Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Preparing for a Backup solution


Server crash...Data corruption...Virus attack...Coffee spill over a laptop…Phone dropped down a sewer drain...

In the normal day-to-day, hopefully these won't be very common. In reality, the average organization will experience one of these more than twice a year, giving credence to the need for quality reliable backup or business continuity. But this post is not about what backup service to go with, instead what information you’ll need to help evaluate which solution will work best, thus making it easier to deploy.


Calculate Space Requirements Part 1

Backup services are based in some way on the amount of space you require. Believe it or not this will be more than the sum of all the data your organization has. Some machines may need to be virtualized and you’ll need extra space to make that happen. Also, many backup services offer incremental backup, which is great, because it allows you to restore a past version of document and reduces the amount of full images you need to make saving time. Although increases the amount of space you need based on the amount of changes you need to capture. So, we’ll get back to this calculation in a moment. First we need to know what to add up together.

Identify image-level machines

An image backup is a snapshot of an entire machine - settings, files, programs, registry, etc… Its really your bread and butter. An image allows you to restore files and even virtualize a machine so that users can access it even if the actual machine dies. Not every machine in your organization needs to be imaged, only those most critical machines.

Make a list of all the devices within your organization that require image backups and calculate the amount of space they require and move on to the next part.

Identify file-level backups

For machines that aren’t mission critical file-level backups may be the best choice, but if you prefer images - I’m not going to stop you. The important part is that you’ve compiled a list of machines and the the space requirements.

Calculate Space Requirements Part 2

Now that we know how much space our data requires we need to account for incremental back ups and virtualization. A rule of thumb we like to recommend is to anticipate an extra 100%. If you have 400GB of data be sure your plan is at least 800GB. The first 400GB is for the initial images and files, the remaining 400GB is for increments, virtual machines, and growth.

Determine On-Site vs Off-site

Time & security is a factor in backup success and business continuity. Some files and data are necessary to stay in business. These should be stored off-site (>50 miles away) to protect from not only human error or local issues, but from natural disasters. may require weekly, daily, hourly backups. While data redundancy off-site is for protection, on-site backup is for files you may need at a moments notice. Finding an off-site vs. on-site strategy can take some time, but having an initial strategy prior to choosing a backup service will help you evaluate one that fits your needs.

Start Evaluating

Last, start evaluating services and products. Now that you have a clear view of your needs finding a solution should be much easier, not to mention you’ll get more accurate quotes with more precise numbers. Unfortunately all this work doesn’t help with the roll-out, but you can always grab some help for these special projects instead of overloading your IT staff!


Backup & Business Continuity

Newmind Group Data Recovery offers remote data backup and storage services ensuring your sensitive business data, applications, and systems, are safe and secure, so that in the face of disaster your business stays up and running.
  • Reverse incremental technology enables fastest possible restores
  • Anti-corruption technology to ensure health of backups
  • Customizable scheduling and retention policies for compliance and archiving
  • and more...

Heath Miller is a member of Newmind's IT managed services team. Heath collaborates with clients to help them transition to Google Apps as well as manage and deploy backup solutions.

Heath Miller enjoys movies, volunteering, & restoring classic arcade games. He holds the office high score record for Aero Fighters, Ninja Turtles, Sunset Riders, and Dr Mario.