Building a better business backup system

Backup may never be fun, but it is becoming more affordable, automated, and painless.

By Elsa Wenzel, PC World |  On-demand Software, Backup & Recovery, cloud storage

Staff members were supposed to rotate the drives daily away from the office, but sometimes forgot to do so. Data could be overwritten accidentally or left vulnerable to theft or natural disasters. As the data grew, backups became more and more sluggish, so fewer records ultimately ended up stored on the drives.

The inconvenience turned into a crisis when a late-season snowstorm caused power surges and damaged the company's server, despite UPS protection. A data rebuild cost Blue Sky half a day of operations.

The Solution

Anchor Network Solutions stepped in to establish a more reliable, automated disk-based system that sends data to a distant data center each night. It bought a Zenith Infotech backup and disaster-recovery appliance, offering it to Blue Sky in an Anchor-branded, hardware-as-a-service arrangement. The equipment is essentially a white-label network-attached storage drive.

Point-in-time backups restore data as often as every 15 minutes into a virtual server environment and provide business continuity. Blue Sky relies on an onsite Dell PowerEdge Server running Microsoft Small Business Server. But if that fails for whatever reason, within 45 minutes the company's 15 users can keep the business running on a virtual server built from the most recent backup, instead of shutting down while waiting for replacement parts.

Anchor Network Solutions backed up its client's server data, including all Microsoft Exchange mail as well as Word, Excel, and PDF files. Most crucial to protect was Blue Sky's SQL-based business application, Successware, which manages appointments and client records--the heart of operations.

The entire project took about 4 hours to set up without downtime; a single server reboot happened after-hours. In addition to a $600 setup fee, ongoing monthly costs of several hundred dollars maintain the backup and recovery system.

The Outcome

The new system relieved staffers of responsibility for backup, freeing them to focus on their core jobs. Most important, the business continuity enabled by the tech overhaul enabled Blue Sky to work on its own timeline rather than leaving it vulnerable to unanticipated disasters.

These days, if a server acts up, it won't force work to shut down. In the past, such an event could have cost thousands of dollars, preventing the company from servicing customers while still having to pay employees at the same time. Now, even if a server outage occurs, the company can dispatch plumbers and heating and air-conditioning technicians to customers as normal.

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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