Tag Archives: CDP

Data Backup: Can you Successfully Monitor your Backups?

Data backup is becoming more important as each day passes and the majority of companies now backup their data utilising backup solutions ranging from backup media to replication and cloud backup solutions. With such a wide range of solutions that are on offer, the level and ease that the solution offers monitoring wise is vast.

Some backup solutions are very secure and robust, but some backup solutions falter on the monitoring aspect. This can and has resulted in companies not being able to successfully restore data as their backups hadn’t successfully completed. Without an appropriate and efficient way of monitoring the status of all backups on a daily basis, all sorts of problems could be encountered when attempting to restore data.

The monitoring and management aspects of a data backup solution are sometimes overlooked as some people become more focused on how the solution backs up data and in what condition the backed up data is stored in. The monitoring aspect of a solution is then forgotten about or isn’t researched into further, even though this is an aspect of a solution that will be used the most and should be considered as one of the most important parts of the solution.

With some solutions, all you receive is a daily email notification which notifies whether the backups have been successful or not. This is a good start as an email can be checked first thing in the morning and the person will know whether further action is required. However, where do they go next if there have been any problems? With some solutions, a selected employee ends up having to trawl through hundreds of log entries to try and see what may have caused the backup to be unsuccessful. This can lead to important errors being missed and can result in some complacency occurring towards certain errors if they have seen them before. Again, this could lead to problems occurring if data needed to be restored if errors are ignored without knowing exactly what it is referring to and the potential impact that it will have when trying to restore data.

Another factor to consider is whether continuous data protection (CDP) backups are running. This is where a backup is running throughout the day, backing up any new data and therefore shortening the recovery point if data needed to be restored. Receiving an email notification early in the morning may well not be enough for company’s who utilise CDP backups as it is impossible to tell whether there have been any problems with this backup during the day until the following morning without physically checking throughout the day to make sure that the backup is still running. Realistically, this won’t happen as employees will take holiday leave, be out of the office for meetings and become preoccupied with other projects.

Ideally, the monitoring system in place will be a web portal in which any allotted people can log into from anywhere around the world. This can give real time updates and status of all backups, no matter the time of day. This has several benefits as backup management can be centralised, saving time and money as any problematic backup sets are flagged up straight away and the need to trawl through hundreds of logs is drastically reduced as the logs are automatically filtered and monitored. An automated email can be sent out each morning which reflects the status of the backups at that time and therefore this aspect of monitoring is not lost. It is also important to correctly classify errors. A user might become familiar with seeing a backup encountering errors but know that the errors do not impact their data recovery plans. However, if that backup then encounters a different kind of error, the user can easily ignore the problem believing it to be business as usual, as they still see the same backup reporting with errors. If the error is considered acceptable it should be re-classified so it is not an error – the backup then informs the user it is successful until new errors appear.

Having an effective method to monitor backups is vital as it can help save time and money. More importantly, it can help determine whether the backups have been successful or not which will help determine whether you will be able to restore your data. Having a combination of a web portal with real time monitoring complimented by a daily email report which gives a notification of any problematic backup sets is an ideal way to monitor your backups.

Do you monitor your backups? How effectively can you monitor your backups?

Disaster Recovery is lacking in Virtualised Environments

Organisations utilising virtualisation seem to be placing themselves at greater risk of substantial data loss even though the virtual technology they are deploying improves efficiencies and reduces the cost of disaster recovery.

A recent survey conducted by Applied Research, on the state of backup and recovery capabilities in virtual environments, showed that nearly half of enterprise data stored on virtual platforms is rarely backed up and that over 60 percent of virtualised servers are not incorporated into disaster recovery plans. Considering disaster recovery now comprises of more than a quarter of annual IT budgets this is a worrying sign.

As the market highlights there is certainly no shortage of disaster recovery solutions designed to protect virtual environments. The fact of the matter is that virtualisation actually makes recovery of servers and infrastructures that much easier by increasing performance and flexibility. In today’s world we are seeing organisations host infrastructures in the cloud, so it is strange why there is still this inability or unwillingness to ensure successful backup of virtual environments. As many solution providers demonstrate the cloud provides a much more flexible backup and disaster recovery framework then traditional solutions and often at lower prices.

Reliability has often been an area of concern for organisations looking to implement virtual environments especially with mission critical systems and data. The fact of the matter is that virtual environments performance and resilience is excellent, although however good a solution is one still can’t stress the importance of data backup and disaster recovery. The variety and expertise of backup and recovery providers’ worldwide means no data or systems should ever be excluded. Such features as CDP and ‘hot’ database backups mean that not only recovery time objectives are met but recovery point objectives are achieved.

Data is the lifeblood of any organisation, so every measure should be taken to protect it. Virtual infrastructures are playing an increasingly vital role in enterprise data infrastructure, but to leave it out of the DR equation is surely a step too far.

Features of effective and continuous Data Protection tools

It has become extremely important for Web hosting providers to give access to business houses and other clients, the data that has been stored and kept safely whenever required by the respective client at any given point of time. It can be key client information, or data needed to meet compliance regulations; it may be critical medical data or sensitive records concerning finance matters or information of national importance.

Continuous Data Protection (CDP) has been successful in giving backup support for storage vendors and service providers. This, in fact, is one of the most vital features of effective and continuous Data Protection tools and strategies. Whenever a business wants to consider data security, CDP comes into focus.

The concept and application of CDP varies from one business to another but in essence it has the ability to restore data to any point in time. The changes in the data are recorded in real time. Even if a virus strikes to affect the files or the entire system, the most recent copies can be retrieved.

The more affordable that CDP becomes; the greater number of businesses that will look to this technology for backup.

Achieving Business Continuity through Data Protection

A new Continuous Data Protection (CDP) server after initialising itself with a complete data set executes a full backup to disc. Once this is done it will at designated intervals, say every 5 minutes or every hour execute incremental backups. This is done as and when there is a change of log of email or data base system.

CDP is a highly developed backup system, which will perform backup operations only when there is an actual change in the file. The entire changed file is not backed up. This means that there will be less data on backup, helping the backup process to run faster and smoother.

More frequent backups can be performed because the overhead of each backup is reduced considerably. This increases productivity and curtails and reduces lost work. The backup frequency is greatly enhanced thus improving performance. The burden on the administrator is also greatly reduced on account of this.

The other benefit in this improved system is that the CDP products are application-and file system – consistent. Achieving business continuity through data protection is indeed crucial in successful running of a business.

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