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6 minute readIs Your Backup Server Serving You?

Understand the weaknesses in your backup system

You need to be careful that you don’t lose data during system backups, avoid corruption, refresh your storage arrays, and have a plan for both backups and de-duplication.

Why Backup Servers Are Important

IT Data Center equipment, including a server, is expected to function effectively without hitches. Situations occur, however, where unplanned failures take place. Equipment in data centers is not built to last forever and tends to be subject to failure from time to time, hence the need for backups.

Backup servers are important as they serve as the last resort for organizations to restore lost data. Data can be lost, for example, due to human error, equipment failure, or physical disasters. Any of these challenges show the need for your Data Center to have good backup systems.

Data Domain works seamlessly with existing system configurations and third party solutions.

Your needed backup servers can be kept remotely or within the organization’s data center. Organizations are advised to have both on-site and off-site backup servers. Remember the triple redundancy rule: have three backups and one of which should always be kept off-site.

After creating the backups, the need to verify the integrity of these backups is key, and the backups can then be encrypted for safekeeping. Ensuring these redundant systems are set up, functioning, and are available is just the beginning to preventing data loss. Subsequent steps include frequent updates and adequate maintenance routines in order to ensure that data is preserved.


4 Must-Haves of Server Backups

It’s important to ensure that all server backups cover four essential areas:

End-to-End Verification: ensures that the data submitted for backup is the same as the source data. End-to-end verification is performed inline, when the backup is running, so any detected errors can be corrected immediately, without having to restart the process.

Data Corruption: It is possible that backed-up data can be corrupted when new data is added to it. This is the result of the backed-up data getting overwritten when new data is added. There are a few ways to avoid this problem. One is to have multiple data wipes of the server, with a 3-pass or 7-pass overwrite. The challenge with data wipes is new data cannot be added to existing data, if the original data was wiped without being saved. Another option is a deduplication system that avoids the problem of corrupted data. Data Domain is an example of an inline deduplication storage system that uses high-speed processing, working seamlessly with existing system configurations and third party solutions. Data is not corrupted with deduplication services.

Fault Detection and Healing: Over time, drives used to store data can fail, so access to those files becomes more of a challenge. Consistent replacement of drives to avoid failure can help. Again, deduplication systems carry out a background process that helps to automatically detect errors and correct them before they cause failure.These systems also help protect against double-drive failure, or removing the wrong drives, in the event of drive failure. Such systems include spare drives in every shelf, which will automatically fail over if a drive fails, then send a signal to the administrator to replace the failed drive.

Rebuild the System: No system can be fully protected, even with the above mechanisms in place. In most cases, these failures are sudden and catastrophic, because the systems do not detect them before they happen. Since data integrity is the priority, deduplication systems might be the best option. The systems use self-describing metadata, which helps to completely rebuild the system in these worst-case scenarios, and can do so within a short time.


Deduplication Systems

Deduplication software distributes parts of the process to the backup server, leaving the deduplication system to focus on determining what is unique and writing the new data to the disk. With the use of, for example, EMC’s Data Domain Boost, only data peculiar to the backup server is transferred to the Data Domain system. Such a system also gives backup applications control over replication.

Benefits of Deduplication Systems

Deduplication increases the speed of creating backups

Speed: Deduplication increases the speed of creating backups by 50% without even altering the current backup configuration. Systems with this software can perform about 1.5 times its closest competitor due to its ability to achieve high backup speeds.

Data Transfer

Efficient Data Transfer: With a deduplication system, only unique data has to be transferred from the backup to the system. This means that up to 99% less data has to be moved across servers, even for full backups, allowing more efficient use of existing resources.

You don’t have to manage thousands of physical or virtual tape cartridges anymore

Complexity: You don’t have to manage thousands of physical or virtual tape cartridges anymore, greatly simplifying your day-to-day production and disaster recovery operations and reducing time, effort, and cost associated with handling and managing tape cartridges.

Automatic load balancing of the backup workload

Reliability: Automatic load balancing of the backup workload across all the available paths to maximize performance and efficiency are possible with deduplication services. They provide automatic path fail-over which improves the reliability of the backups. This ensures that backups continue to run even if a data path is lost, resulting in higher backup completion success percentages.


Next Steps

The need for Server Backups for your data cannot be overemphasized as they serve as a last resort for backed-up data and archives in the event of server failure. Server Backups should not just be able to archive data but aid easy retrieval, on request, while preserving data integrity. Data Domain systems achieve these goals while reducing the storage space required for backup and the time needed for retrieval and backup of customers’ data.


Get Maintenance and Support on Storage and Servers

Reliant Technology provides service, support, and advice on hardware and can save you 50%, or more, over OEM pricing. You can get storage for less. We can share solutions for moving your older storage arrays into your backup rigs.

As Data Center and storage experts, Reliant Technology is available to provide consultations and solutions to your server backup needs. Our experienced engineers and IT specialists are standing by and ready to help you.

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Reid Smith-Vaniz

by Reid Smith-Vaniz

Reid is the founder and CEO of Reliant Technology and for 14 years has pursued his mission to remove the pain associated with maintaining IT infrastructure. Reid writes on common challenges related to maintaining, servicing, tracking, budgeting, and upgrading technology.

Reliant Technology Cares

Reliant Technology Cares

When you have Reliant Technology support your data center, you help us support SERV International and provide thousands of meals for starving children.

About Reliant Technology

As Data Center and storage experts, Reliant Technology is available to provide consultations and solutions to your server backup needs. Our experienced engineers and IT specialists are ready to help you determine the best option for your Data Center. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, or if you would like to submit an article for possible publication, please, get in touch with us.

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