What is the real future of online data backup

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I have been dabbling in the offsite tape storage game for a few
months...and I have been increasingly interested in the online data
backup scenario.

One of the questions i would like to throw at this forum is......Why
are Web hosters NOT really promoting any data hosting solutions AS
there is some technical viability in this?

If a company does manage to  organise an online backup procedure -
what is the upload cost AND  what suitable programs are out there
can really compress the data in such a way as to allow a more
affordable transfer of data???


What do you do about getting a snapshot of your server in the first
place so that you can do a server rebuild in the even of a
disaster....?....AND where do you keep a copy of this snapshot....On
USB on the IT managers keychain???

Any thoughts...cheers



Re: What is the real future of online data backup

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The first thing that comes to mind is that the web companies would have to
hire and maintain a staff of qualified technicians who know more than just
how to connect a PC to the internet.

With the broad range of PC/Server combinations, operating systems on the
market there can be no real ready to sell cookie cutter solution.  Every
solution for more than the smallest company would require quite a bit of
advanced research and support on a continuing basis in order to maintain a
viable remote backup system.
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Again, the programs and hardware needed to support a remote backup system
are totally dependent on what the customer is using for it's primary system.

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I used to work in an IT department for a company that provided network
support for other companies.  Out data center and staff had to be available
on a 7/24 basis.  To provide that kind support on a contracted basis we
built and maintained a backup operations center in another city that was
ready to staff and activate in around 8 hours or less.  There was a backup
power system with a onsite 30 day fuel supply the generator.  Enough food
and other supplies to keep the facility operating for a couple of weeks were
stored there as well.  The food supply was kept updated (expiration dates
were checked).  Food close to it's expiration date was donated to a charity
and replaced.  A dedicated T1 connection between the host site and the
recovery site for transferring server data and other remote testing of the
restoral site.  We also had Telco connections to multiple phone/data
carriers for redundancy with pre-scripted and tested rerouting of phone
numbers by the Telco's from our primary site to the backup.  Most companies
would find this to be major overkill but I have seen other backup sites that
were much larger than ours and a few stored in semi trailers, complete with
Generators, PC's equipped for wireless and wired network, wireless routers,
and boxes of Ethernet cable and switches for a total mobile restoral

The first 1 day test activation of our dedicated restoral site identified we
had coffee, equipment to make coffee, but no coffee cups... and I don't want
to think about a vital paper product that was found to be missing... ;)
Subsequent testing ironed out the rest of the bugs, especially after the
boss authorized moving all operations to the backup facility for a complete
week, later done annually.  We had many visitors during our annual
activation, some of them by other company managers wanting to build a site
similar to ours.

While working for a smaller outfit (prior to network solutions available
now) we were able to get by with making encrypted backups of the servers to
tape.  These tapes were then sent to a secure warehouse by courier every
morning.  The same currier would return a set of old tapes that were more
than 30 days old which would be erased and used at a later time.  A second
set of encrypted tapes were sent home with an employee who was paid to store
them in a large gun locker, provided by the company.

Do not plan on keeping your only copies of the server information in the
same building, or even the same business park.  A tornado or major fire
could wipe out your site along with the backup copies.  It all depends on
how long a company can get by with out the use of the servers.  As for the
servers themselves, I won't tell you how many companies have stored backup
copies of their data off site only to find out that it could take weeks, if
ever, to locate, purchase, and activate server hardware capable of loading
and using backed up data.  Having a software backup it pretty much useless
unless you invest in the hardware needed to actually load and run the backup
data in advance of something like a computer room fire or major roof leak.

For smaller companies using one of the existing network backup services
might be a viable idea.  You still need to identify and locate, purchase, or
lease the hardware needed to use the stored data should your original
hardware become unusable.  Make sure it is not stored in the same facility
as the existing servers, and it is tested at lease once with live data.
Remotely stored data is useless unless you have something able to read it.
Backup software if great as long as someone remembers to install the same
version on the backup server.  Finding out the wrong memory was installed or
a wrong server array setup is not something you want to run into when your
boss is looking over your shoulder asking when YOU can get the company can
get back in business.

Oh well, returning to the background clutter...

Re: What is the real future of online data backup

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MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope the company made money..

I still think that yes...test run the System on a server that is set
up for your backup data...Keep the lot off site with a provider that
can securely store the stuff...make sure you can rebuild in a hurry
and can rig it up to be have users.

I hope coffe wasn't just instant

Thanks for the feedback

Re: What is the real future of online data backup

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The coffee most definitely was not instant. :)

Yes they made money.  Last I heard they were still remotely
monitoring/managing over 120 company data networks nation wide, both large
and small.  One network alone had over 4500 routers along with the devices
attached to them, all being remotely monitored and managed.

They also collected and stored router configurations to the tune of over
20000 routers weekly for those same customers.  Upgrading remote router
software to keep up with security fixes as well as customer requested
configuration changes also helped to keep people busy.

Re: What is the real future of online data backup

On 10 Apr 2007 23:37:16 -0700, gcaldwell69@hotmail.com

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1)  Because they're _Web_ hosters.  There are data hosters.

2)  Just because it is possible doesn't necessarily make it
viable.  You could just backup to a local drive/media/etc or
one in a remotely located system if it needs be off-site.
In other words there is no need for the middleman to do what
you could yourself.

3)  It may take a lot of storage space, time, bandwidth to
do it.

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What is it you need organized?

You can get a typical, ordinary web host account with the
capacity you need , upload any or all files you want till
you reach that capacity or (typically monthly) bandwidth
limit.  If you want to compress it, go right ahead, programs
that ZIP, RAR, etc are not hard to find.  Due to having less
control over interruptions in transmission I would avoid
producing very large singular backup files (like backups of
entire partitions) unless broken down into smaller parts.

Having to use a special software to facilitate it all is
inconvenient, yet without special software it is merely a
matter of copying the files anywhere across a network (the
web being one such network) and whether the throughput is
acceptible since nobody wants to wait long to transfer data,
and it could even be their end, their ISP is the bottleneck.

Re: What is the real future of online data backup

gcaldwell69@hotmail.com wrote:
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Such systems have existed for some time now. At the consumer level,
you're most likely to be resold a rebadged version of Attix5 Backup

It is written in Java and runs on Windows/Mac/Linux/*nix etc

Initially it copies all the data you select, compresses it, encrypts it
with SSL and sends it over the internet to a datacentre. Once there,
your data is further encrypted with a ~500 bit key.

Future backups are all incrementals from your previous successful backup
- aka incremental for ever. Attix differs here from most in that it does
"binary patching" - that is a 1K change to a 1GB file generates a patch
just slightly bigger than 1K to be transmitted.

In the UK, Centrastor are amongst the leaders: http://www.centrastor.co.uk /

Alternatives are available - eg CommVault Galaxy - but they're more
geared to the corporate sector.



Re: What is the real future of online data backup

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Thanks all...for your feedback


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