Nov 25 2019

How to Choose the Right Data Recovery Solution for Your Business

The right backup solution is often the difference between a successful recovery and lost data.

Resilite Sports Products must protect its data from disasters, cybersecurity threats and employee mistakes. But if the Northumberland, Pa.-based company, best known for making gymnastics and wrestling mats, ever loses data, its new cloud backup service has it covered.

This past summer, the 70-employee, family-owned business migrated from disk and tape backup to cloud backup provider Druva. The result is a solution that’s cost-effective, easier to manage and that provides faster nightly backups and speedier recovery times.

“We don’t have to worry about swapping out drives,” says Luis Kay, Resilite’s IT administrator. “If there’s a natural disaster, we know our data is backed up and safe offsite.”

Businesses face many threats to their data, from ransomware and other security threats to natural disasters, equipment failure, and employee error, such as the accidental deletion of files.

To protect against these risks, IT leaders need to deploy appropriate backup and recovery tools to ensure business continuity.

Companies today have multiple ways to back up their data, from traditional in-house software and hardware combinations to backup storage appliances and the cloud.

Backup Is Easy in the Cloud for SMBs

Small and medium-sized businesses are increasingly comfortable with using the cloud for data backup because it’s cost-effective, easy to set up and requires less management, says Laurie McCabe, co-founder and partner at SMB Group.

“A lot of times they are pleasantly surprised they can afford it,” she says. “Also, they don’t have to worry about whether they did it right, because it happens automatically. And it’s offsite, so they don’t have to worry about losing their information in a fire, flood or hurricane.”

Resilite, for example, finds cloud backup much faster and easier to manage. Before it switched to the cloud, the company backed up its data to external hard drives and tape drives — a process that took six to eight hours each night. Now, with Druva, backup windows for different servers range from 30 to 90 minutes, Kay says.

The company’s data is also configured to back up to the cloud automatically, which saves the two-person IT team several hours of work a week. They no longer have to swap out drives in the morning and take them offsite, says Jeff Baker, Resilite’s vice president of marketing and technology.

“We have a small IT staff and don’t have a lot of time and resources if we go down,” Baker says. “We need to be able to take and fill orders, so it’s critical for us to be more effective in our backups. With Druva, we can get files quicker and easier, and we have peace of mind that our data is backed up.”

Resilite recently purchased four new Dell EMC PowerEdge rack servers, which house 6 terabytes of storage. The company needs that much storage because, in addition to backing up its Microsoft Office files and financial data, Resilite also maintains large graphics files. Typical high school or college wrestling mats are 42 feet wide and 42 feet long, so the company’s graphic designers must create high-resolution graphics in order to print at that size, Baker says.

Migrating to cloud backup was easy. Kay installed software agents on the company’s Windows servers and a Druva virtual machine on its virtualized server.

Resilite hasn’t needed to recover data yet. But the area in which the company is located often experiences severe summer storms, and lengthy power outages are not uncommon, Baker says. The company protects its servers with UPSs, but if one gets knocked out, Druva allows the company to recover in a few hours instead of days.

“I can log in to the Druva interface from anywhere I have internet access and restore files to any of the remaining servers,” Kay says. 

Adding Cloud Backup Can Beef Up Recovery

Rio Grande Pacific Corp., which owns four railroads and offers rail services such as hosted dispatch, uses both onsite and cloud backup to bolster its data recovery needs.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based company, which has standardized on Dell EMC servers and storage, uses VMware’s Site Recovery Manager to replicate VMs and 45TB of data from its primary data center in Fort Worth to a smaller, secondary site in Nebraska.

RGPC also backs up the data daily to a Barracuda Networks Backup 995 appliance at its main data center. From there, the data is backed up a second time to the Barracuda Cloud, says CIO Jason Brown. If both data centers go down, Brown can use the cloud to keep applications running.

“The best thing with Barracuda is the cloud replication and being able to spin up VMs in the cloud in a disaster recovery situation,” he says.

The Barracuda disk-based appliance, which has a total capacity of 80TB, deduplicates and compresses the data and currently stores a total of about 35TB. Nightly incremental backups take up about 600 to 900 gigabytes of space, he says.

Brown has used Barracuda as his backup solution for the past nine years and upgraded to the company’s third Barracuda appliance last November. Switching out the machines was simple, Brown explained. He plugged in the new appliance and alerted Barracuda’s support team, who remotely launched the data transfer between the two appliances.

RGPC also uses Barracuda for cloud-to-cloud backup. Employees use Microsoft 365 for office productivity and email, SharePoint Online for collaboration and OneDrive for online file storage; all that data is automatically backed up in the Barracuda Cloud.

Source: Resilite Sports Products

Maintain a Backup On-Premises 

Some companies follow the 3-2-1 rule for data backup. The idea is to maintain three copies of data on two types of storage media and ensure one copy is kept offsite.

Industrial Scientific, which makes gas detectors to ensure safety in industrial environments, follows this best practice. The company has standardized on Dell EMC hardware and VMware virtualization, and uses Veeam software to replicate data from its main data center near its Pittsburgh headquarters to a passive, secondary data center elsewhere in the city.

The company also uses Veeam and a Dell EMC Data Domain storage appliance to back up the data at the secondary site, says Doug Hathorn, Industrial Scientific’s senior systems engineer. The company backs up about 450 VMs and 220TB of data. While most VMs and data are backed up nightly, some critical applications, such as databases, are backed up every 15 minutes.

The company keeps three weeks’ worth of full and incremental backups, which normally totals about 520TB. But thanks to deduplication, which eliminates duplicate copies of data, Data Domain uses only 50TB of raw disk, Hathorn says.

Hathorn restores from backups on a monthly basis, usually because of employee mistakes and not major disasters. Developers sometimes try new things on development servers that require a restore.

“Mistakes happen. Rather than go in and spend two business days trying to correct their mistakes, we can restore a backup in an hour or less,” he says.


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