Last week, I took a look at the merits and pitfalls of
various backup media. The main area of concern was that some people may be
using unstable media like CD-R and DVD to back up important datathese media
can be a tempting resource for backups smaller than 10 GB due to their low cost
and fast access. However, the instability of the media (susceptibility to
rot) makes the chance of recovery at a later date uncertain. The traditional
media for long-term backup and archiving is, of course, the magnetic tapewith
a native capacity of up to 400 GB and a shelf life of up to 30 years, therereally is no more reliable safety net.
In recent years, there has been another backup and disaster
recovery solution which is becoming more popular. Online backup involves data
being sent to a remote site via the Internet. So how exactly does online backup
a leading online backup service provider do a very good job of describing theprocess:
agent is downloaded from the DPS website and Installed on the computer(s)to be backed up.
Central Control is installed on a Windows workstation to administer the
agents on local and remote computers. Using the Central Control, the
administrator selects what data to back up; frequency of backups; time ofbackups; and how long the backup is retained in our vaults.
the time selected, the agent compresses and encrypts the data, then
transfers it to the DPS primary data centre. The data is then backed up toa secondary remote data centre.
- If a
restore is needed, client uses the Central Control to select the data to
be restored and the backup to restore from and the restore process begins
immediately. The encrypted data is transmitted back to the computer wherethe agent decrypts and decompresses the data.
Thats all very well for restoring accidentally deleted
files, but what happens in a disaster if your building burns down? Most online
vaulting companies will offer emergency restores in the form of DVD media or amobile vault for large amounts of data.
The major advantage to online vaulting as opposed to the
traditional tape/offline vault seems to be that data is immediately available
for download, and small restores become much faster and cheaper because you
dont need to recall a tape from the vault. With Internet connectivity becoming
faster and cheaper by the day, online backups of some sort will probably become
the norm for many medium to large firms. It may never replace the process of
taking physical backups because people like to feel they have a real,
physical safety net; however, it is probably going to run along side on-site
backups, allowing easy recovery of files, while the physically vaulted media iskept for long-term archiving.
Does your company use online backup services? What issues
have you come up against? Do you continue to take hard backups along side theon-line backup?