Back up your damn data!

Cloud and VM-based data remains unprotected for no good reason

In the 'No Duh' file for Monday is part of Symantec's annual report on disaster recovery, which found that cloud- and virtual-server infrastructures make disaster recovery plans more complicated and more expensive.

The problem is not that the DR requirements are more complex with cloud and virtual servers involved, it's that both technologies are supposed to simplify and bulletproof IT (in the minds of the business-unit managers and CFO) so budgets and time for DR are often inadequate.

Sixty percent of virtual servers aren't covered in DR plans, compared to 45 percent last year, and 44 percent of data on VMs is unprotected.

Backups happen weekly or less often for 82 percent of respondents and expected downtime per incident is more than two hours per outage. That's actually better than the four hours people expected last year, but it still sucks pretty firmly.

These are virtual servers; you can move them around. You can get them to back each other up. You can copy them like files and store them on disk.

Doooooo it.

According to Jason Donahue, CEO of Acronis, the desktop backup-and-restore vendor, which now offers business services and cloud-based storage, half of customers don't backup data to the cloud.

They back up data to disk, then backup the backup onto the cloud, so they have a copy offsite.

Copying a couple of hundred Mbytes or a Tbyte up through limited-bandwidth Internet connections can take anywhere from hours to days.

About half of Acronis customers take advantage of a service that offers a free hard drive onto which users can back up the servers Acronis will protect, and overnight it to Actonis' facility. That lets them back up just the data that changes -- a fraction of what it would be otherwise.

The point is that cloud is not a solution. More VMs are not a solution. Mirroring one VM to another, especially on the same physical host, is not a solution.

Backing up your data -- even your virtual data -- is the solution. Not doing it is just stupid.

Also, brush your teeth, tuck in that shirt and get a haircut. And get off my lawn.

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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