Outsourcing Backup – To Do, Or Not To Do
June 2, 2008
As I stated in the original post, I have not used an online backup service, but I do like the idea. And for my SMB president that I wrote about in SMB’s We are not all the same I would quickly recommend it after the due diligence questions.
I do have some questions and concerns though. For vendors in the online backup space, these are some questions that your literature and materials can answer. For SMB business managers these are some of the questions to ensure that your vendor can answer.
My Questions and Concerns
A big one is vendor viability and data ownership. Should the worst happen, I want my data back. This would include any required documentation on data backup formats, hardware etc as well as legal documentation in the contract.
Next is data security; this includes the basic security that your data will not be lost or divulged where it should not be, but also that that the data storage will conform with your data retention requirements. These requirements could be legislation and e-Discovery requirements, or business requirements. For example, a major customer of ours requires seven years of data access for all data.
Online backup services usually require a one time complete backup of all your data, then the service can only backup changed data on a daily basis; this ensures that huge amounts of data don’t repeatedly have to cross your internet connection. This still presents challenges to your internet connection, especially on slower connections. For example I currently have almost a Terabyte of data to backup – and an older T1 internet connection. even that can be a challenge to backup and restore. One of me servers has approximately 500 GB of data on it – if it dies and a “bare metal” rebuild is required, how long will that data restore take?
The types of data that you receive should also be a consideration. We get large amounts of audio and video data on a weekly basis. (often in the range of 200 to 400 Mb) Backing these up (or restoring if necessary) could be hours.
Next on the list is any database management systems that you have in place. These could include tools utilizing databases such as Microsofts SQL Server, or databases by Oracle Corporation or IBM. Also included in this are databases running your email system, for example, Microsoft Exchange. Database management tools are usually backed up via their transaction logs, again this ensures that huge amounts of data do not have to be transferred across the Internet connection. Again though; if databases are large, the full restore time if the full database requires restoration could be significant.
As I said at the beginning of this post, the the SMB business I discussed in ,SMB’s, we are not all the same’ in that business presidents case, his distribution business has absolutely a minimal amount of data. Primarily an entry level accounting package and some basic documents created in their office productivity package. In his case online backups would be quick and painless.
For my multi-media rich organization – it may be more of a challenge.
You can subscribe to this blog by clicking the RSS icon on the Home Page!