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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Backup Strategies



Most people know about the need to backup your data but what is the best way to do it. Today we shall take a look at some different strategies and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Having a Server
Using a server to backup your data has long been established as a sound way to store your backups and for good reason - it keeps all your backups in one place and is easy to manage. You set up the scheduled backup and leave it to it. It is not all rosy though. There is the price of the windows software (unless you set up a Linux server) and if the server crashes you could use everything.
Pros - easy to manage, backups all in one place.
Cons - price of Windows software (although can be set up on Linux), backup is on site so if the building catches fire (for example) then you lose everything.
External USB hard drives
External hard drives are a good way to back up your data especially as they can be taken off premises (or at least placed away from the main system). They are cheap too which makes them very attractive. One big downside though is lack of automation. Yes you can still schedule a backup on your computer but you need to remember to plug in your hard drive at the specified time. If you have more than one system then this can take up valuable time. If you chose not to schedule a backup but instead do it manually, you have to remember to do it everyday and how many people would be able to remember that (yours truly included).
Pros - cheap, can be taken offsite.
Cons - not automated, brings the 'human factor' into the backup strategy where things get forgotten, can be lost.
DVD / CD
There was a time when everyone was using these (me included) but as amounts of storage increased the shear number of DVD's / CD's required to backup all your data just got huge. For example it would take 24 DVD's to backup 100Gb of data!!
Pros - cheap, can be taken off site.
Cons - numbers involved to backup your data will just become huge, can be scratched and lost, not automated either.
Cloud Storage
The cloud is one of the buzz words floating around the IT world at the moment and one of the main points is online storage. You upload your data to servers located somewhere else in the world. The main advantage of this approach is that your data is stored away from your premises. You are able to access your data at any time and you save in hardware costs. The main disadvantages are that that you would have no control about the security that your data will receive (although these companies will have loads of security protocols that they must follow) and the monthly subscription to keep your data safe.
Pros - no extra hardware or software costs, data is kept away from your premises, automated.
Cons - possible security issues, monthly subscription charges, someone else looking after your data
NAS boxes
NAS stands for Network Attached Storage. These are boxes which can hold two or more hard drives that are attached directly to your network. They basically act like file servers without the expensive software costs.
Pros - relatively cheap, hard drives can be easily swapped and taken off site, backups can be automated.
Cons - additional hardware costs, if hard drives are not changed then your data is still on your premises.


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