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Divide and conquer: a backup policy for every day


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The 31st March may be World Backup Day, but every day is Backup Day for us and our customers.

Created by a couple of concerned users of reddit, the social news website, the World Backup Day initiative aims to raise awareness of the importance of regular backups. And who can argue with that?

But what is regularly? Once a day? Once a week?

From an organisation’s point of view, the rule really comes down to this: back up data as frequently as necessary to ensure that what you lose in the period between backups is not going to irrevocably damage your business.

The trick, though, is to make sure you’re not unnecessarily backing up masses of legacy data on high-cost media alongside your business-critical data.

My advice to businesses managing their own data is, as I’ve suggested before, to adopt the approach that we take at Redcentric, i.e. to separate it into different categories:

  • Mission-critical – 5-10% of up-to-the-minute data, such as transactional data, that is so valuable that constant and immediate access is imperative.
  • Important – 20-30% of data that’s accessed regularly and is needed to support normal business activity.
  • Legacy – 70% of data, such as legacy files and rarely accessed emails, which are effectively dormant.

Once you’ve done this background analysis, it makes sense to treat each data type differently, not storing and backing up all data every hour on expensive storage media. Again, looking at our approach to our own data, we take the following steps:

  • Mission-critical – stored on high availability media and backed up (or to be more technically precise, replicated) hourly.
  • Important – stored on high availability media but backed up only once, at night.
  • Legacy – stored on low-cost media for regulatory and recovery purposes, away from our primary storage environment.

So that’s my advice for World Backup Day – data should be protected and stored based on it’s value to the business. This approach improves efficiency and can significantly reduce the cost related to data backup.



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