When I think of backup technology, I think of tools designed to make spare copies of data and keep it safe. Whether it’s an external hard drive, sophisticated software program or a combination of the two, these tools help us get back up and running when a virus strikes, a server crashes, or careless Cletus from accounting accidentally deletes a folder and all the critical files inside it. Despite the fact that they are synonymous with data protection, the value of backups also shines through before data recovery efforts even commence. Here are three examples to support this mumbo jumbo.
1. File and Folder Recovery
When I was young a pup trying to find my way, I had a habit of losing my house keys. That often landed me in hot water with the old man, especially when I decided to pull a B&E (break and enter) on my own house and climbed through the bathroom window because I didn’t feel like waiting for my parents to get home from work. Can you say grade-A beating? As I got older, I had a hard time holding onto other essential items, including phone numbers, girlfriends, and files. I once lost the file to a manuscript that would eventually become one of my favorite books. I had thought it was gone forever, but then I remembered that I had invested in a piece of backup technology that turned out to be a lifesaver.
Not all lost files and folders are doomed to that desolate data repository in the sky. Even those that have been accidentally deleted or corrupted can be salvaged. For me, it was a handy imaging program that saved the day. While I did lose a couple thousand words, I was able to bring that file back to life, so to speak, by restoring a backup image I had saved previously to a decent working point. ShadowProtect offers similar functionality that covers you in moments of absent-minded blunders and unfortunate data catastrophes that are out of your control as well.
2. System Migration
Virtualization gives you the power to do a lot of nifty things with your infrastructure, including run what can be considered resident apps in non-residential environments. For example, it’s totally possible to handle all your document processing with Microsoft Word on a machine running Mac OS X or Linux. This process is often facilitated with a method called to Physical to Virtual (P2V), which allows you to move an entire system and its data from a physical server to a virtual machine.
Just because something is possible doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a synch to complete. In the case of P2V, going the manual route can be both a time-consuming and frustrating process. A good backup tool is worth its weight in Twinkies here. Software such as ShadowProtect Server automates the process, enabling you to migrate systems and data in minutes opposed to hours. It also supports a number of other migration methods, including physical to physical (P2P), virtual to physical (V2P), and virtual to virtual (V2V).
3. Disaster Recovery Testing
Having a handy piece of backup software in your pocket is definitely a nice start, but you can be in for a rude awakening if you don’t make testing a priority. One of the harsher realities you may experience is failure. Disaster recovery initiatives fail for a number of reasons, including:
- Data corruption. You go to recover your systems on the heels of a disaster only to find those systems won’t fully restore. A classic sign of data corruption.
- You missed something. Your disaster recovery plan should include every piece of data on your systems. The files you blow off as nonessential could prevent you from fully rebounding.
- Lost passwords. Password protection is a simple, yet integral element in the grand scheme of data security. Never should only one IT person be in sole possession of all passwords and encryption codes — especially if his name is Cletus.
- Poor planning. Recovery efforts can even fail with a plan in place if the process is not properly planned. IT planners must be very selective about which applications and services to restore first because something as simple as putting email apps before file servers could compound the initial disaster.
There’s no inching around it. Of course you hope it never comes to this, but the only way to ensure that you can recover from a true IT crisis is to treat your backup plan like a fire drill and thoroughly test it before you even smell a disaster in the air.
Backup technology will forever play a chief role in disaster recovery planning. However, it’s nice to know that the same processes within it can be instrumental in storing data, migrating systems, and making sure those plans are viable enough to drive recovery efforts when the time arises.
Want more about backup technology? Take a look at backup technology through the years.