What should you look for in your BDR solution?
When we talk about disasters, what comes to mind most often are natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods. Very few think about things like malware or cyber-attacks. All of these can impact your ability to continue doing business. You need to protect your data, so a good backup/disaster recovery solution should be an important part of your business continuity plan.
There are many backup/disaster recovery solutions out there and it can be difficult to navigate the many options available.
Here are few things to consider when shopping for a BDR solution:
Is the backup image-based or is it a file-based backup?
A file-based backup only backs up files and folders that are specifically selected. File-based backups typically require less capacity and cost less than an image-based backup. An image-based backup is a comprehensive snapshot of all the data on the server including files, folders, applications, and system configurations.
If your server crashes, file level backups typically take much longer to recover since you need to “start from scratch”, installing the operating system, configuring all the settings, installing the software applications, and then recovering the data. Keep in mind, that any files not selected in the backup would be lost permanently.
Because the image-based backup includes the operating system, all the settings, all the applications, and all the data, recovery time is much quicker and data loss is drastically reduced.
What is your Recovery Point Objective or RPO?
Each backup is a recovery point and you need to determine how much data loss is acceptable. Many backup solutions provide daily backups or a recovery point every 24hrs while some provide backup intervals as low as every few minutes creating multiple recovery points throughout the day.
Consider this… your backups run nightly and your server crashes at the end of the work day before the backup runs. There is a risk to lose an entire day’s data entry if you need to recover to yesterday’s backup.
A good BDR solution should provide a full image-based backup in customizable time intervals that start as low as every few minutes. This drastically reduces the potential amount of data loss.
What is your Recovery Time Objective or RTO?
In other words, how quickly do you need to recover from an outage? Many backup solutions provide backup to the “cloud”. This keeps your data safe but how quickly could you procure or build a new server, install the applications, set up your users and their profiles, and then recover the files and folders from the cloud? Even if you could get a replacement server overnight, it could take days to configure everything and recover the data. Is it ok to be down for days?
A solution that includes an onsite BDR appliance provides a substitute server for quick virtual recovery reducing downtime to minutes in the event of an outage.
Does the solution offer redundant backup and multiple recovery processes?
It’s important to have an offsite or cloud-based backup, but what happens if you suffer an internet outage when the backup is supposed to be running? You need to have both on and offsite components to your backup solution. It’s important to have this redundancy to maintain the backup process and keep your data safe.
What if the servers at the main office go down or, worse yet, a disaster strikes and you have remote workers or multiple sites that depend on access to data and applications on those servers? Not only do you need redundancy in the backup process, but you need to have multiple recovery options that include cloud recovery so your business can continue to operate even if the main site is off line.
Is the solution monitored and tested routinely?
Ok… so you have your backup/disaster recovery solution, it meets your RPO and RTO, it has redundancy built in, and it has multiple recovery processes. How do you know it is working? Make sure the solution includes monitoring and that you will get notifications of successful and failed backups. Make sure it is tested routinely to be sure the servers will boot in the virtual environment. Request periodic live testing of the disaster recovery environment so you know the environment will perform in a business continuity situation.