Geekzone: technology news, blogs, forums
Guest
Welcome Guest.
You haven't logged in yet. If you don't have an account you can register now.


sxz



603 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 123


Topic # 151106 14-Aug-2014 09:15
Send private message

I work at an office where our data is very very important.  Obviously the more backup the better, but I'm curious as to how much you think is bare minimum and what you think is overkill.  I'm not particularly on-to-it with server/backup knowledge and terminology, so forgive me if I do not describe what we have correctly, but I'm our de facto geek - the best of a weak bunch!

We each run our own PC's with all word documents / emails saved on our server.  We also have Remote Desktops we can log into if we wish (when off-site or hot desking), running from our server.  We have 2 servers.  Each has its own specific functions, but those are always replicated on the other, so we can make do with just one if need be (for redundancy).  One is usually between 0-3 years old.  When it gets replaced with a new one, it gets used as a backup for years 3-6, and the old backup server goes the way of the dinosaurs.  

Our Client Relationship Management software stores our saved emails, letters, PDF's etc.  We backup all CRM documents and emails off-site, although we do not currently backup an image of the server itself.  I'm told this means if we lose both servers at once and want an urgent replacement it may take up to a week to re-install and configure all our programs and copy the documents back across, whereas if we have a current backup image of the server itself it can simply be cloned to a new server and we can have that in place within the hour if need be.

I guess my questions are this:
1) Are we dumb for not doing a backup image of the server and saving this offsite several times a day?  Should this be costly?
2) If we do (1), do we need to run two servers?
3) Would you be storing your backup off-site locally, or in a different city altogether?
4) What do you do?  What would you do if you were me (considering it's a business and cost is an important factor!)?

Cheers in advance for your help guys


Create new topic
Banana?
4160 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 919

Subscriber

  Reply # 1108159 14-Aug-2014 09:39
Send private message

Imaging is easy, and should be done daily (and throughout the day) and the destination device taken offsite when swapped out.

ShadowProtect used to be my goto software. Can have a server back up and running from bare metal in about 2 hours. Had to use it twice at clients premises - I don't think they realized how much it saved their bacon (one of them we had only installed it and set it up about 3 months previous) - the longest part was ordering and collecting the new server from Ingram - went from an IBM server which killed its mainboard to an HP one, running again in less than 2 hours (it was SBS2003).

410 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 77


  Reply # 1108166 14-Aug-2014 09:57
Send private message

Shadow Protect is great software however you are reliant on physical media and then someone relocating that media.

I recommend a two step process, one is to use Shadow Protect or similar to have a copy of the server OS and apps etc and then a secondary method, usually a cloud based solution for having the data held offsite. The cloud solution is fully automated, requires no human intervention and doesn't rely on any physical media.

If you lose your premise then you often lose your last backup as well so the offsite cloud backup gives you immediate access to your data.

Different strokes for different folks though. As mentioned earlier having access to replacement gear either via extended warranties or preferred supply agreements is also very important.

Matt.

 
 
 
 


401 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 51


  Reply # 1108173 14-Aug-2014 10:11
Send private message

... but I'm curious as to how much you think is bare minimum and what you think is overkill


What we think is actually completely immaterial.  The key here is; what is the bare minimum your business will accept?  You need to be finding these things out from your business:

 

     

  1. What is the bare minimum amount of data loss you can accept as a business?
  2. How long can the business function with not having "x"

 

These will determine your RPO (Recovery Point Objective - how much can we lose) and your RTO (Recovery Time Objective - how long can the business stand not having x)

Once you know those, you can start identifying where you cannot meet those objectives and start adjusting and planning as necessary.

The trick, and its not an easy one, is to communicate that the lower values your business give for those questions are (exponentially) proportional to the cost to implement.  The closer to zero in time, the higher the $$$ cost!  You'll need to discuss all that with your business  otherwise you'll get "we want zero data loss and zero downtime for everything".  And thats fine if the business is prepared to open the check book and stump up for the infrastructure that will be needed.


Edit: Tidied up some grammar a little.

20 posts

Geek
+1 received by user: 4


  Reply # 1108177 14-Aug-2014 10:20
Send private message

whas the 3 2 1 approach, 3 copies of your data on 2 backup mediums and 1 kept offsite.
I love backups, they make me feel warm and secure at night, like a big fuzzy blanket.
Image based backups are fantastic, and you never realise just how good until you have to use it.  
I presently have backups of Data onsite on some direct attached storage, some on a USB drive and some offsite in a DR site.  and I know I can pull files / servers back if I need to.


I guess my questions are this:
1) Are we dumb for not doing a backup image of the server and saving this offsite several times a day?  Should this be costly? - this comes down to how much the business can be without servers in the event of a failure, as for cost it depends you could image with SHadow protect and send i to a hard drive connected via USB, this could be restored to different hardware depending on transfer speeds and volumes of data, you could be up and running within a few hours - if you have access to spare hardware - server / drives etc.

2) If we do (1), do we need to run two servers? - that is for the business to decide.  if you had a spare server, you could use this to test your backups ( which is very important )  otherwise you could test into a VM if you have space etc.

3) Would you be storing your backup off-site locally, or in a different city altogether? - offsite for us is in the same city, that again comes down to the business and what is acceptible.

4) What do you do?  What would you do if you were me (considering it's a business and cost is an important factor!)? - have a meeting, discuss disaster recovery and business continuity ?? there are lots of options..  both physical and virtual 


2837 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 619


  Reply # 1108189 14-Aug-2014 10:44
Send private message

Are the servers runing RAID arrays?. or are they just single/multiple HDDs

1756 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 917


  Reply # 1108204 14-Aug-2014 10:48
Send private message

I backup my home server OS. I've used that backup several times, and I couldn't imagine trying to rebuild it from scratch, it would take me days to get it working properly again.

If I had a simple business, I'd be backing up the server and any important data twice daily or more, and rotating 3+ backup disks daily (1 or more in storage offsite, 1 in use, and 1 in transit).

I'm no expert, but I'd recommend setting up the built in server backup right now. Even a single daily onsite backup would be better than nothing.




Location: Dunedin

sxz



603 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 123


  Reply # 1108208 14-Aug-2014 10:51
Send private message

Thanks for the advice guys, sounds like image backup is the way to go - this shadow protect seems to be getting a bit of love (that is what our IT supplier is suggesting too).

Not sure if we use RAID of any configuration I'm sorry.  

13531 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 2309

Trusted
Subscriber

  Reply # 1108219 14-Aug-2014 11:15
Send private message

Before you can design a solution you need to understand the requirements, especially the NFRs.

1. Protecting against data loss is a given, but are you ok with losing 1 minute, 2 minutes, an hour, or a day of data? 
2. What downtime can you tolerate? A week, a day, an hour, or none at all?
3. Do you have good bandwidth so you could do online backup or host something elsewhere?
4. What is the likely cause of problems? Computer blowing up, fire/theft, corruption through stupidity, data loss through someone deleting something manually, protection from automatic updates, etc.

Also beware that constant mirroring could mirror a problem, so make sure it's versioned somehow.




AWS Certified Solution Architect Professional, Sysop Administrator Associate, and Developer Associate
TOGAF certified enterprise architect
Professional photographer


Bee

591 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 109


  Reply # 1108222 14-Aug-2014 11:18
Send private message

We run 60 odd virtual servers,  all data is replicated to a DR site hourly and all servers are backed up to tape daily which is then sent off site.

We run BCP/ DR drills annually to ensure that in the event of a disaster we can restore everything within 48 hours and never lose more than 24 hours or data.

Our server room is fireproof and fitted with a gas system to extinguish any fire, we also have UPS for all servers and a diesel generator in the case of a power cut which we have used several times in the 5 years that I've been here.

The only weakness in our system is that we are in Takapuna and the DR site is in Albany - so there is a small chance that an earthquake or volcanic eruption could take out both buildings...





3116 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 538

Trusted

  Reply # 1108729 14-Aug-2014 23:29
Send private message

I normally recommend a rebuild image done monthly to an onsite hard drive, and then daily offsite backups for critical data.

If the building burns down, a week for your IT people to get the server up and running is not really your issue - getting the staff into a new office and your telephone lines will probably take longer.

If someone instantly deletes a key file, then yes you want to re-download and restore it instantly which a full image isnt required for.

So typically if the server dies, you would restore your onsite image, then start restoring the offsite data.

edit: it doesnt take a week to get back up and running - any decent IT guy can get a server rebuilt and software reinstalled in a day.




Ray Taylor
Taylor Broadband (rural hawkes bay)
www.ruralkiwi.com

There is no place like localhost
For my general guide to extending your wireless network Click Here




1323 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 282


  Reply # 1108851 15-Aug-2014 10:00
Send private message

Just a few things to consider....

How easy is the backup software to use. Do you have dedicated IT support (I guess not)
If you will be doing all this yourselves(Without IT support) , then consider how complex/easy the backup software is to use , especially for recovery.

You'll get users who will keep saving files to the desktop or local hard drive. They just cant help themslves
Also, if users archive email, chances are those email archives will also only be on the local PC
It also not unkown for some older pograms to save to the local PC, Ive seen a few accounting packages like this, with backup just to a USB stick (or worse the programs backs up to c: by default)
In these cases, those files/archives often wont be being backed up (there are ways to cover this of course)

Also setup your backup with email notification of fail/success to the Office manger . Dont assume the backup is working & do some test restores

Deleted files can often be easily recovered via Shadow copy , make sure thats working as it can save alot of time .
http://redmondmag.com/articles/2004/05/01/ooops-recovering-deleted-files-volume-snapshots-vs-undelete-40.aspx

sxz



603 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 123


  Reply # 1108881 15-Aug-2014 10:56
Send private message

1101: Just a few things to consider....

How easy is the backup software to use. Do you have dedicated IT support (I guess not)
If you will be doing all this yourselves(Without IT support) , then consider how complex/easy the backup software is to use , especially for recovery.

You'll get users who will keep saving files to the desktop or local hard drive. They just cant help themslves
Also, if users archive email, chances are those email archives will also only be on the local PC
It also not unkown for some older pograms to save to the local PC, Ive seen a few accounting packages like this, with backup just to a USB stick (or worse the programs backs up to c: by default)
In these cases, those files/archives often wont be being backed up (there are ways to cover this of course)

Also setup your backup with email notification of fail/success to the Office manger . Dont assume the backup is working & do some test restores

Deleted files can often be easily recovered via Shadow copy , make sure thats working as it can save alot of time .
http://redmondmag.com/articles/2004/05/01/ooops-recovering-deleted-files-volume-snapshots-vs-undelete-40.aspx


Good question.  We do have dedicated IT support who handles our backup/servers.  They talk to me because I am the only one in the business interested in IT.  The business owners know their files are backed up but do not grasp the difference between backed up word files/emails and a backed up image.  They hear 'backup' and think they are OK, not realising its a whole continuum, and that we can always do better.

IT is telling me we should back up images and is pricing new plans for us, I just thought I would ask you guys what your opinion was - whether it is worth it.  Our data is pretty important to us, so from the help you guys have given I think I'll be recommending backing up an image.  Where too and how often - I will leave to IT to give me some options...

I think our biggest risk is no-one here in the office knows where or how it's backed up, just that it is, and IT is taking care of it.  I think I need to make it my job to at least understand how it is working and what the options are!

Cheers for your help.

294 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 65


  Reply # 1108933 15-Aug-2014 11:51
Send private message

sxz:
1101: Just a few things to consider....

How easy is the backup software to use. Do you have dedicated IT support (I guess not)
If you will be doing all this yourselves(Without IT support) , then consider how complex/easy the backup software is to use , especially for recovery.

You'll get users who will keep saving files to the desktop or local hard drive. They just cant help themslves
Also, if users archive email, chances are those email archives will also only be on the local PC
It also not unkown for some older pograms to save to the local PC, Ive seen a few accounting packages like this, with backup just to a USB stick (or worse the programs backs up to c: by default)
In these cases, those files/archives often wont be being backed up (there are ways to cover this of course)

Also setup your backup with email notification of fail/success to the Office manger . Dont assume the backup is working & do some test restores

Deleted files can often be easily recovered via Shadow copy , make sure thats working as it can save alot of time .
http://redmondmag.com/articles/2004/05/01/ooops-recovering-deleted-files-volume-snapshots-vs-undelete-40.aspx


Good question.  We do have dedicated IT support who handles our backup/servers.  They talk to me because I am the only one in the business interested in IT.  The business owners know their files are backed up but do not grasp the difference between backed up word files/emails and a backed up image.  They hear 'backup' and think they are OK, not realising its a whole continuum, and that we can always do better.

IT is telling me we should back up images and is pricing new plans for us, I just thought I would ask you guys what your opinion was - whether it is worth it.  Our data is pretty important to us, so from the help you guys have given I think I'll be recommending backing up an image.  Where too and how often - I will leave to IT to give me some options...

I think our biggest risk is no-one here in the office knows where or how it's backed up, just that it is, and IT is taking care of it.  I think I need to make it my job to at least understand how it is working and what the options are!

Cheers for your help.


and the other thing i see all the time when it not a image backup and just data backups - you got the data, but no one is left that know how to setup the apps again, no install doc, no media to do the install with and no license key / detail for the app - it would be a good idea to check that the IT people can do that and if not, to sort out that info now.

Create new topic



Twitter »

Follow us to receive Twitter updates when new discussions are posted in our forums:



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when news items and blogs are posted in our frontpage:



Follow us to receive Twitter updates when tech item prices are listed in our price comparison site:





News »

Intel reimagines data centre storage with new 3D NAND SSDs
Posted 16-Feb-2018 15:21


Ground-breaking business programme begins in Hamilton
Posted 16-Feb-2018 10:18


Government to continue search for first Chief Technology Officer
Posted 12-Feb-2018 20:30


Time to take Appleā€™s iPad Pro seriously
Posted 12-Feb-2018 16:54


New Fujifilm X-A5 brings selfie features to mirrorless camera
Posted 9-Feb-2018 09:12


D-Link ANZ expands connected smart home with new HD Wi-Fi cameras
Posted 9-Feb-2018 09:01


Dragon Professional for Mac V6: Near perfect dictation
Posted 9-Feb-2018 08:26


OPPO announces R11s with claims to be the picture perfect smartphone
Posted 2-Feb-2018 13:28


Vocus Communications wins a place on the TaaS panel
Posted 26-Jan-2018 15:16


SwipedOn raises $1 million capital
Posted 26-Jan-2018 15:15


Slingshot offers unlimited gigabit fibre for under a ton
Posted 25-Jan-2018 13:51


Spark doubles down on wireless broadband
Posted 24-Jan-2018 15:44


New Zealand's IT industry in 2018 and beyond
Posted 22-Jan-2018 12:50


Introducing your new workplace headache: Gen Z
Posted 22-Jan-2018 12:45


Jucy set to introduce electric campervan fleet
Posted 22-Jan-2018 12:41



Geekzone Live »

Try automatic live updates from Geekzone directly in your browser, without refreshing the page, with Geekzone Live now.



Are you subscribed to our RSS feed? You can download the latest headlines and summaries from our stories directly to your computer or smartphone by using a feed reader.

Alternatively, you can receive a daily email with Geekzone updates.