Data Backup and Recovery Options

Contributed by Jeff Drake

One of the most fundamental elements of any disaster recovery plan is data backup and recovery. If an IT staff lacks the ability to recover lost data following an incident or disaster, redundant hardware or hot sites are of only limited value. Relatively few years ago, planning a backup strategy was reasonably straightforward for the small-office-home-office (SOHO) and small-to medium-sized-business (SMB). Home users were limited to floppies and then more recently writable compact disks. Small to medium sized business owners typically maintained several servers, each with its own tape drive system that administrators manually changed on a regular basis. In more recent years, the options for data backup and recovery have increased for both of these markets to integrate new technologies, greater bandwidth and the need to integrate the data backup process across the entire server room to increase the overall efficiency of data backup operations and reduce the number of labor hours necessary to manage it. Additionally, the types of devices and data needing to be backed up have also grown exponentially and have increased the complexity of data backup and recovery strategies. This paper will describe some of the backup and recovery strategies and options available to the SOHO and SMB IT staff and explore ways to improve upon a traditional one tape drive per server backup solution specifically, as well as considering some of the newer sources of data that must be considered when a backup strategy is being developed.

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