Backup, Archiving & Disaster Recovery – they are not the same!


Backup - Disaster Recovery - Archiving

As a cloud service provider offering data backup for IaaS and Disaster Recovery as a Service, we regularly get involved in conversations which bridge the distinctly different disciplines of Backup, Disaster Recovery and Archiving. They are 3
completely separate things which should never be confused, and whilst technologies in each area can be used to achieve some of the functions of the others, users should not be fooled into thinking that one technology solution will work for all 3 areas unless it is specifically designed to do so, which most are not.

We get asked questions like ‘Can your DR solution retain data for 7 years?’. The answer is, why would you want it to? Long term data retention is ‘archiving’ – you would never want to recover your entire infrastructure to a state from 7 years ago!

We are also asked questions like ‘what is the SLA around restoring my entire environment from backup data?’. The answer is usually ‘Not good, you need a DR solution!’

So, let’s talk about each function and what you should expect from it.

1. Data Backup.

Data backup is intended to recover individual lost or corrupt files, or individual corrupt operating system instances. Typically backups are scheduled, often every 24 hours, sometimes more frequently, even hourly with some continuous data protection solutions. Backup data is typically stored on tape or disk either on or off site. Restore from backup can be a complex and lengthy process depending on the volume of data to be restored. Recovery points (RPO) can be as low as an hour but recovery times (RTO) can extend into days or even weeks for large volumes of data. Examples of backup technologies include Veeam, Symantec Backup Exec and R1 Soft CDP.

2. Disaster Recovery.

Disaster Recovery solutions are designed to replicate entire environments from one location to another, with a view to rapidly re-establishing the entire environment (or a subset of it) in the event of loss of service at the primary location. DR solutions are also capable of replicating the data back in the opposite direction once infrastructure at the primary location is available again. Recovery points (RPO) can be in minutes or seconds as data replication is near continuous, and recovery times (RTO) as low as an hour even for large volumes of data. Examples of Disaster Recovery technologies include Zerto Virtual Replication, VMware Site Recovery Manager and Double Take.

3. Archiving.

Archiving solutions are for long term retention of data, typically for compliance purposes in regulated industries such as finance and legal. Archiving solutions will retain and index all copies and versions of a document, file or email, making them easily and rapidly retrievable, often by approved end users rather than IT admins who typically control backup and DR. Examples of archiving technologies include Symantec Enterprise Vault, Mimecast and Metalogix.

So, in summary, don’t rely on your Backup or DR solution for archiving. Don’t expect to recover a deleted file from your DR solution. Don’t expect your archiving solution to get you back up and running in the event of a disaster! However, we can provide backup and disaster recovery of your archiving solution.


Free Webinar: Build Your Cloud Your Way

Duration: A 45 minute webinar, to help you understand your cloud infrastructure options

Date:  Tuesday 16th September 2014 16:45 GMT, 11:45 ET, 08:45 PT


Karl and Max
Karl Robinson CCO and Max Duncan, VP of Technical Operations, StratoGen

Why should you attend?

• Why a blended infrastructure is the logical future: dedicated private, public and hybrid cloud

• How embracing the cloud will improve performance, scalability and cost

• An example of how StratoGen have managed a transition from in-house to outsourced seamlessly (AIP Publishing)

• How leveraging StratoGen’s managed solution translates into big savings on the bottom line

See it for yourself – The StratoGen Cloud:

• A demo based on VCloud Director – See a virtual datacentre that provides computer networking, storage and security in action

• Discussion of advanced networking and remote access techniques




Cloud Computing for Tech Startups

There was a time not too long ago when technology startups trying to make a mark on business, industry and society, were held back by the very cost of technology itself. The high voltage computing processing muscle they needed to pursue their dreams would run into thousands and thousands of dollars thanks to the prohibitive cost of computing infrastructure. Included in it was not only the cost of heavy duty servers but also the software required to run them.

With the arrival of cloud computing in all its full force, tech startups no longer had to make upfront investments in infrastructure. This was indeed a welcome development for the entire startup movement as a whole especially since their financial and business success was never guaranteed in the first place. Let us take a quick moment to understand why hosting in the cloud has not only been described as the single most powerful catalyst for the growth of the tech startup movement but also a rocket launcher that has put the tech startup industry into an altogether different orbit.

 Economies of Scale and Focus

Much has been written and said about the significant cost savings the upward mobility to the cloud tends to generate. Server investments are negligible, scalability is controlled through load balancing, and not just customer data but the proprietary code that differentiates the tech startup is safer than it can ever be at the startup’s on-premise data center. Equally significant is the fact that once the formalities with respect to a cloud presence have been completed, tech startups are free to focus exclusively on innovation using a subscription-based pay-as-you-go model. Distributed teams located in diverse geographies are able to work in unison developing and refining code, engage in simultaneous cross communication through video conferencing, and eventually serve their customer communities without having to compromise on speed and performance in any way. As Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, has rightly observed, the cloud “makes it easier and cheaper than ever for anyone anywhere to be an entrepreneur and to have access to all the best infrastructure of innovation.”

 The Receiving End

Cloud hosting service providers, especially those who focus on managed cloud hosting either as an SaaS, PaaS or IaaS, have contributed not only to the startup movement by helping startups control costs and remain focused on their core activities, they have also provided powerful platforms for those companies which  sustain startup growth by helping to keep operations  lean. Project management companies such as BaseCamp and Liquid Planner, for instance, are able to deliver their services affordably in part because they function entirely on the cloud. The same holds true for cloud-based collaboration services such as Igloo which leverages the cloud to deliver a higher brand of performance at a price that startups can afford. Crowdsourcing conduits of Big Data research such as Kaggle, on whom startups tend to rely, also operate from the cloud while providing data analysis solutions to startups affordably.

According to a research study conducted by the Manchester Business School along with two other organizations in which 1300 companies in the US and UK participated recently, 88% of the companies reported that they had experienced  significant cost benefits of the cloud, while 56% had generated revenue using the technology, and 49% had expanded operations ever since their cloud implementation. If you are a tech startup and have already assumed your rightful place on the cloud, we would love to hear from you. Tell us how it has been so far and share your experience with others so that we can all benefit from your insights.

Tech StartUp