Highly Reliable Systems: Removable Disk Backup & Recovery


Backup Corner. What’s Your data worth?

By Darren McBride

From My Blog post at SMB Nation

Windows Server 2003 had around 50 million lines of code. Microsoft hasn’t said how much more code is in Server 2012, but some estimates put it the range of 80 Million lines. The OEM license for 2012 standard goes for around $800 (not counting user CALs).  I’ve wondered why backup software produced by major vendors, which consist of far fewer lines of code, are about the same price or more than the entire operating system. I’m talking about the cost of a server backup license from industry-leading companies.

Some of these backup products are based on physical machines while others are licensed for each server instance. Volume pricing and features vary, but in almost all cases, you pay as much or more for adding backup to your server as you did for to purchase the OS. Add these programs to the slate of BDR boxes being sold to MSPs and the costs escalate even further.

We’ve all heard the standard response: “What is your data worth?” I‘ve used it myself. But I’m not sure I can think of another example where an accessory or add-on to a product costs more than the main item. Imagine if your $40K automobile required a $40K insurance policy that was required to safely drive it. What if a $600 smart phone requiring a $600 carrying case to protect it? Server 2012 has two backup programs built in – the older imaging program and the new “file history” option. File history is primarily a user content backup system, not intended for bare metal recovery of the entire server. Microsoft has enhanced these integrated backup programs a little over the years, but the built in backup has been inadequate for most IT pros so most don’t consider using it as their primary backup method.

On the hardware side, most SMBs have migrated off tape, but the enterprise and “big data” still use a surprising amount of it for archival. A recent poll sponsored by Exagrid shows widespread dissatisfaction with the capabilities of many existing backup systems.  Speed is an important concern, as backup windows continue to grow. 97% of IT managers believe their data is somewhat or extremely vulnerable and most have experienced an incident of loss in the last year.

Following an incident, it takes an average of 7 hours to resume normal business operations. Some people are saying that in the future multi-site replication will take the place of conventional backup.

In the coming year, I hope to use The Backup Corner to address SMB backup, discuss various BDR and software platforms, and generally foster discussion on how to lower cost and improve the quality of backup. I’m interested in hearing pros and cons of backup solutions you’re using, including BDRs. What do you like about your BDR or backup software? What do you hate? Comments welcome.

What do you think?

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