Eliminating the Data Protection Headaches

February 21st, 2013

Building on my last post, now that you know what you need to protect, you can start the discovery process and determine how to move forward. Of course, you could offload your data protection requirements to a Managed Service Provider (MSP), an increasingly popular option today, but it is still your responsibility to ensure you are making the right data protection solution or service choice.

Most tools today can protect or back up relevant information. The key to your entire strategy is being able to quickly or simply recover that information, helping to reduce your stress and save costs. You’ll achieve cost savings by spending less time attempting recovery, and ensuring you’re not storing irrelevant data which ties up tapes and disk space.

Once you have a good handle on what needs to be protected, there are other factors you have to consider – for example, the network bandwidth, which has a direct impact on backup and recovery methods. Does the data protection solution have network throttling? Can the backup or restore jobs be staggered or integrated with other enterprise backup solutions? How does it impact the performance of the system? How about ease of use? Can you use Data Deduplication, Replication/Full System High Availability and Infinite Incremental Backups?

If your data protection solution can address these questions, then you’re ready to determine the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) for the data to be protected. Most data protection solutions can perform the backup or protect the data by storing it at the local location, and transferring the data back to a central server located at the host site during off-peak hours. This enables you to have a hybrid data protection approach where a user can quickly recover lost data on his/her computer because it was backed up locally on that laptop, desktop or application server – having no impact on the network and IT staff.

That’s why I mentioned ease-of-use earlier. There may be situations where the IT staff or MSP at the central site may have to perform the recovery job due to local file corruption or user error. But at minimum, you can start to feel better as you are now protecting your infrastructure.

Another thing to consider is that most remote data protection solutions integrate directly into another host backup solution, creating an additional level of data protection. Any data protection strategy should include staging the data locally to disk at the host site based on a time or a data storage threshold. This can be achieved by image-level backups or even leveraging a data replication/high availability capability.

As we know, restoring from tape is a slower process and staging or replicating the data to disk would maintain another level of data protection, providing the ability to meet the defined RTO and RPO, as the data will be restored from the host site from disk when possible. Storing data on disk may seem like you could incur some additional costs, but if you are only protecting business-critical data by staging your backups, you will reduce costs by eliminating tapes, network overhead, downtime and headaches.

And isn’t eliminating headaches what we all really want?