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Friday, September 26, 2008

Your backup is not about the backup - Part 1

Huh? Is Yogi Berra making a guest appearance? Not exactly, it's time for the ITConnexx University's Backup 101 class... listen up! There will be a test!

We all know what a backup is, we learned about that in high-school. Hopefully we all know the two reasons why we perform a backup. Don't worry class, I'm gonna tell you.
1. Create a second copy of your extremely valuable data to allow to recover from a loss of the first copy (hardware failure, data corruption, human error, etc.)
2. Store a copy of your extremely valuable data in a second physical location, to be used in the event of an environmental disaster (fire, flood, theft, vandalism, etc.)

Most of us know the traditional method for creating a backup, tape. Every day, a staff member walks into the server closet, views the job log, ejects the previous day's tape, inserts today's tape, and immediately takes yesterday's tape off site. To the safe deposit box. Right? Does this sound familiar to all of you tape users?

Or does it go like this? When our staff member remembers, they go into the server closet, ejects the previous day's tape, inserts today's tape, puts yesterday's tape on the shelf, then goes back to work.

How do they know if yesterday's backup job even ran? How do they remember to switch the tape at all? And honestly, how often do they forget? When do they take a tape off site? And when they do, where is it stored? Remember what's on that tape (shhh... don't tell anybody but it's your client's information and your trade secrets).

Let's take a break here and all think about our business and our data. Is your current process really protecting you?

Break's over. On to a better solution.

Online backup and virtual servers! Now this class, is exciting...

Picture this... all data is stored to a second server in your server closet, and a copy of that data is encrypted and stored in a data warehouse. Sounds simple? It get's better... Remember that staff member with the tapes? Well they are busy doing their regular job. They don’t have to remember anything (other than to make coffee when the pot is empty). They don't have the responsibility of taking your extremely valuable data home. It's all automatic, in fact it's magic - smoke and mirrors type stuff. Impressed yet? Well listen to this...

Your extremely valuable data is now stored in four places. One of those places is the "virtual server." in your server closet. Let's do a little role playing...

ring ring...
Me: Good morning Happy Client. How are you today?
Happy Client: Brian, you will never believe this! Nobody can get to our server! Our extremely valuable data is not available! What will I do? My staff is running around franticly.
Me: {yawn} Don't worry HC, I’ll take care of it. Tell your staff to tidy up around the office. I'll call you back shortly.
Happy Client: What are you going to do? How much will this cost?
Me: HC, I said don't worry. This won't cost you anything; everything is covered under your "Computing as Promised" Agreement. I'll call you back.
Happy Client: Thanks Brian, you are my hero.
Me: Thanks Happy, I'll call you soon.
Me (to myself as I reach for my white hat): I love being a hero.
ring ring...
Happy Client: Hello Brian, what did you do? I see our server is back on line and we are productive again. That didn't take long at all.
Me: I was able to activate the virtual server with a back up copy of your data. Your production server is still down. I'll start on that when we hang up.
Happy Client: I can't believe what good service you provide and what a fantastic solution we have.
Me: It's all in a hard day's work Hap.

Exciting stuff eh?

Homework: Read about Backup & Recovery Services from ITConnexx, Inc.
OK... Test tomorrow.

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