Redundancy & Backup Concepts – Back Up Redundancy

By Andrew Clifford

We have come across many business owners who are constantly pondering weather or not they need some sort of backup solution for their data. They ask us, “Why do I need a local back up?” Or “Why should I have a local backup and a cloud solution?” Backup concepts are sometimes falsely conceived, so thanks to our Technical Operations Manager, Geoff Brady, you can now use this webpage as a reference in understanding Redundancy & Backup Concepts.

Single Drive Setup:

Pros: Affordable, Easy to manage Cons: Single Point of Failure; No redundancy Comments: Typically found in PC s Failure Risk: If the single drive fails, the system is offline; data integrity may be compromised

RAID 0 Drive Setup:

Pros: Affordable, Expandable Drive Space Easy to manage Cons: Single Point of Failure; No redundancy Comments: Uses RAID Control Card to make Windows think there is only one drive Failure Risk: If one of the drives fail, the system is offline; data integrity may be compromised

RAID 1 (Mirror) Drive Setup:

Pros: Cost-effective solution for a good level of drive redundancy Cons: Expansion is limited Comments: Uses a RAID Control Card to mirror data from one drive to another. Windows sees one hard drive, not two Failure Risk: If one of the drives fail, the system will switch to the mirror backup and continue operation

RAID 5 (Stripped) Drive Setup:

Pros: More Expensive, but excellent redundancy for the cost; expandable storage for server growth Cons: Cost for third drive, slightly more complex setup Comments: A RAID 5 essentially writes a little bit of the file to each drive. Windows sees one hard drive, not three Failure Risk: If the a single drive fails, the system will continue to operate uninterrupted

Backup and Restore Processes

Local File and System State Backup:

Pros: Affordable, Software included in windows Cons: Reloading of operating system necessary Time to restore: Moderate

Local System Snapshot Backup:

Pros: Local image provides complete system and file recover; can be virtualized if necessary Cons: Requires 3rd party software Time to restore: Fast

Cloud Based File Backup:

Pros: Offsite backup; Time retention (e.g. 30 days) Cons: Restore needs download or data shipped to site from vendor; Reload of OS. SQL and Email require special backup software Time to restore: Slow

While there are many products that perform backup operations, the process to the left are the three main methods; Local file and system state; snapshot (VSS), offsite (cloud) backup.The important concept here is to have an over multi-faceted approach to a disaster recovery. Typically, an organization would engage in not only hardware redundancy,but two backup plans; a local and off-site.The important concept here is to have an over multi-faceted approach to a disaster recovery. Typically, an organization would engage in not only hardware redundancy, but two backup plans; a local and off-site.

Time definitions: Slow: 10-15 technical hours; 3-5 days business days Moderate: 6-10 technical hours; 2-3 business days Fast: 3-5 technical hours; 1-2 business days Time does not include resolving hardware failures.

Andrew works for MMA Systems, a Phoenix IT Support company. MMA systems serves the greater Arizona region and has been established 8 years ago. You can also see some of Andrew’s work at Tempe Web Design.

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