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Old 12th December 2005, 05:17 PM   #1
Linda
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Default Local Vs Remote Data Backup - The Pros And Cons

Here is one of the debate of remote or local backup.


"Backing up your data should be an essential part of your daily routine. Unfortunately for many businesses this simply isn't the case. The only time data backup crosses their mind is when they have a hard disk crash or a serious spyware or virus infection."

Catch it @ http://www.smallbusinessbrief.com/ar...ng/003497.html

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Old 12th December 2005, 07:07 PM   #2
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It's clearly not an A vs. B question, but rather that both local and remote backups are to be performed for any reasonably important data.

Tape drives are nice, fast and hold a lot of stuff (up to many many gigabytes). DVD-RWs are also fast and hold a lot of stuff (up to 4.7GB, normally ... but expanding), and can be used by the WinZip/DOS procedure elsewhere in this forum if they are formatted properly. (Tape drives cannot normally be used for the WinZip/DOS procedure, as they have special recording needs.)

Daily:
Definitely make local backups for data-based problems, i.e. user errors, disk corruption, viruses, etc. Never back up to the same disk as your data resides on.

Weekly:
Definitely keep a backup somewhere off-site, too, as recommended in the article. Make it accessible to whomever will need to restore the data in case of extreme emergency.

Monthly:
Also, keep "disk images" of any critical systems, i.e. servers and a standard employee workstation. These will help you to get back up and running quickly in the event that you can no longer use the systems at the office and need to start from scratch with a new machine in a new location.

This is an issue with tape-based backups ... will you be able to find a machine with the proper equipment in an emergency? Most systems do not come with any tape backup drive, but most (these days) do come with a CD burner and/or DVD-burning capability. It does you no good to have a terabyte of data on a tape drive if you have to order a new drive from the manufacturer and wait a week for it to arrive.

For most companies it comes down to; (a) can I afford a robust backup procedure and the software and hardware it will require and (b) do I have someone who can set it up and maintain it and who knows how to get the data back quickly?

Regardless ... a backup procedure cannot be defined and implemented quickly enough. It's a must-do.

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Old 12th December 2005, 08:00 PM   #3
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I noticed that there was no mention of sneakernet for an offsite backup solution. I've been using sneakernet for years as a simple cost effective solution to transfer data. Heck... I even used it before I had internet connection. Just in case any newbies don't know what sneakernet is, it's when you take a copy of your data on whatever media you like and physically transport the data to another location.

With so many large capacity portable storage solutions available today it's very practical to carry a copy of important data to another location. It may not be for all businesses however for a small business it could be as simple as the owner taking a copy home once a week or as often as necessary.

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Old 25th May 2006, 06:06 PM   #4
don_lewis93
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Question Forget Backup, What about Recovery solutions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda
Here is one of the debate of remote or local backup.


"Backing up your data should be an essential part of your daily routine. Unfortunately for many businesses this simply isn't the case. The only time data backup crosses their mind is when they have a hard disk crash or a serious spyware or virus infection."

Catch it @ http://www.smallbusinessbrief.com/ar...ng/003497.html
Interesting discussion on online vesus local backup. There is another category of solutions that are called "recovery" versus "backup". I was wondering if anyone had stories to share regarding these type of utilities.

These "recovery" solutions complement the basic premise of copying your data files onto CD/DVDs, external (USB) hard drives as well as online / remote backups. They store compressed image (backup) files on a hidden area in your hard drive which is safe from accidental deletion, viruses, and other malware problems. So with the exception of computer theft or natural disaster, all other data loss scenarios are covered using these recovery utilities.

The idea is "what do small businesses (w/o an IT Dept) do if they have either system problems that cause data loss (i.e. virus attack, failed software installation) or a total system failure"? The recovery software - less than $100 price for most products - fixes your PC (gets back all computer data) in less time than it would take to individually reload Windows, reload all your programs, set your preferences and transfer back all your files (which hopefully was backed up elsewhere beforehand).

Three software vendors to note: Symantec (www.symantec.com) offers Norton Ghost and GoBack, Acronis (www.acronis.com) offers True Image, and FarStone Technology (www.farstone.com) offers RestoreIT. Has anyone used these before?


Last edited by don_lewis93; 25th May 2006 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 6th June 2006, 11:23 PM   #5
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Excellent, excellent, excellent, don_lewis93!
Quote:
"recovery" versus "backup"
This is the most important distinction facing most website owners.

Why "backup"? To "recover".

First of all ... your web server WILL be hacked. Make no mistake about it, whatever protections are put in place by whoever WILL have holes, and exploits WILL be found.

Simply put: You MUST backup your data.

The definition of web "recovery" is that you'll NEED to get your website and its associated databases and whatnot back up and running in (near-)identical condition as quickly as you can.

Here's the thing: It is really quite easy to do.

1) What do you NEED to backup?

The HTML and image and script and ...whatever... files that make your website what it is. In other words, backup the entire folder that holds all of your website stuff. In a typical web server setup, this means every bit of that stuff in the /var/www/ (Unix) or /public_html/ (Windows) folder.

If you use databases, you need to have copies of what are called "dumps" from EVERY database that makes your website work. You know who you are ...

2) How often should I backup?

There are 3 answers to this question: Daily, Weekly and Monthly.

Daily: Everything website-related (as above)
Weekly: Same as Daily (for recovery beyond a Daily situation)
Monthly: All of the above, plus any "system files" that make the computer work (for quick replacement in case the computer is hacked ... although you should use the 'clean' Weekly or Daily backup to set up your web stuff on a new server, frankly. A hacked server is not to be trusted in ANY way.)

3) Why Daily backups?

Imagine that you have hired a new website developer and mistakenly given them permission to "do whatever you think is right". They royally mess up the files on your live web server. (ouch) Whaddyagonnado?

Copy the files from Yesterday's backup into the web stuff folders, and you're only one day behind. Problem solved.

4) Why Weekly backups?

Everything is cool with your website, but the server gets hacked on Tuesday and some of your Daily backups are questionable, for some reason ... while you are on vacation! (ouch) Whaddyagonnado?

Copy the files from the recent Weekly backup into the web stuff folders, and you're only three days behind ... until you can get a new, 'clean' server provisioned and set up. Problem solved.

4) Why Monthly backups? See above.

The point is that you simply MUST backup your web stuff if you hope to recover from a serious server problem quickly. And you MUST have the files available to you even if your web server has exploded or something. Do a backup that ends up with the files on your own hard drive or tape drive or CD or DVD, or whatever. Some place where you can get to them in the event of a serious malfunction at the server.

Remote backups are the most-likely method that a typical website owner would have available to them (as opposed to physical backups, like burning a CD for yourself), and must be investigated and implemented ASAP. If your business depends at all on web traffic, this is simply something that you cannot not do.

Google your options RIGHT NOW, if you don't have a satisfactory solution in place.

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Old 7th June 2006, 02:26 PM   #6
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Through the 90's I was selling, building and training in the use of specialized systems for vertical markets. Most of my customers had never owned computers before and I spent several days showing them how to use the systems.


At first with floppies and then with tapes, I stressed daily backups using an A, B, C rotation of daily disks/tapes and forever copies of monthlys. I had installations in about 20 states, from NJ to AZ, and would get a call to restore a crashed system on a fairly regular basis. Hardly ever did they have a current backup. In fact, stopping to think about it, I recall a couple of accounts who paid me twice to get their systems back to work. It seems some people never learn.

One other thing that has not been mentioned is redundant hard drives. Either 2 in the same box, or even better, one in a seperate box on the network. I've installed systems with 2 indentical servers, one just sitting there "on standby". Rename a couple of drives and you're back in business.

Not good for a catastrophic loss, but you can be back in business in minutes should a component crash.

In the seventies, one of my first systems was a Control Data "HawK" that had a 17 inch hard drive, with a removable redundant disk, about the size of a large pizza and maybe 1 1/2 inches thick. Lift the top, remove the disk, set it in the carrying cover and walk out the door. An employee had that duty every night upon closing, just taking it for a ride in their car for the night, but it was off the premises.

Only trouble with that system was lightning coming in on the phone lines and frying the multiplexors and several cash receipt printers. Went all through the system and just zapped the last things downstream. No such thing as battery backups, surge protectors, etc. At least nothing anyone had ever heard of.

When the phone company went to put in my first leased line between two locations, they did not know what a modem was. Tried to wire up everything direct and were surprised when it didn't work. They had to go to the Newport News Shipyard and borrow a couple of modems to get the system working. Even charged me for the "site inspection" or whatever, where they were supposed to determine what was needed.

Times have changed, but people still don;t do backups as they should (myself included).

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Old 24th June 2006, 06:34 PM   #7
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Wink Go with remote if you can

My 2 cents: If you can afford it, go with remote off site backup. A lot of different companies offer different levels of backups. If you are looking to backup data that is sitting on a single machine that has access to the Internet then use a backup provider. If you have a bigger business that has a server(s) with a lot of data and possible your own mail server then you should be using both local and remote backups. You can read the above messages about the pros and cons of each.

One last note, if you are a laptop user and have all your data on it, you should look at a remote backup provider also. Especially if you travel a lot with it. This way if you lose something you really need the next day for that big meeting you can get online and download a saved backup online.

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Old 14th July 2006, 02:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrScott21
One last note, if you are a laptop user and have all your data on it, you should look at a remote backup provider also. Especially if you travel a lot with it. This way if you lose something you really need the next day for that big meeting you can get online and download a saved backup online.

Feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or anything else.
I am actually looking for a back stratgety for our remote laptop users. I don't like the remote backup provider because what happens if you can't get to the internet or the OS won't work? Being able to restore local docuements is the most likly problem, but what happens when the OS is messed up and we need to completely restore the laptop?

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