6 Agonizing Problems with Traditional Server Backups

Posted by Mary McCoy on Jul 15, 2015 6:00:00 AM

6 Agonizing Problems with Traditional Server Backups


You've found yourself screaming this, right? For many hosting providers, backups are a beast to manage, but an essential part of protecting sensitive client data. If you're constantly hitting your head against the wall each time you perform a backup, you may be using an outdated BDR solution. To better understand issues you encounter regularly, we reached out to Spiceworks, asking members what problems they've encountered when backing up. Do any of these sound familiar?

1. Completing a single backup overtaxes your servers, and takes too long. 



Solution: Leverage a BDR solution that backs up at the block level and offers Continuous Data Protection (CDP).

Traditional solutions are slower because they back up at the file level. When there are a large number of files, this outdated approach drains your resources and overtaxes your servers, dragging out the backup process. With block-level backups, it doesn't matter how many files you have stored on a server. Data is read from the snapshot of the live running volume, rather than the actual disk. Because of this, solutions with block-level backups don't have to waste time and memory searching for data displaced across the disk.

What about the other implication of slow backups, the inability to back up often?

That's where Continuous Data Protection (CDP) removes inefficiencies in the backup process. As we explain in The Benefits of Continuous Data Protection, CDP is a cost-effective method of conducting high-performance backups in any-time intervals with little impact on server or disk performance. Essentially, the way CDP works is by taking a snapshot of your data and only backing up the blocks where information has been changed. Cutting the time between backups helps you optimize your recovery point objective (RPO) and lessens the risk of data loss should disaster strike. 


2. Your backups are unreliable and frequently fail before completion. 


Solution: Invest in proven backup technology built on processes that won't exhaust your system resources.

This goes hand-in-hand with the first solution on our list. Have you ever had a backup take hours - maybe even days - to complete, and after sitting around waiting for the all-clear, you found out that it didn't even do so successfully? It's incredibly frustrating and a time-suck your business can't afford. Look for a backup manager that won't diminish server performance, that uses disk space efficiently.  

3. You can't perform cross-platform file restores.

Tux-Linux-OS-penguin  vs. microsoft-logo


Solution: Find a solution that's OS-agnostic, and lets you backup both physical and virtual servers

Why does it have to be one or the other? With modern, block-level backup technology that's not dependent on the operating system, you can choose to back up both Windows and Linux servers. Additionally, you can manage backups on both physical and virtual servers all from the same product. The alternative would be to buy multiple backup systems that would get you this functionality, but cost you big time. Last year, EMC published a report that determined having multiple backup vendors increased spending, disruptions, data loss, and downtime costs. Those companies that rely on one backup solution, however, were least likely to suffer. Keep reading to learn how using multiple backup systems can cost you millions in downtime and data loss!


4. You don't have a Plan B if your server goes offline.


Solution: Look for a vendor that offers site-to-site replication and disaster recovery.

What if there's a problem at your data center or you need alternative storage? With site-to-site replication, you can replicate and transfer data from one server to the next, regardless of its physical location. If a server goes offline, the redundant data you have stored offsite can be easily and quickly restored so your clients don't have to worry about downtime or data loss. 

5. Data recovery is painfully slow.


Solution: Prioritize flexible data recovery and bare metal restore in your backup solution.

If you're backing up more frequently, you won't have to perform full restores as often, and this won't be as big an issue. Still, it's important you use a solution with flexible data recovery in place. Users should be able to easily find and access individual recovery points to restore in minutes. Restore whole servers and maximize your recovery time objective (RTO) with Bare Metal Restore. Note: it's virtually impossible to perform Bare Metal Restores if you're backing up at the file-level. That's why block-level backups are key!

6. Traditional pricing models don't scale with your business. 


When researching the right backup solution, look for a transparent vendor, one that won't neglect to mention the hidden costs of doing business with them. The minor fees for additional modules or plug-ins will stack up over time, making it difficult to stabilize cash flow. Part of finding the right backup solution provider means asking the right questions. Ask if you have to pay an upfront annual fee to use their software or if instead, they offer monthly subscription pricing. 

We'll be discussing how to optimize server backups at HostingCon 2015!

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Meet Mary! Mary McCoy is Continuum’s resident Inbound Marketing Specialist and social media enthusiast. She recently graduated from the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!) with a BA in Economics and served as digital marketing intern for Citi Performing Arts Center (Citi Center), spearheading the nonprofit’s #GivingTuesday social media campaign. Like her school’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, Mary believes learning never ends. She considers herself a passionate, lifelong student of content creation and inbound marketing.

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Topics: Server Performance, Continuous Data Protection, Bare-Metal Restore, server backup, block-level backup

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