One of the most common questions I get when engaging with a customer is “How do I make my environment safe from disaster? What is the best product to do that?”
Customers expect me to name a product and I really wish there was one I could give them. There are some really great products out there that do a lot, but no single product answers all the concerns a sysadmin should have.
Some common weaknesses in products that I have seen are:
- •Too cost prohibitive to cover every non-critical server, or too lightweight to cover mission critical infrastructure.
- •It takes too long to recover.
- •The product only covers virtual environments or doesn’t integrate with virtual environments at all.
Let’s take the above bullet points one at a time:
Cost Prohibitive. You don’t want to spend a fortune on your backups. Although there will always be some cost (safety is expensive in IT) there ARE ways to mitigate the cost. Costly backup solutions are typically more reliable, and you can trust your mission critical infrastructure to them with a clear mind. But what about your non-critical servers? What about the server that one guy in accounting uses to look at data from 15 years ago? Do you really want to pay that much to back that thing up? The answer is no. You need both a robust (see expensive) backup solution for you mission critical apps and a lightweight solution for non-mission critical.
It Takes Too Long to Recover. Disaster recovery takes time. Backups have to restore and just because you have a backup on disk doesn’t mean you can restore it in time to avoid costly downtime. A business continuity solution needs to be layered on top of traditional backup in order to really have a safety net. With RPO’s in minutes instead of days, BRS provides instant up capability that traditional backup just can’t do. That being said, it is NOT a replacement for backup. BRS maintains a steady replication of the server and it replicates everything – even those changes that your development team made to a critical production server three days ago and forgot to document.
Virtual Environment Support. Backup solutions that integrate with your virtual environments are essential. You have a world of capability with snapshotting from the hypervisor level. As a sysadmin I can’t afford not to take advantage of those capabilities. But you have physical servers, too… The solution has to take those into account. There are some products out there that do both, but once again we are on the road to being cost prohibitive.
Every product out there has holes and weaknesses that leave your environment exposed to issues. If you have a heterogeneous environment where everything works the same way, and you have plenty of cash to burn, well more power to you!
But for folks like me who didn’t win the lottery, the solution is relatively simple. Use multiple products to craft a solution that provides a holistic solution for disaster recovery. Big words, but the meaning is easy to grasp: Specialization. Specialization in software is a good thing. One product that tries to do everything will probably do nothing very well so, you need to use multiple products to get the best of everything.
How do I handle management for multiple products? The answer is easy: N3T’s PvDC Cloud Management Portal. Our portal consolidates management of multiple products that cover the entire environment in a holistic, single pane of glass management interface. The PvDC Management Portal gives you visibility into backup solutions and makes backup and BRS management easy. N3T’s PvDC products include:
PvDC File – Lightweight, cost effective, with hybrid options to backup and replicate backups off site.
PvDC Backup – Robust solution for your virtual environment that protects your most mission critical applications and replicates off site.
PvDC BRS – Business continuity solution that provides RPO’s (Recovery Point Objectives) in minutes with the click of a mouse button.
All of the above are great products on their own but when you combine them and customize them to your environment, they are a powerhouse trio. Try our services for free to see how easy management can be. Follow us on Twitter at @N3TTech or on LinkedIn at Net3 Technology to get all your pertinent cloud updates.