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Tuesday, 03 January 2012 21:22

The benefits of BDR in SMBs

Written by  Casper Manes

Your business is running smoothly, with customer orders coming into your website, emails from suppliers promising delivery times, and quotes from service providers on the next expansion to your business. Things are at the highest pace you have experienced all year, with deadlines looming, and then…disaster strikes. Whether it is a power surge, a virus, or a user error, systems go down and you need to get them back up immediately. You go to your IT team and ask for an ETA, and they can't meet your eyes as they mumble something that sounds like a day. After your heart starts beating normally again, you ask for an explanation to hear something about getting the tapes delivered from the off-site storage facility, and then running the last full backup, and then all the incremental backups that came after that, and then replaying the log files, and suddenly you are reaching for the bottle of aspirin. Hours that feel like days later, someone knocks on your door and you can smell the doom in the air. "One of the tapes is bad…but we restored everything up until last Thursday."

It's shocking how many times scenarios like the one above have played themselves out in businesses of every size and in every industry. And yet, people still think of tape backups as the only way to do data recovery. Fortunately, tapes are no longer the only game in town. Backup and Data Recovery (BDR) is the newest approach to protecting your data from disaster. BDR technologies provide SMBs with the kind of data replication, server snapshots, and rapid recovery that the largest e-commerce companies have, without the need for high cost clusters or redundant data centers, and without touching a single tape.

BDR solutions are based on network attached storage (NAS) appliances and replicate data from your file shares, databases, and even server operating systems. This replicated data is stored on dedicated appliances which are available instantly if a server fails and data must be restored, or can also be replicated off-site so that your data is protected even if you suffer a site disaster. This replication takes place over a secure VPN using your Internet connection, so there's no need for expensive couriers and scheduled pickups.

BDR replicates data at the block level, which means it can capture the most granular changes to your data, without the need for a backup window. BDR solutions can be configured to take snapshots as often as you want, and store those snapshots for as long as you need. Your data is secured throughout the normal operations of your business instead of waiting until the evening or weekend. In backup terms, that means your recovery point objective (RPO) can be measure in minutes instead of days.

With the data protected on the BDR NAS appliance, should a server fail, you can restore full functionality almost immediately. You can even perform bare metal restores to different hardware, which means your recovery time objectives (RTO) are also measured in minutes. Even if you had the tapes on site, restoring a server from tape can take hours, and there's always the risk that a tape is bad. With BDR you can go from a full server failure to back up and running in less time than it will take to call the CEO to tell him about the outage.

With BDR, SMBs can have enterprise class business continuity solutions at a fraction of the costs of a high availability DR site, or all the costs and administrative headaches of an off-site tape storage service. Backups can take place at any time without any impact to performance, restores can be done faster than you can order a tape to be delivered from the off-site storage facility, RPO and RTO measurements are in minutes instead of days, and off-site options can ensure you're back up and running even if a site disaster occurs. Look at BDR today as the right solution for your business continuity and disaster recover needs.

Casper Manes on behalf of IT Channel Insight, a site for MSPs and Channel partners where you can find other related articles to disaster recovery.