Who uses remote backup, and why?
Remote backup is an essential practice for any organization that could suffer potentially severe costs if production IT systems went down for a significant length of time. For a wide variety of organizations, prolonged IT service interruption could entail immediate costs such as missed sales opportunities, as well as longer term costs including damage to reputation, erosion of customer confidence, and weakened competitive standing. For such organizations, housing key data stores and applications in only one data center poses an unacceptable risk of service being knocked out completely by a data center scale disaster such as power outage, sabotage, earthquake, hurricane, and so on.
In addition to facilitating disaster recovery for any type of IT-dependent organization, remote backup is also employed by geographically dispersed organizations as a means of consolidating backup and recovery operations, with remote or branch offices backing up their data and systems to a central location.
How remote backup works
Effective remote backup requires that production data be regularly backed up to a location far enough away from the primary location so that both locations would not be affected by the same disruptive event. This means that the offsite backup location should not be in the same metropolitan area, flood plain, hurricane zone, or along the same earthquake fault line as the primary facility. Depending on a particular organization’s recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO), the remote backup may need to be frequent and broad (spanning a range of data types, applications, and systems).
Traditionally, remote backup has been accomplished by backing up to portable tape media at the primary site, and then transporting tapes to the remote backup location by truck or other means.
In recent years, however, a new generation of remote backup software and disk-based backup systems have emerged that enables highly efficient replication or backup of data from primary systems to disk-based backup systems at a remote site, via corporate WANs or the internet. Two key technological enablers have paved the way for this next-generation remote backup:
Sharp growth in network bandwidth capacities.
Advanced data deduplication methodologies that dramatically reduce the amount of data that must be copied, transferred, and stored in order to maintain complete, ready-to-use backups at a remote location.
Benefits of remote backup
Remote backup enables IT systems-reliant organizations to ensure data protection and business continuity, while avoiding the potential lost revenue and reputational damage that could result from major loss of data and service interruptions. For geographically dispersed enterprises, remote backup via backup over WAN to a central facility also enables more efficient and policy-compliant backup operations.
Beyond the general benefits of enabling remote backup, the new generation of disk-based deduplication systems and software solutions – such as EMC Data Domain and EMC Avamar – deliver benefits including faster backup times, faster recovery times, greater security and reliability, simpler management, and the ability to extend remote backup coverage to more types of systems and applications including virtualized applications.