Modernizing your backup process is a difficult task. However, when traditional backup methods are no longer adequate, modernization is necessary. There are different backup technologies to choose from, including continuous data protection (CDP), snapshots, and image-based backup. When making your decision, you must consider how each form of technology will impact your business operations.
Continuous Data Protection
Continuous data protection products back up data every few minutes throughout the day, instead of performing a single large backup overnight. CDP technology initially replicates data to a disk-based backup on a block-by-block basis, meaning that when a block is created or modified, it is backed up. Versioning information and data deduplication are tracked to ensure that unique blocks are the only ones stored on the backup media. However, some CDP solutions differentiate between disk-based backups and tape-based backups and put strict limits on the number of recovery points that can be stored within short-term protection.
Snapshots are not technically backups, as they do not create a copy of the data. Snapshots instead give the ability to roll a virtual machine (VM), application, or file back to an earlier time. Because snapshots are different from backups, backup providers often offer this technology as a means to augment their solution’s recovery capabilities. Providers tend not to offer snapshots as standalone data protection. Snapshots also can cause database corruption when performing rollbacks, unless the snapshot solution is designed to be compatible with applications running on your server.
Image-based backups are used to back up VMs, capturing the VM as a whole. In the event that a recovery operation is needed, a copy of the VM would typically be mounted in a sandbox environment so that data can be extracted. The sandbox mounting technology can also be used to provide native recovery testing capabilities. These backups are most flexible when your protected resources are on virtual servers.
To make your choice of modern backup technology, take factors such as retention requirements, agent compatibility, application awareness, the initial backup, and recovery testing into account. The process of modernizing your backups is arduous, but after the initial implementation, the data protection and backup process will be more scalable and flexible.
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