and dandy. Now its not to say it won't but make sure the company you are thinking about going with knows what to do when the Exchange store won't mount. My two cents.

nojlb8
nojlb8

My company provides this kind of service and it has been very well received. Mind you, our QoS and turn around is in minutes, not days and at a fraction of that cost. I recommend a DSL via Pix to cut the bandwidth cost and always differential over incremental. One corrupt incremental and all your subsequent backups are scrap.

christa
christa

I have to disagree and agree with you on this one as I have several clients that have benefited from this setup. This may not be beneficial to a large IT firm with in an in house IT staff but for the small to medium sized guy it is wonderful. You just set it and forget it, Like Ronco baby. I will give you multiple reasons this works: People who run a business can barely run their PC's let alone a backup. They say, "What is that?", without fail almost every time. And if they say they ARE backing up I can bet you they most likely are not. Also, there is theft, fire, and tape or hardware failure. I had a client JUST last month that had not backed up since they opened the business and I have been pressing them to get something for over a year. I had a feeling the last time I was in to set them up with a free trial of the offsite backup. Well my gut feeling paid off for the next week they were robbed of EVERTHING. Their PC???s, monitors, all peripherals, software, credit card statements and check, EVEN the broadband modem. They had nothing backed up EXCEPT, what I had setup on the offsite backup. It can be pricey if you have a lot of data, but if you shop around you can find an affordable solutions.

diceman70
diceman70

Well, as I see it, remote backups are best suited for small to medium business with champaign needs on a beer budget. If the company can afford a staff of techs who can keep things running, they should be diligent enough to have multiple layers of data protection. A lot of small businesses can't afford the investment for the equipment or the staff to take care of those needs, but if something happens to their data, their business risks a fatality. Tapes suck, they always & they always will. As a consulting company, the first thing we do is get the tape drives for the customers & replace them with RAID arrays if they don't want to use our offsite service. High capacity tape systems are expensive, & highly unreliable. My company offers a secure offsite backup that bests all the competition & answers several of the problems the author brings up. Is it an answer all...no. But, it fits the needs of the small business owner perfectly. First, we don't install any software on the network computers that need to be backed up. Therefore, there is no chance for system problems or conflicts to come from our backup service like could happen with software-based servics. Second, we always use an onsite backup appliance that keeps complete copy onsite for quick restores & immediate access. Third, the data sent offsite uses UNIX instead of Windows for stronger encryption (1024-bit as a minimum) & less network vulnerabilities. E-mails are sent letting a small list of people know the backup took place, & if there was any data corruption or transmission interruption. If so, the data can be resent because it's still safely backed up onsite in the appliance. Fourth, we restore the data without the extra expense. The only time we change any fees for data restoration is if we have to do data "recovery" on the customer drives or media. Our backup appliances have DVD burners in them & if the customer inserts a disc, we can burn their information onto it, or transfer it back through the network to the appropriate machine if granted access. Fifth, since we always use the onsite appliance, data gets backed up even if the Internet connection is down. It may not go offsite that time, but it's still backed up. If the network is down with the other companies, the backup can't take place. Fifth, security. There are only 2 company officers who know the access to the offsite data servers & we have them locally in our office, not farmed out to another location. Addressing the network usage concern is not really something you can quibble over. Either the remote service fits your business model or it doesn't. If your network needs full bandwidth all the time, perhaps a subnet & second T1 circuit could be utilized. 1TB of data isn't feasible to backup offsite unless you have dedicated fiber connections & if you can afford that, the monthly fees are nothing more than an extra tax deduction you probably need. After all, what is a business without its records & data? Just an endnote, if the author were taking care of a medial facility, HIPAA would require his data to be backed up offsite. Taking tapes offsite is a breach of security & not allowed under HIPAA regs. What happens if the person taking the tapes home is mugged or becomes a disgruntled employee? It must all be done hands-free.

JCitizen
JCitizen

The interest is phenominal despite security and privacy concerns. Pricing hasn't chased away too many people yet either. Good article; now I got something to point people to and an excuse to get them to join Tech Republic! Keep up the good work guys and gals!

mowens
mowens

My company is thinking of this and I told them no matter what they tell you it is not secure, someone can always hack into it even their own employees who they say can't even see the data through the encryption. Anything can be hacked. It costs to much for to much down time. It is to slow to have something restored from someone else when you can have it restored in less than 15 minutes depending on what you are having to restore. I feel that all remote backups are a bad idea no matter what.

charles
charles

At my company we use both an external HD backup that can be grabbed and run with in case of a disaster (Read the SoCal fires of 07) as well as an offsite remote backup solution. Yes, the initial dump took a very long time, but each subsiquent backup takes almost no time because it is only uploading the changed data. We also have a T1 connection and while we do notice some performance degridation, it is acceptable. The remote company we use offers either internet restoration of the data, or they can overnight you a DVD set of your data. We did have some problems with their service in the begining, but they have since been bought out by a larger company and their support department has become much better for it. The cost is actually relativly low, but I cannot quote you the exact costs because that is handled by our ACCT depoartment.

teeeceee
teeeceee

I am being hammered by an Iron Mountain rep as of this post. We are already running off site tramsmission of backups to a remote server housed locally across town, at our printer and server support vendor's office, in a secure server room. Our data push on a T1 (1.3 gig of compressed encrypted data) takes 3 1/2 hours on average, nightly. The cost of doing business with our model, hardware, software, and all is a lot less than what the backup services want to charge, per month. We do not have a cave to put our server in, but short of nuclear war, I think storing data in an abandoned iron or coal mine shaft is overkill for our organization.

TheSwabbie
TheSwabbie

Yes, alot of pro's and con's. And just as many different vendors and programs. Besides our core business we have started a business providing this service. Note that I said service, this is the primary focus of our business. We know there are tons of companies out there begging you to put your data up on their servers from the freebies to the ones that want you to take out a 2nd mortgage. The biggest benefit of online storage of your backups is disaster recovery. Should something happen at your primary site - you are covered. Of course this also depends on the online backup software and how many revisions (backups) you are keeping. We offer our customers the extra service of burning their data to DVD/CD if they need it ASAP to recover a down server. We can have it burned and sent via courier or Fedex, UPS ...whatever. If its just a few files then they can recover them pretty quickly. Our online software doesnt take up much bandwidth because it uses fastbit technology. Dont confuse with incremental, not the same. The initial backup might take 24 hours... unless we do a manual process and put it on our servers then the fastbit takes over from there and then it only takes a short time thereafter. Remember, there are ALOT of different vendors - they arent all created equal. We can backup small to large businesses (even into the Terabyte range). At the far end (terabyte) point we utilize block level replication. The small and medium sized businesses use our Online backup solution. What alot of people dont understand is that online backups can be a primary backup and or a secondary backup for critical files. It can work in with a DR plan very nicely in many aspects. Having been a Network Engineer/Admin/Analyst for many, many years...I've seen alot, this is exciting and a very useful and valueable service! Jim.

dgudek
dgudek

I stumbled on a site that showed a good deal of promise. I too have gotten sales calls from the off-site backup places, $25 a gig, $30/gig etc.. Its way too costly, and although the Disk-to-Tape is cheaper and reliable. I don't like the random failures and cryptic errors you get. The site i stumbled on was http://3x.com/. Its a server-like appliance that does remote-backups. You would do the initial backup with it on the local network (to make the initial faster) and then you move it off-site and it does incremental backups. If you have to restore - you can do small restores over the web, but for a large restore, you would want to bring the appliance back to the office. This would get rid of the tapes issue which i have to replace every year. And i don't have to worry about the fire-proof safe failing, or a magnet passing by erasing data. The unit is somewhat pricey, but its a start-up with a ton of promise. One thing it doesn't do yet, but will do soon, is mailbox level backups. It can only restore an information store (not john smith's applications folder in his mail box) but its on the way. They offer it to IT providers too - they purchase the unit and sell space on it at a cheaper rate monthly for clients. but you're better off buying your own if your a medium sized business.

jmcaloney
jmcaloney

I come from a bigger shop (100+ users), and now work as an independent with very small shops (1-40 users). They knew that their plan to backup manually to cd's or tape or even flash drives was not getting it. No staff member would consistently switch the tape and take it off site. But when I looked at the "big" offsite storage machines I had the same misgivings I've seen here. So I do ssl ftp backups to my server every night. My legal exposure is huge, but my customers are happy. Where there is any willingness inhouse to handle it, we use a combination of external usb and offsite. One thing I didn't see mentioned about tape is the requirement (in the case of fire or physical destruction) to first find a compatible tape drive to restore with.

james
james

If you require insurance against total site loss then a remote data backup solution makes sense - however, don't be fooled that this will get you up and running again quickly. For a full DR solution you need to be replicating at the application level to remote servers using SQL Log Shipping or for Exchange something like Neverfail or Double take. Relying on local off-line servers does not protect you against all eventualities. The cost of remote data centre hosting and links depends on many factors but in my experience can work out cheaper than a remote backup solution especially when amortised over the longer term and will give you much more flexibility.

terry
terry

I use www.datashoot.com at .50 per gig it is hard to beat

reisen55
reisen55

Given exposure on the internet and HIPAA results which many of my accounts must deal with, I am by nature totally against remote backup. Too many problems or potential ones, within and without. I am also against tape backup as well - dead technology. Targeted critical data ONLY - just the data and any anciliary files that MUST accompany it for the backup and keep everything else off the list, and backup to a hard drive or array thereof and keep THAT ready to rollover fast.

TCG Inc.
TCG Inc.

I have recently started using Carbonite's services (www.carbonite.com), which works very well for me. I'm not sure if it would be a viable solution for larger companies, but for my business it works great. One of the main reasons I went with an online solution was to be able to have access to my data no matter where I am in the Internet world. All I need is a computer with Internet access, and I can have my data very quickly, depending on what I'm after. I highly recommend Carbonite's service...and at $50/year for unlimited data backup, it was a no-brainer for me!

TechrepLath
TechrepLath

You asked:"What am I missing?" Well, I think the consideration to take or leave this service comes solely from the total cost picture. The man hours managing the backup system can amount to a lot. Especially in larger organizations. I'm not familiar with your situation, but you should consider every cost aspect before calling this solution to expensive. I'm located in Europe, so my labor cost is quite a but higher than in the US. 90$ and hour would be about right. And don't forget to factor in the licensing cost of all the extra software for the backup servers and systems. Like I said, I don't know your situation, and I can't make the calculation for you, but 900$ a month, or even 3000$ a month doesn't sound like that much to me.

chris.green
chris.green

One comment I would make on the initial copy is that the companies I got quotes from to do this dont actually do the initial copy over your link they come in with a big hard drive and the subsequent backups over the link are incremental or differential

BBPellet
BBPellet

We use it, when you factor in cost of tapes, drives, cleaning, then the manhours loading and unloading, checking logs re-run of failed jobs...etc. It does pay for it self. $999/mo vs $ for 15 tapes a week + cleaning cartridges + 2 people at $28.00/hr to change tapes/check logs/re-run jobs the choice is very clear for us, plus it meets all regululatory compliances and we can restore in 4 to 24 hrs it works out well for our needs. We have taken a $250,000 per year task and reduced it to $11,000 a year for the same benefits. For us it was a no brainer. With respect to our restore we have our choice, CD, TAPE or online, all with in 4 to 24 hrs guaranteed!

tmalonemcse
tmalonemcse

We are considering using remote data backup services. That is where we send copies of our data to somebody else's server each night. It is supposed to remove the hassle of dealing with tapes. Of course this is done over a T1. I've investigated the pros and cons and listed some of them on this post: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/techofalltrades/?p=142 Do you use remote data backup services? Are they cost efficient and provide value for you?

TheSwabbie
TheSwabbie

Man, I totally agree with you. Our sales Engineers are good. They dont promise that stuff because we've trained them pretty good about what the systems can do and what they cant. The problem with sales people is they will SAY ANYTHING to get the sale and let the Techs figure out HOW to make it happen and pick up the pieces later when it does fall into place like its suppose to. Having been in IT for decades and have recoved more crashed servers that I really care to remember, I know there is NO WAY its going to come back up "bare metal" like that. Thats one of the first things I cautioned our SE's NOT to tell the customer. If a customer wants a "Complete" Disaster Recovery program, a Business Continuity Program, an Emergeny Measures Program - then we can assure them - but not unless they go through the steps. But, there are some tricks with Exchange using Exmerge where you can recover mailboxes for users instead of the just Global stores etc. Write me if you want some ideas :) (you might already know them) I dont mind sharing I dont believe you can test enough. We use VMWare to test all kinds of senarios, its easy and easy to blow stuff up and recreate it quickly. Otherwise you gotta build servers and reload them etc. With VMWare you just copy the silly machine and presto you are back in business with the same thing just like it was before you blew it up :) Jim

diceman70
diceman70

I agree with you 110%! I am not a fan of incremental backups for the reason you mentioned. Backing up all the data takes more time & more bandwidth usage, but what difference does that really make in the grand scheme of things if tomorrow they have to rebuild a server & all their data is trash? For some companies, that could be huge losses in revenue until they can reconstruct their information....IF they even could.

TheSwabbie
TheSwabbie

Since you are also in this business I have a question for you. Have you found that many people are not backing up AT ALL? Our sales engineers are telling us that about 60% of the people they are talking to arent doing ANYTHING at all! And, if they are its just burning some stuff on CD (Maybe) once in a blue moon and thinking they have a backup. The other is apathy - its basically "not interested" that is - until they loose everything then "HEY IM INTERESTED". Is it the same up in the land of ice and snow :) Jim

TheSwabbie
TheSwabbie

One word - WHEW! Did they give you a kiss for that one? They should have! :)

TheSwabbie
TheSwabbie

I'm sorry, I've got to call you on this. How can I see a customers data "Through" encryption? We do have a master key - but the customer has the option selection (and has been counseled) whether or not to allow us to be able to retreive data for them. Most Healthcare customers do NOT allow us to do this - thats fine. Others do not care, they just want to make sure that if their Network Admin takes off they can still get to the data. We have taken the trouble to make sure the data center is state of the art in just about every aspect, physical and virtual. Restore times are not that slow. AND - depending upon the SLA we have a customer we can burn their data to DVD/CD and drive it to them, Courier it to them, FEX EX whatever...we even have a server with an Array of disks that it can be restored to and IT can be shipped to them. IF they have such a catastrophic failure that their entire DC is down, it will take time to get new equipment ordered, shipped, loaded etc. The recovery system will be sitting at thier location within 24 hours. So, its not exactly as Slow, Insecure as you think it is. I was under some of the same misgivings when we started this business but I was happy to see this was not the case in all the cases.

JCitizen
JCitizen

hopefully no one reports you as spam. You have good information that needs to be input to the discussion.

mathew.gauvin
mathew.gauvin

I work for a small business as well. This is how we've handled backing up offsite. We've set up a small server offsite that is protected and set a batch script to upload the data at scheduled times. We also use physical cartridges to back up regularly as well so we have backups onsite if needed. All of the data is encrypted before transmitions and sent over ssl so we are comfortable with this. For a larger company with multiple sites, you may be able to utlize pieces of this. You could have parts of your backup scheduled for different times to distribute the load on your connection. You can transfer files from site to site so that each site's backup is stored in each other's location. Again, I'm not sure if this is viable, but for an inhouse solution that is "relatively" free vs. $900 /month, it may be worth looking into.

craigmcmurry
craigmcmurry

Being located in a hurricane region, I have witnessed first hand the total loss of infrastructure. What are you going to do when your tapes are 6 feet under water, or in a bank vault that you can't get access to, or at an employee's home which is unreachable? Remote data backup (Vendors: Iron Mountain's Live Vault Service for our SQL database and Backup Solutions for other critical files) is just one aspect of a backup/recovery plan which also includes backup to tapes, offsite storage of tapes, backup to disk (on-site) and the aforementioned remote data backup services. Shop around for cost per GB, retention time, restore time, and reliability. There is definitely a value in these services as part of an overall disaster recovery plan.

b_caisse
b_caisse

We have to look at the idea or issues with the smaller shops like JM has mentioned. The larger companies have a full time IT person to deal with their data and protection of assets. Smaller shops have a issue with just doing the company focus of day 2 day work. They do not see the importance of a disaster until it is too late. I now have a company called BackupPuppy.com (http://www.backuppuppy.com) that does this for my consulting clients for this very reason. My average client is 10 employees. They have "better" things to do than worry about items like: why did the backup not run or why can't I leave the tape in my car to take home. Best one was the dog didn't damage the outside of the tape . . . (just the slobber inside did the trick). Going back to the larger companies, this is not the solution that would work for them. Like it was mentioned: application, data and system replication is the key to being able to keep the large company running. We have to look at the needs of the client. Some can work for a few days without billing a job and others can't live without play Internet Hearts. You know that client/company.

joe
joe

Jason, I suggest you diligently read forum postss from users of Carbonite. It is not a pretty picture. They are for consumer, NOT business. I would'nt do biz with them for free. Plus,check thier financials, they are losing their shirt! Joe

ben.alao
ben.alao

An assessment of your business objectives vis-a-vis the value of your company's information assets could also guide your recommendations. For instant, for how long can your customers wait in the invent of an incident? While an in-house backup arrangement could seem okay for you, judging the present sanity you're enjoying on the IT infrastructure, the next few seconds can spell differently due to an unforseen catastrope. After the incident of the 9-11, the idea of online remote backup arrangement became useful to many IT departments. Howerver, cost analysis is sensible too, and you also need to know the capability of the proposed remote backup vendor. Also check out a few of their competitors for comparison.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Iron Mountain wanted to do the initial backup over the weekend or during slow hours. If the company is local, I'm pretty sure they can send someone out there with a HDD and do the initial backup.

TheSwabbie
TheSwabbie

In our business that is somewhat correct. It all depends on the customer. If they have 500GB, 1TB of data and its not a big deal to them for it to take a few days to get it up to the servers then we let it run. Our software does not hog bandwidth or throttle a server back. But, if the customer really wants to get his backups started and underway and doesnt have anything running currently, yes, we put an appliance (server) or whatever there and get the backup to it and get that to our DC. In the event that its an account far away we ship it to them and have them ship it back to us. Again, with fastbit technology, even if they miss 3 or 4 days backups after that, it only takes about an hour to catch up on everything. But it does depend on the online backup software.

chris.green
chris.green

We usually only offer this when a client wants offsite DR for their data and they A: Dont have enough money to spend on having hosted kit plus link etc or B: Are single site based so dont have a remote site they can use to backup to.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

If you don't have the staff and you want a sophisticated backup strategy, then yes, this makes sense. But if you already have the infrastructure in place going this route doesn't make sense. When you're dealing with hundreds of Gigabytes and even terabytes, this doesn't work. If you're in a critical business where your RTO is tens of minutes, this kind of service is hard to justify. I'm in the position where I evaluated Iron Mountain vs. our own solution (we currently don't have the infrastructure) and a home-grown solution payed for itself in less than a year. A decent IP SAN a backup server, a tape drive with tapes and software is all you need (along with an effective DR plan). I would suggest using the service to move your(encrypted) tapes to a secure location. Your data > money and if your company uses an armored truck to pick up money, it should use an equivalent service to pick up tapes and such. Offsite data in my opinion is reserved only for catastrophic loss. If the building caught on fire or a hurricane leveled it, then RTO means jack squat. However, if you had serious hardware failure or data corruption/loss, RTO is a huge factor. Management might have a problem with you saying, "It could take 12-24 hours to recover our EMR data." I only recommend that for mom and pop type shops. But then again, mom and pop shops should be using hosted services which have their own DR procedure.

alexisgarcia72
alexisgarcia72

why you have two users rotating tapes? purchase a tape robot with 16 tapes (i.e: quantum superloader) and backups will run smoothly for months. This units even have one slot for the cleaning tape and you only need to change it after some uses.... anyway you need to be worried about putting some tapes offsite, etc

akalinowski
akalinowski

if you are encrypting the data and have options. check out www.olivelabs.com

jserafin
jserafin

Our backup solution is a disk backup to two different vaults. We use to send our data off-site to a vendor, but found that the cost was enormous. Since then, we used the same technologies, however we do that in house. We use a solution called Evault. Basically we purchase the director license and the agent licences and create and administor everything in house. We backup SQL, Exchange, both database and mapi, Novell, Notes, and Windows OS. Our backups processes happen every night and are full backups. Our remote sites are backed up over our T-1 Circuits, and all backups are completed in a timely manner. We have been using this technology for about the last 5 years. Our retention cycles are above the norm, which include over 20 TB of backups. Evault has been a great success for our needs.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

Backup to USB hard drives mounted locally, then move them off site (we use two separate locations). The small, onesie-twosie restores can be done across the t-1 by simply hooking the drive up to any workstation at the remote location and accessing it via the administrative share.

brudab
brudab

From my limited perspective, I don't think the majority of companies need the features (no I won't say benefits) of such a backup plan. Maybe it'll be useful in a really specific scenario where the law or some extranneous circumstance requires backups to be automatically secured/stored offsite.

oz_cast
oz_cast

so bottom line.. is it a good idea to have a backup system online or not? if so which is the best one out there? oh what do you guys do about restoring a server? online backup services only backup your files not OS nor Installed Programs. any suggestions? Thanks

TheSwabbie
TheSwabbie

I hate being lied to by salepeople, I'm a tech. So, when I talk to people I am honest with them. Now that part of our business is doing this, I am more informed. When we started I had the same misgivings but soon disovered many of the things I had earlier took as a no-brainers - were not such no-brainers. I think the biggest thing was the size of the backups. I thought were going to be limited to small businesses. But, as I said, Terabytes are not out of the ball park for us now using the correct technologies. Then I thought it would be a bandwidth hog and kill connections (including my own!), I was proven wrong again and found it was very well managed and behaved. Then I thought it would take forever to get a backup done, then was informed about fastbit technology. Being an old gray haired IT Pro... All In all - Im now sold on it.

cpr
cpr

You may have a cheap backup solution, but if none of the original people are around to recover data - how easy/difficult is it? Can an ordinary person recover files? Or do you need a techie to do it?

jtakiwi
jtakiwi

We provide a service to our customers that gives them automated offsite backups, multiple incremental backups and standby hardware that can recvoer a completely down server within a few minutes to an hour or so (depends on how much data there is). As a bonus, the average annual cost for clients is about $6500 to protect 4 complete servers. www.realtime-it.com

BBPellet
BBPellet

Well 12-24 hours would be no loss in our shop. We used to use ironmountain....they just lost the tapes....they were encypted...but then someone lost the encryption key....so now we have our backup service handle it all....works out much better.

BBPellet
BBPellet

We have 2 30 tape autoloaders...still needs to be loaded and unloaded!!!!

TheSwabbie
TheSwabbie

Alot of people are doing that, not a bad idea. With USB drives getting to the TB range its a viable option, but somewhat risky because of the failure rates of the bigger USB drives (ive had a few fail). But for those that dont want, cant afford, or are not permitted to do anything else its a great idea. :)

JCitizen
JCitizen

TechRepublic has been having server problems lately and I didn't get my feed back, but I definitely can aspire to that, and thanks for the side commo!

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

and the USB drives we use are single drives, not raid. 500 gig. You can get up to 750 gig in a single drive unit. Once we need bigger than that, I'll probably go to raid5 NAS boxes.

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