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Backup: How The Backup Is Organized In IT Center

22.05.2017
usb flash and backup tape on laptop keyboard

Manual backup and its consequences

In the previous issues of popular scientific column we discussed the basic backup formula and three methods for creating a backup. It is noteworthy that the engineers of IT Center have never encountered administrators who are able to  perform not that incremental copying manually but simply comply with rule 3-2-1.

There are no administrators who are ready to copy the data to removable media every evening manually, verify the integrity of copies and lock media in an off-site safe. Therefore the collection of IT Center of those force majeure situations which our friends face is regularly replenished.

- Aye, crivens! We fired our employee and he deleted his correspondence, files with contracts and a сounterparty database.

- Aye, yesterday it was an icy rain. There were interruptions in the power grid and our server was crashed. The sysadmin claims that the power supply unit, controller and hard drives were burnt. The backup was stored on the hard disk inside this server. There is an old server in the warehouse which left the database a year ago but this information is hopelessly outdated.

- We bought an expensive server, our administrator assured that he installed the hardware mirror and RAID: if one disk burns, the data will remain on the second one. But somebody caught WannaCry and now the base does not open.

Such stories are depressing, but they are explainable.

Why manual backup does not work

System administrators are people who are not devoid of  prejudices and implement technical solutions based on their own horizons and qualifications.

Small companies do not have the budget to buy an expensive reliable hardware: separate servers that serve only the backup task, and removable media to it.

Let's not forget that complex technical systems will only work in experienced hands.

Optimum backup solution for small and medium business

The way out of the closed circle budget ‑ time ‑ data safety is: transfer the concern for the company's information systems to those companies that specialize in computer technology. In other words the way out is in the IT outsourcing.

IT Center as an IT outsourcing company understands that it is important to keep the information for the Customer. In addition to humanistic ideas the chain of reasoning is simple: if the Customer loses data — we lose the Customer. Therefore the IT Center engineers treat the issue of organizing information backup seriously and in a complex manner.

Backup in IT Center: equipment and schedule

We use the Hewlett Packard ProLiant family of hardware as a backup server.

A full backup of our customers' data starts on the local disks of the backup server at the end of each working week. Incremental or differential backups take place every night on the working days. These data blocks are automatically archived and encrypted during the recording, and then stored from 2 to 4 weeks.

A full backup is saved to special Linear Tape-Open tapes once a month. For this procedure we use a tape backup library of 24 tape drives, each with a capacity of up to 1.5 TB. The yellow box on the title picture for this blog post is the same drive.

Some critical SQL databases are copied at the request of the Customer during business hours. IT Center experts use special interfaces to avoid overloading and not slowing down the rest of the Customer's services.

Tapes with backups are extracted from the tape library on a schedule and stored in a separate place from the place of copying. Customer data on such media is also automatically encrypted.

We have a script for Disaster Recovery — restoring a full copy of the server in case of a catastrophic failure of the physical server.

It is important that these operations are carried out in an automatic mode. IT Center engineers only monitor the correctness of the backup procedure completion.

Conclusion

The IT Center approach to the organization of backup will seem unnecessarily complicated and expensive. This is a fair estimate if the information being copied is cheaper and the probability of losing it is not high. When the value of information is not discussed then working backup is not flash drives, «mirrors», but a complex of hardware and software solutions.

So a valid backup policy is the analysis of the information being copied and on this basis, juggling backup methods, backup schedule, server hardware, backup media and IT engineers whose experience is priceless in this matter.

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