Reliable data is mission-critical, for your web hosting business and for each of your customers. If you can’t trust your backups, your entire business could be at risk. But the relationship between backups and data integrity is often misunderstood, according to Ben Thomas, R1Soft’s Product Director. Backing up does not automatically ensure data integrity, he says. “It’s as simple as that.”
Backing up is the process of making a copy of what’s in storage, then setting it aside for later use. If you don’t verify the integrity of the backed-up data, you cannot verify the integrity of data you retrieve.
It's best to look for a server backup solution that takes block level, NOT file level, backups. We discuss the benefits of block level backups further in this blog post. Mainly, this technology operates below the filesystem, backs up data faster and conveniently allows you to customize your scheduling. Because it reduces I/O, backups can be performed without sacrificing system performance.
Nonetheless, if the server file system becomes corrupted, then backups are corrupted as well. Episodes like this aren’t all that unusual for businesses, according to Ben Thomas.
The key takeaway here is that in order to trust your disaster recovery solution and have an effective backup strategy, you must have working backups and you must ensure the integrity of the data being backed up.
Integrity Builds Trust
Data integrity is about the idea that what you intended to store is exactly what you would retrieve, should you ever need to do that. That data has to be fully intact before it’s backed up and unaltered by the backup process. Maintaining data integrity happens at multiple levels, so there are at least a couple of key things potentially working against you:
- An application working with data might have a defect or bug, therefore the format would be wrong or corrupted.
- A hardware issue could get in the way of accessing storage.
Disk Safe Verification Further Boosts Backup Confidence
Using a disk safe is considered an industry best practice because it automatically protects archived data against power failure and crashes. You have to keep your data secure, but it has to be precisely correct, too.
It's best to choose a server backup product that incorporates disk safe verification within the backup process. Like R1Soft, some software products already do this, but Server Backup Manager (SBM) handles it a bit differently, checking what’s stored in the disk safe against an internal database to ensure every block from the server is properly referenced. Verification can follow a pre-set or on-demand schedule, and the system issues alerts if any anomalies are identified.
The end results are reduced need for restore testing and greater confidence in data integrity and restorability.
With system-wide processes in place, you can consistently protect and monitor data integrity. You can be confident at the time data is backed up and confident that data is being maintained exactly as is while being transferred or reproduced. Combining best practices for managing data integrity and disk safe verification gives you two more ways you can boost trust in your backups.
"The value of data is increasingly becoming an organization’s most valuable commodity. According to EMC’s Global Data Protection Index, data loss now costs companies more than $1.7 trillion per year worldwide. This staggering statistic alone highlights the critical importance of maintaining data integrity, yet not every organization can afford the downtime and resources that traditional backups require."
The preceding text was taken from our eBook. To read more...