It’s Time to Move On From Outdated Backup Methods

Posted by Ben Barker on Nov 25, 2014 7:00:00 AM

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If you’re still relying on full, traditional methods of backup, it’s time to get with the program. 

Full backup methods involve copying all data from disk every time you perform an operation. As the your company's data set continues to grow, so does the complexity of the backup process. This can easily turn into a long and strenuous procedure filled with unpredictable backup windows.

Many other traditional methods of backup, while incremental, are performed at the file level. Incremental backups allow you to copy only those files that were changed or created since the initial snapshot. Still, file-level backups can frequently cause serious performance issues as they fight for system resources.

Needless to say, these methods just aren’t practical anymore. Let's take a look at a few of the most prominent reasons that you should update to a more modernized backup solution.

The Problem With Full Backups

More Data, More Problems

According to the Harvard Business Review, as of 2012, more data was crossing the Internet every second than had been stored in the entire World Wide Web just 20 years prior. That’s a lot of data.

The more data that your organization accrues, the more time it will take to run a full backup of your system. So, that traditional data process that once took you only 30 minutes to complete could now take five hours or more, depending on how much data you are backing up. And if your backup window is five hours long today, imagine what it will be next month or next year.

Most people aren't willing to put their servers under distress for five hours in a typical day. So, understandably, you will probably decide to perform fewer backups as time goes on. Now, instead of backing up your data every day, you back it up every weekend.

Bad idea.

A Recipe for Disaster

What happens if (or rather, when) a serious setback does occur? The whole reason that you were backing your data up in the first place is so that you wouldn’t lose everything that you’ve worked towards.

The more lackadaisical you get with your backup priorities, the more risk you take of losing mission-critical data. By not backing up regularly, you’re potentially losing days or weeks worth of work.

Can you really afford to fall back that far? 

The Problem With File-Level Backups

They’re Stretching you Thin

While incremental backups don’t require you to backup and store all of your data week after week, they do present some issues with system resources.

Performing a file-level backup directly impacts the operation of your disk, network and storage resources. That’s because the operation has to search across the entire server in order to locate any files that were created or changed since the last backup.

As you can imagine, as your data builds and changes, that search becomes much more complex and can consume a lot of memory. 

Say Bye-Bye to Bare-Metal Restores

Another issue with file-level backups is that they do not allow you to perform bare-metal restores. If you were hoping to revert your entire server to a pervious state, you’re out of luck.

Say, for instance, that you needed your server to revert back to its state from two weeks ago. Bare-metal restores are only possible if your backups are being performed at the file system or raw disk block level.

There’s a Better Way to Backup

Lucky for you, a new generation of backup is upon us; one that doesn’t rely on long, involved backup processes, and where you can assure that your data is backed up as frequently as you see fit. This is an age where "server backups" aren't synonymous with "frustrating performance issues,"and where bare-metal restores are just a few clicks away.

Continuous data protection at the block level allows you to restore only changed data, just like traditional backup does. The difference is, these backups read that data from the blocks as they appear on the disk, unlike file level backups which are forced to jump from block to block trying to track down all the necessary data. This not only saves time, but it also puts less strain on your system resources.

When it comes to your data, you want to protect it in the most efficient and most reliable way possible. Continuous data protection at the block level allows you to do just that. Now is the time to get with the program and start utilizing a backup solution that was built with your interests in mind.

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Topics: Bare-Metal Restore, server backup

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