Replication technologies can eliminate the traditional backup limitations by efficiently replicating data, either continuously or on a scheduled basis, to a backup server at a centralized location, such as a corporate data center or headquarters office.
By replicating remote office data to a central location, organizations can eliminate the need for providing a tape drive, tape media, and backup administrators at each remote location. In addition, by centralizing the backup process, organizations may reduce costs while ensuring that all data, including remote office data, is protected.
Using replication technologies assumes that some form of network connectivity exists between the remote offices and the central location. For example, the servers at the remote offices are typically connected via an Internet protocol (IP) network to the central location. Replication software is installed on all remote office servers as well as at the central server. In addition, the backup software is installed at the central site in order to perform the tape backup at the central location. As data is written at the remote office the changed area within the file is automatically and transparently replicated to the central location. All files can be replicated in this manner, including files that are open or in use on a server. Organizations have the option to replicate on a continuous basis, meaning every time a file is changed, that changed block is replicated to the central location.
Another option is scheduled-based replication. Many organizations use their network connection during the day for daily processing, so in order to maximize the usage of the network, companies may choose to schedule the replication process during off-peak hours. This scheduling capability takes the load off of the production servers and the network during peak business hours – preserving bandwidth for other critical tasks. In addition, organizations can maximize the network by throttling the amount of bandwidth that is used for replication.
Once data arrives at a central location, via an IP connection, backup administrators can perform consistent and convenient backups of the remote office data. The backup of the remote office data is performed in the same way as all other data backups. The replication jobs occurring at the remote offices can all be easily and cost-effectively managed at the central location. If data must be restored, the backup administrator can also restore data instantaneously from the central site back to any of the remote sites, without having to rely on remote office personnel to manage and restore data from tape.
In a time of shrinking budgets, it is essential to cut costs to keep companies running, while ensuring that companies’ valuable resources are not jeopardized. While the traditional backup approach meets the needs of protecting central location data, it still leaves organizations exposed to potential loss of remote office data. By combining replication technologies with traditional back-up software, organizations can feel confident that their remote office data is protected while saving money by not having to invest in remote office hardware and administrators at each and every remote site.
Sheri Atwood is the senior product marketing manager at VERITAS Software. Atwood is responsible for product marketing activities and strategies for VERITAS’ disaster recovery solutions, with a focus on replication. VERITAS products enhance local high availability and site disaster recovery strategies for IT organizations worldwide. Prior to joining VERITAS Software in August 2001, Sheri was a product manager in network storage at Sun Microsystems. She received her Bachelor’s degree from University of California, San Diego and is currently pursuing her MBA at San Jose State University in San Jose, Calif.