Off-Site Backup Musings

23 04 2009

This is an exerpt from an email I sent to one of my colleagues. All these questions were off the top of my head, but hopefully will help someone in the process of backup strategy…Thoughts?

There are many things to consider with offsite backup of virtual OR physical machines. Some things to think about…

1. What are your most important applications? How long can these be down, worst case scenario?

2. What kind of restores do you TYPICALLY have to perform? Is your current onsite backup strategy fulfilling at least 95% of your restore needs?

3. Based on the answers to the 2 above, what solutions are available to cover you for that 5%, worst case scenario type of restore?

4. If you are considering ANY kind of warm or hot offsite solution, such as vm snapshots, ready to be mounted and ran, is that critical application data (email, databases, web services, etc.) up to the minute?

5. If the data is not up to the minute, how will you get it up to the minute?

6. If the data IS up to the minute, how will you FAIL BACK, when the primary site comes back online? How will those changes be replicated and added to the primary site?

7. How much is all this going to cost? Do a bang for the buck analysis based on restore time. For example, how much money will it cost me to get email back up and running in 4 hours as opposed to 8 hours. Or 10 minutes as opposed to 1 hour…..

8. How much bandwidth (upstream primarily) do I have to be able to send data to an outside party?

9. How do I get the data once its offsite, do I have to download it? Can I just go pull the device out of the rack and get my data?

10. If the power is out, what are people doing anyway? J

A lot of this really boils down how deep you want to go down the rabbit hole, but hopefully this will get you started. Before looking at solutions, you (and us too) need to figure out what’s acceptable down time, and build a strategy from there.

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