What is Disaster Recovery?

Published: 05 / 03 / 15

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In this article we will answer 2 very common questions asked by customers:

What is disaster recovery?

Followed closely by:

Do I need it?

All of our customers have a daily backup in place which will protect against any file deletions or corrupt data that can occur for any number of reasons. These daily backups ensure that you never have to worry about deleting a file or folder, we will be able to recover it. But what happens if your server and backup drives get stolen, or if a fire damages all your IT equipment? That is where disaster recovery comes in.

The term Disaster Recovery covers a broad range of services on offer from various sources on the internet. It can cover everything from restoring advanced backup images onto new servers, to providing temporary office space and access to your systems over the internet. The correct disaster recovery solution for you will depend on how you use your IT systems and the data you need to protect.

Image based backups are can be the basis of most disaster recovery solutions. These are snapshots of your server which you can place on a replacement server. Images can be taken differentially which means only changed data is backed up and backup sizes are kept small. These differ from conventional backup methods as they backup more than just the files and folders, they take a snapshot of everything on the drive. This means that you get an exact copy of your server when the backup is restored.

Having this style of backup does not, however, protect you against theft or fire. To overcome this, you may decide to store your images online out of harms way. To take this a step further, a lot of companies have “hot standby” servers available. These are virtual servers stored at a different location which regularly update with the data stored in backup images sent to them. For example, if I were to have a server called SOUTHERNSERVER in my office, I may take images of that server every hour and send those images over the internet to an exact copy of that server in another part of the country. The SOUTHERNSERVER-COPY will then take the latest image and apply it to itself making it a perfectly up to date copy. In the event of SOUTHERNSERVER breaking, the SOUTHERNSERVER-COPY can be booted up and provide up to date information in minutes.

This may all seem a little overkill for your requirements, so that brings us onto the question:

Do I need a disaster recovery solution?

Not everybody would see the benefits of a good disaster recovery system. In an ideal world, any company would be able to recover from a disaster but it just isn’t financially smart for some businesses. There has to be a line.

I would say that if any of the following are true, you would benefit with a disaster recovery solution:

  • You have a server which acts as an email server.
  • Your server runs business critical applications.
  • Your server is responsible for your company logins.
  • You run databases on your server/desktop computer.

All of the above can be very tricky to restore from a standard file-based backup, and having a disaster recovery solution would definitely help you sleep better at night.

If you have any questions about disaster recovery, please do call us. We are here to help on 08451 808030.

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