Do you really need a backup solution? (Don’t say ‘No’)

As you already know, a proper server ecosystem is vital to keep your business running smoothly. A backup solution is a necessity to make sure this is possible even when the worst happens.

All server backup software attempts to automatically save your data and restore it when necessary, although they work in different ways. This means that there are numerous options. Today, the doors are open to a number of different server solutions, such as your own personal servers, virtualization, and cloud computing.

Along with this change, there’s now also more to understand about the many different backup solutions. We’ll help you figure out what to focus on when you’re attempting to find the right backup server for your ecosystem.

Why do you need a server backup solution?

There are certain people today who don’t believe that a backup for their servers is important because they use a cloud-computing service that offers a robust backup solution. On its surface, this completely makes sense.

Why would you spend the extra time and money backing up your data when the cloud-computing service does it for you? Unfortunately, while cloud computing is generally very safe, it doesn’t completely protect you.

Looking at a report from software company Symantec, 47 percent of enterprises and 37 percent of small-to-medium-sized business have lost data in the cloud. Additionally, “the study found that 66 percent of organizations that experienced loss saw recovery operations fail.”

This study was performed in 2013, so while cloud-computing companies have greatly improved, there is still the possibility of losing your data in a number of ways, like viruses, malicious attacks, or user error.

If your company chooses not to work in the cloud or use a hybrid cloud approach, maintaining your own servers also comes with its specific difficulties. For example, your servers cannot last forever and certain components will wear out, so a backup solution is even more vital for when these situations inevitably happen.

Of course, with cloud services, you won’t have worries about your machine wearing down. However, with your own servers, you do have more control as long as your team has enough experience and knowledge.

If you either employ a hybrid approach to cloud computing or put all of your information on your own servers, you know that backing up data is not the only important function. Beyond making sure no important data are lost, you have to also avoid the loss of productivity.

Without a good backup solution, you could potentially lose days or weeks of business while your servers aren’t properly functioning, on top of the costs to fix the server issue.

Because you need a backup solution that both protects your data and helps you get up and running immediately, it’s important to choose one that fits well with your particular server environment.

How to determine your server strategy

Backup solutionYou’re going to have to look at a few different things, such as server type (simple storage servers, database servers, etc.), storage volume, your tolerance for downtime, and budget.

Storage volume

When thinking about how much data you’ll need to store, you, of course, need to account for what you have now, but you also have to take data growth and your hardware’s life-cycle into the equation.

On average, your company’s data will increase by about 40 percent each year and the average server hardware’s life cycle is between four and five years. Taking these two factors into consideration, determine your current data needs, then account for 40 percent yearly growth over your hardware’s five-year life cycle of your hardware.

Using this, you can understand approximately how much space you’ll need for a full backup of your servers. With this approach, it’s better to round up than to round down. From here, you need to decide how to allocate the server storage; this will vary based on your particular needs.

Then, you can decide if you’d like to back up to a physical server or use a cloud provider. When deciding between these two, it’s important to consider the knowledge of your team and your budget. Adding more physical servers can greatly increase your cost, but with knowledgeable admins, you will have more control over your data.

Downtime tolerance

If your server does fail for whatever reason, how quickly do you need it up and running again? This changes the type of backup server you should look for.

If your data is constantly being updated and you can afford a longer amount of downtime, an incremental backup strategy is probably right for you. What happens with these types of backups is that, first, they perform a full backup of your servers. After this initial full backup, they only update the changed files. You can set this to perform very regularly and quickly, hence why it’s great if your data frequently changes.

However, restoring this data takes much more time than some other options because you have to reload the data from each restore point in the correct order. Additionally, it is slightly riskier because if something goes wrong at one of the earlier restore points, the future ones might not function correctly.

If instead, you need your data to be recovered as quickly as possible, a differential backup strategy is likely a better choice for you. This one backs up all files that have been changed since the last full backup. This is a slight but important difference from the incremental backup strategy.

This means that if you need to restore your data, you’ll need the one full backup and the most recent differential backup (which includes all changes since the last full backup), and that’s it, rather than needing the full backup and every point of changes from there (which only includes the small changes from each previous small change).

While you’ll have less downtime with this option, it’s also important to recognize that these backups take longer to complete as they have more files to download. Additionally, it overwrites previous files so you can’t restore to a particular point in time as easily, unlike the incremental option.

Yet another option is image backups. This is the fastest option as it creates a full disk backup of your system. The operating system, applications, and data are all included in this file, or image, rather than just the files like the other options.

Of course, as this backs up a larger amount of data, it also uses more CPU resources. You can choose between these different options depending on how much downtime is acceptable and how acceptable large backups that require many resources are.

It seems clear that even if all of your information is on the cloud where you feel that it could never be lost, you need to employ a backup solution. This can be either on your own personal servers or on a cloud backup.

Using the information given above, you can better determine exactly how much storage you’ll need as well as what type of backup is best for you. With this, you are better equipped to choose between various storage options.

Photo credit: Pixabay

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