10 Ways to Reduce Virtual Data Loss in Storage Environments - Page 2


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7) Don’t Back up Everything, Every Time

The old school way of conducting backups was to do a full backup on a regular basis – once a day, once a week or once a month. That resulted in storage rooms full of backup tapes which largely contained duplicative data.

Changed block tracking is a way to minimize the amount of data that has to be transferred to complete a backup.  For each object you're backing up, it knows what blocks have changed since the last backup and only sends those. On the target side, it can integrate that data with the prior backup to create the "new" backup. This minimizes time and bandwidth necessary to complete backups. It is a similar idea to old school incremental backups – just back up the data that changed since the last backup.

“Everybody should be doing this kind of backup; nobody should be backing up all the data every time,” said Burgener. “You've already got the data that didn't change, which could easily be 80 - 90% of the data since the last backup, so why back it up over and over again?”

8) Be Aware of Special Cases

With so much virtualization around, it’s easy to forget that there are still a couple of physical servers involved, at the very least. Even more likely, you have several VMs that cannot be backed up on a hypervisor level (such as VMs with RDM disks).

“In a worst-case scenario, you’re forced to use another backup solution for such special cases,” said Kandaurov. “Choose a backup product that can also install an agent inside your machines.”

9) Remember Virtual Settings

Many users do quite well at protecting their data. But when a serious incident occurs, they can still be left with egg on their hard drives. Reason: they didn’t remember to set up some kind of mechanism to restore their vast array of virtualization settings.

“In addition to making sure your applications and data are protected, also protect your virtualization environment and settings,” said Greg Schulz, an analyst with StorageIO Group.  

10) Don’t Forget the Basics There are certain basics that hold true between physical or virtual environments. All applications have RPO (recovery point objective) and RTO (recovery time objective) requirements. RPO defines how much data you're willing to lose. Or another way to think of it is how often you need to create a copy from which to recover. RTO defines how fast you have to recover. An application with an RTO of 5 minutes means it has to be back up and running 5 minutes after it failed, but the RPO could vary, an RTO of 5 min does not necessarily mean an RPO of 5 min.“You have to make a decision about which technologies (file-based backup, continuous data protection, replication, off host snapshot backup, etc.) are appropriate to your RPO/RTO,” said Burgener.  

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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