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Need a Strategy for Backup and Data Growth? Read This First

Servers, Storage and Networking | Posted on June 2, 2014 by Emily A. Davidson

Before you make any decisions about backup and replication, there’s one critical thing you need to do. When choosing a backup solution, the first thing you need to do is build a snapshot of your current data usage to gauge where you are now, and what you may need to meet future demand. One of the easiest ways to do that is using Veeam Backup and Replication Version 7. It’s what our own IT team chose, and we recommend it to all our SMB clients.

Why you need a data usage snapshot

A full snapshot of your data usage is critical to gauge exactly what you need from a backup solution now, and in the future. When building a data usage snapshot you should consider the following:

  • For each host backed up, the amount of data backed up per filesystem
  • For NAS systems, the amount of data backed up per file share
  • For databases, the amount of data backed up per database or at least for all databases on the system.

For SMBs, this is often a simple spreadsheet, with breakdowns or pivot tables to categorize the data growth by business function, business-unit or even just the originating host. We recommended that enterprises adhere to the 3:2:1 rule. This means, you should always have 3 copies of that data, stored on 2 different forms of media, with 1 of those being offsite. Choosing a solution with automated built-in WAN acceleration will help you solve for the daily change rate down your WAN pipe as well as save on the cost of expensive hardware-based WAN accelerators.

Why you should care about data growth

When you’re thinking of data backup, besides planning for disaster recovery, you also need to build a model of data growth trends to forecast future data growth. You need to look at both backup data and how that factors in to the natural cycles of your business. Perhaps you have a retail boom at Christmas, or quarterly or month-end goals to meet? You need to consider these spikes as they cause significant changes in data usage. Once you have the numbers over a year, average them out to see your data growth trend. Once you have a clear snapshot of your storage growth, the final step is to look at your backup and replication strategy holistically. Ask yourself these 7 questions:

  1. If you don’t backup 100% of your data, how much data are you willing to lose?
  2. What are your 2015 goals for Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTO)?
  3. Are you using storage snapshots for backup and granular restores?
  4. Are you backing up both physical and virtual environments?
  5. Can you recover virtual machines instantly?
  6. How much are you currently spending on backup solutions?
  7. How much could you restore from a critical data loss?

Now, you may be thinking: this whole thing is great, but it sounds like a lot of work. I don’t have time. I’m too busy expanding capacity, my backup windows are fine, and I can’t justify the cost of backing up more frequently. You’re tired of hearing the ill-fated cost and effect of a data disaster.

How Softchoice will give you a data snapshot

Softchoice offers a funded backup TechCheck (that means no cost to you) led by a Softchoice certified storage consultant. Using an agent-less data collection tool, our experts provide a fact-based portrait of your current backup and recovery infrastructure that identifies opportunities with next steps that inform cost savings, performance improvements and capacity planning. Essentially, we can provide a data snapshot for you. If you would like to learn more, download an overview of the Softchoice Backup TechCheck or check out the details of our upcoming webinar below.

Recent Webinar: Veeam Backup and Replication

If you are renewing your Veeam licensing, or considering Veeam as a new solution, check out our recent webinar. We explain why we use Veeam, and how Veeam Backup and Replication and the Softchoice Backup TechCheck work better together. View the webinar recording.

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