When talking about enterprise IT environments backup used to be one of the key buzz words that was used by industry professionals. People would go on about how important it is to back up your files regularly and to test those backups. People were using tapes to back up all of their important files and databases on a daily basis as well as then rotating those tapes and storing them both on and off site in order to ensure that multiple copies of that data were always available in several locations.
As the technologies behind these IT systems and the infrastructure that they rely on has been improved backups are starting to become less all-encompassing than they once were. Does this mean that you don’t need to back up any more? No it certainly does not, backups are still very important of course because they prevent you from losing your data.
But is backup enough for the modern enterprise?
No it definitely is not and the reason is this – if your computer system crashes at 4PM on a Friday afternoon do you think that restoring to the backups from Thursday night will be sufficient? For many companies this in itself would be a disaster because it would mean that all of the work done throughout the day on Friday would have been lost. Not to mention the downtime involved in mounting and then restoring from last night’s tape backups.
The modern alternative: Near real time replication
Computers are so powerful now and bandwidth is so fruitful that it is now possible to perform real time or at least near real time file replication and synchronisation. For example, there is a program called GS Rich copy 360 Enterprise that allows you to do just this – you can replicate your data set from one location to another at as many points during the day as you wish. Furthermore, thanks to their WAN optimization technologies this can even be done from one site to another.
The advent of this type of technology really changes the game when it comes to disaster recovery and when you consider that with this technology you could restore from total disaster and only use the last hour of data or perhaps even less it really makes nightly backups seem pretty old fashioned and like an outdated method of data protection.
As this software is further developed and as the bandwidth available to businesses of all types and sizes is increased this type of real time synchronisation of data will become the norm and it will perhaps replace traditional backups entirely in the not too distant future.
Rather than storing multiple copies of data on site companies will be able to replicate their data in real time to offsite locations and then automatically manage revisions and data archiving in those off site locations. The benefit of this is that companies can then leverage low cost data storage options provided by vendors that specialise in that field.