Scaling Data and System Backup and Recovery

Businesses today rely on technologies to keep teams connected to the applications, data and devices they share. Many businesses are experiencing rapid increase in data volumes, resulting in additional challenges for their busy IT departments. In addition, IT administrators are tasked with meeting increasingly strict recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs), as well as seeking products to alleviate the workload and allow them to spend more time on strategic initiatives.

To address these challenges, IT organizations need a dynamic, scalable backup and recovery strategy. For example, many organizations rely on their off-the-shelf backup tool to protect a Microsoft Exchange server, Oracle database, LAMP stack, storage server and Active Directory. Over time, this same company may grow exponentially to include tens or hundreds of servers spread across various offices and remote sites.

The solution means leveraging products that scale to allow IT organizations to reap immediate benefits while managing growing volumes of information and meeting demanding Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

Centralized Administration: Data Management in Control

As the environment expands and becomes more complex, the challenge of protecting the data and systems increases. Along with redundant Active Directory and application servers, organizations require redundant media servers for storing data backups and system recovery points to achieve the highest levels of data and system protection.

To that end, backup and recovery tools must include the capability to synchronize and manage data backups on multiple media servers and provide a central point of administration and control for job processing and load balancing. Whether an organization has just three media servers or more than 100, a central administration capability is essential to manage data protection operations across the entire backup environment.

A scalable backup and recovery solution with centralized administration capabilities offer additional benefits to remote offices and departments, enabling administrators to continuously protect data from remote office servers to a central location at the corporate office, where data can be reliably backed up and stored. By eliminating off site tape backups and centralizing backups, IT organizations can minimize the costs associated with hardware, media and administration investments at these remote offices and departments.

Furthermore, new advances in backup are delivering LAN-free backup solutions that allow multiple distributed backup servers to centralize storage devices that are connected over a SAN for greater performance, efficiency, and fault tolerance. This helps lower the total cost of ownership. These solutions represent a groundbreaking innovation in manageability and performance for large-scale, high-end storage environments.

But does an off-the-shelf backup and recovery solution actually work in a large environment? Yes, according to the world’s most well-known software provider. For 14 years, this mega-company has used a highly scalable backup solution that can also be found in distribution channels worldwide. With this solution in place at 16 sites around the globe, the company backs up nearly 15 PB of data each month, manages 152 backup media servers, and protects nearly 6,000 servers and more than 20,000 resources. What’s more, their backup success rate is 96 percent.

Clearly, this demonstrates how off-the-shelf enterprise-class, scalable backup and recovery tools are accessible, simple to grow and effortless to manage.

Latest Technology: Systems that Make Sense When Protecting Data

Stricter RPOs and RTOs signal the need for a backup strategy that includes disk-based solutions, which are essential for meeting SLAs as it eases granular recovery and provides continuous data protection of critical data.

Advanced granular recovery technology enables businesses to quickly restore individual emails, files or documents from one backup pass. Continuous data protection complements granular recovery by continuously backing up transaction logs and assigning user-designated recovery points to eliminate the daily backup window. This goes a long way toward closing the gaps in protection associated with traditional full or incremental backups and enables organizations to meet demanding internal SLAs.

Additional disk-based backup and recovery tools can capture all server system files and configurations in one easy-to-manage recovery point file that is stored on a backup server’s disk storage.

At the same time, disk-to-disk-to-tape backup and recovery enables organizations to take advantage of the long-term archival and offsite storage benefits offered by tape backup. This is critical for all organizations as they must ensure that even as data volumes increase over time and must be archived, information is available for e-discovery and regulatory compliance purposes.

A growing number of disk-based backup and recovery tools also provide online backup and restore capabilities via Storage-as-a-Service or SaaS technologies. For small businesses or remote offices with limited or no IT staff on-site, this service saves time, resources and eliminates the headaches associated with tape-based backup by electronically sending backups to a secure offsite location where they are safe from hardware failure, malware and natural disasters.

Safe Growth: Optimized Recovery That Scales To Your Business

IT administrators must also recognize disaster recovery as an essential function in data protection and management tools for growing businesses.

The failure of just one server can result in the loss of sales transactions, employee productivity, production, email and other business data, and worse, the company’s brand and reputation. In fact, for every hour of IT system downtime, business pays a price.

For that reason, recovering systems from disaster is just as important as recovering data. Because few organizations have duplicate hardware on hand in case of server failure, it is imperative that system recovery supports dissimilar hardware and even virtual machines. Moreover, disk-based recovery offers faster restores than traditional tape-based tools, reducing recovery of valuable data from hours or days to just minutes.

Today’s data protection and system recovery tools provide solutions to the challenges that many companies face as they grow their business. However, selecting the right technology can help keep a business up and running. With advanced disk-based data protection solutions, organizations can feel confident that they are protecting their valuable data and systems they need today and into the future.

Jason Fisher is Director of Product Management, Symantec Data Protection Group

This story, "Scaling Data and System Backup and Recovery" was originally published by Symantec.

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