It’s an unpleasant reality of many an IT professional: That 3 a.m. phone call that a crucial system is down, its data irretrievable, and the last backup needs to be restored now. Not only can that mean scrambling to find keys amidst unsavory utterances, retrieving the latest backup media from an offsite location, and getting to the data center, but restoring data can take hours for a first-tier filer (and that’s if everything goes well).
As we celebrate World Backup Day this week, wouldn’t it be nice if data could be automatically protected, even in the event of losing an entire rack of hardware? Wouldn’t it also be nice if backups for critical Windows or NetApp filers could be minimized in scope, making your life easier when preparing for and responding to an emergency?
Easier Backups: Preparing for Inevitable Hardware Failures
This is that all-important yet oh-so-mundane part of life as an IT pro. You know things will eventually go wrong, just not when. To be prepared you back up critical data, right? With email servers, databases, home directories, and business-critical files all in the mix, this can be a fairly daunting process. That is, if you’re using conventional backup strategies.
With object storage, however, much of that pain goes away. By nature, an object storage cluster protects data internally by either creating multiple copies (replicas) of the files within it or by using a RAID-like erasure coding algorithm to provide similar levels of protection in a smaller footprint. Content that is more immediately important can have a higher level of protection, then after some period of time when it is no longer as actively needed, the protection level can be automatically scaled down to free up resources for newer data. Best-of-breed solutions will even let you mix and match protection schemes as needed to best meet your business and departmental needs.
To get more to the point: When you store files in object storage, no further back up is needed.
Certain types of files and data (rapidly-updated databases come to mind) do not naturally mesh well with object storage, and are still better-suited for residing on a filer. So what about those filers I mentioned earlier? Keep them! They are great for people and applications that require a traditional file system. You may be asking, “How do I move the data from those filers into object storage?” This was a problem we set out to solve, and last year, we launched a groundbreaking new product called FileFly for Swarm to help you do just that. FileFly can automatically migrate other files (based on whatever policy you like) into Swarm object storage, allowing you to realize the benefits of automatic protection. This essentially leaves just a slice of your former data backup needs. Less data living on filers = less data to back up = more time for you to focus on other more important (or, let’s face it, fun) tasks.
Check out part 2 of this blog on Thursday, World Backup Day, about how you can get your data back almost instantaneously when disaster strikes!