We all know backups are very important but do we honestly do enough to ensure that we are fully resilient against failure - whether that be human or electronic?
As a Mac user, I use Apple’s Time Machine system to back up the contents of my user directories to an external hard drive. I do not need to specify any particular files or directories - Time Machine will do that for me. I don’t need to remember esoteric paths or filenames. I do not have to worry if I have open files during the backup. Furthermore, I can restore everything as it was by booting my Mac and using the Time Machine restore function. I don’t need to worry about having to re-install all my applications or manually copy the data back to the hard drive. It’s all done for me.
Wouldn’t be great if the same strategy could be applied to servers? Well, for our Windows customers we offer a managed backup solution from backup specialists R1Soft called CDP. CDP allows us to take a complete backup of your server - the filesystem, boot record, partitioning information - the works. It also backs up your live MS SQL data safely and takes multiple snapshots to ensure you can go back X number of times to recover lost files.
If your server is extremely unfortunate to suffer complete failure (hard drives, motherboard, etc.) then you can restore the entire contents of the backup to a new chassis (or re-image on the same server) with a couple of clicks through the dedicated CDP user interface. This applies to both dedicated servers AND miniservers, although in either case, you’d have to get in touch with support to boot your server into a special recovery mode.
Unlike traditional backup methods of simply backing up the relevant data, you’ll need more space than you normally would for each snapshot as you need to factor in the filesystem, the operating system files and your data. R1Soft can compress each incremental recovery point as efficiently as possible and we have configured new backups to use what we’d consider a good trade-off between performance and disk space. It is very important to consider how often your data changes and how much disk space you’ll need to contain it all.