WEI often works with clients in both areas of backup and disaster recovery at the same time. We find it’s often beneficial for them to be part of a single strategy since the function of backup and DR relates so closely together (recovering from some sort of event). They do have slightly different goals, however. With backup, you might be looking at a smaller data loss, such as accidental deletion or corruption of files. With DR, you might be looking at a wider event, such as the loss of a facility, or loss of systems. Considering both backup and DR together as one strategy is helpful because it influences where you place data, where you place your disaster recovery location, and how much it costs to achieve the results you want (in both CapEx and OpEx). Both sides of backup and DR should be factored together. They may ultimately be part of one comprehensive solution.
Let's take a look at a few common scenarios you should factor in to your backup strategy.
Backup Scenario #1: File Restores
It should come as no surprise that the most frequent restore need comes from users wanting to restore individual files. Most of the time, people have to recover from human-error events. They may have to recover a deleted file, a deleted database or an accidentally deleted email. These tend to require the backup administrator to go back in time no later than 7 days to retrieve and restore an earlier version of the file from the backup set. More commonly, we see people needing to go back to yesterday, last night or the backup from two hours ago. Having to go back later than a week, two weeks or even six months is more often a rare occurrence.
In these cases, only storing a few days’ worth of backups on local storage often covers this type of failure scenario. If your organization stores these types of backups in the cloud and gets requests for earlier than seven days ago, you may need to build in more cost to restore. Not only can this type of cloud-based restore cost you more money—it may also take you longer.
Backup Scenario #2: Server Corruption
If a server becomes corrupted, many clients tell us, "Well, we're just going to fail over to DR." Many don’t realize all of the implications of doing that. For example, many customers' networks are not set up to fail an individual component or an individual server from one location to the other. Some major network changes have to happen first when a server fails from one site to another. It does no good if the server comes up in your DR site but nobody can get to it because the network isn't configured.
A client may tell us they are really concerned about recovering quickly from server corruption, a server crash, or a ransomware attack like CryptoLocker. Based on that concern, it can change how we architect backup and DR. We may opt to have client backups sitting on fast storage so that recovery can be fast and easy. In this case, though, we may also recommend storing those backups for only 2-3 days in order to reduce the cost on that type of storage. Then, after that first few days, we may recommend tiering the backup data. This can involve sending the backups to another storage tier that stores them for 30 days.
This type of scenario might involve a holistic and hybrid backup solution that involves more than one vendor. Rarely do we find one vendor who meets all of a company’s backup or DR requirements in one solution.
Sample Scenario #3: Virtual Server Environments
This scenario also dovetails with Scenario #2. This is because so many server environments are now virtualized. The proliferation of virtual server environments brings with it new opportunities to streamline and improve backup and DR operations. Unfortunately, this proliferation also brings with it new risks: Multiple virtual server environments may now exist on a single physical server. If something happens to that physical server, its downtime impact may be much more far-reaching.
Depending on the individual recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) for each virtual server environment, WEI may recommend replicating some servers offsite to a cloud provider, while other data is handled differently. There are also newer technologies that handle virtual environments differently than traditional backup applications that were built for the physical world. Some of these methodologies may make sense, like the use of virtual machine full image backups that no longer require individual backups or backup agents for each virtual server.
Protecting business data is always #1
If you’re using laptops, PCs, or cloud software to share and store critical data, this could cause problems on two fronts. First, in today’s workplace, employees expect 24/7 access to files and data from any location and on any device. If you’re not providing this capability, well-meaning employees often resort to “shadow IT” to maintain productivity. But if these are outside the control of IT, they leave files open to attack—and your business open to liability. Second, it’s not a matter of if devices will crash or get lost or stolen, but when. And while it can be challenging to make sure that everything is backed up and you’re ready for disaster, it’s also absolutely critical. If data loss could put you out of business for a few hours—or a few days—it’s time to consider a better solution.
HPE solutions for file and backup with Windows Server and Microsoft Azure Cloud Services provide two use-case options. Configurations optimized for file data provide a central repository for files and data with fast performance so employees can collaborate more easily and securely. Configurations optimized for backup and disaster recovery help minimize downtime by protecting data and making it fast and easy to recover when disaster strikes. Both offer edge-to-cloud computing solutions with the ability to extend your on-premises solution with flexible, secure hybrid cloud options.
Luckily,, HPE's solutions for file and backup are simple to deploy, manage, and support. They’re a one-stop shop for packaged solutions including HPE ProLiant servers, storage, software, services, and top-selling options—all tested, optimized, and validated with Windows Server and Azure Cloud Services. They are based on HPE ProLiant Gen10 servers that are equipped to meet the file and backup needs of midsize businesses. They are ideal for the midsized enterprise in that they are equipped with sufficient CPU, memory, and storage resources to enable the server to be used for file and print, backup and recovery, and hybrid file and backup.
Next Steps: Learn more about how to effectively plan for hybrid backup strategies in our white paper below.