The Pain Points of Traditional Backup
- Backup schedules: Traditionally, a backup is a scheduled process that runs at fixed intervals. In case of a failure, the data updates since the last backup are lost. The recovery point objective (RPO) is weaker with traditional backup.
- Backup slots: Traditional backup processes are resource heavy. Also, the server application needs to be quiesced to get a consistent backup image. This implies that the regular server activity cannot continue during backup. Hence, backup is scheduled to run during a time slot when the regular application activity is not present or is present at a lower scale. As the amount of data and the time to backup grows, it becomes harder to find time slots for scheduling backup. The increase in the number of business hours also puts additional pressure on the backup slots.
- User interface: Traditional backup interface is complex due to the concepts of full/incremental backups and schedules. Due to the user interface complexity, it becomes harder to let the end user control the backup process. Typically, the administrator configures the backup for end users’ desktops and laptops. The configuration remains static and cannot easily adapt to dynamic data layout. Instead, the end user is asked to arrange his or her data to suit the backup configuration.
- Backup media: Traditional backup is performed on media like magnetic tapes or optical disks. Complete automation (using robotic media libraries) of the backup process is too costly. In absence of an automated process, an administrative attention is required to manage the backup media. Maintaining the backup media also requires administrative effort. The restore operation also requires administrative attention because the right backup media needs to be loaded.
- Special hardware: Traditional backup is performed using media like magnetic tapes that require special hardware like tape drives. Special hardware means additional procurement and maintenance cost.
- Restore operation: With traditional backup, an end user cannot restore her files by herself. Typically, a service request is sent to the administrator, thus increasing the time taken for restore. The recovery time objective (RTO) is weaker with traditional backup.
RPO and RTO
Recovery Point Objective (RPO) describes the interval of time that might pass during a disruption before the quantity of data lost during that period exceeds the Business Continuity Plan’s maximum allowable threshold or “tolerance.”
Example: If the last available good copy of data upon an outage is from 18 hours ago, and the RPO for this business is 20 hours then we are still within the parameters of the Business Continuity Plan’s RPO. In other words it the answers the question – “Up to what point in time could the Business Process’s recovery proceed tolerably given the volume of data lost during that interval?”
RTO: Recovery Time Objective
The Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is the duration of time and a service level within which a business process must be restored after a disaster in order to avoid unacceptable consequences associated with a break in continuity. In other words, the RTO is the answer to the question: “How much time did it take to recover after notification of business process disruption?“
RPO designates the variable amount of data that will be lost or will have to be re-entered during network downtime. RTO designates the amount of “real time” that can pass before the disruption begins to seriously and unacceptably impede the flow of normal business operations.
There is always a gap between the actuals (RTA/RPA) and objectives introduced by various manual and automated steps to bring the business application up. These actuals can only be exposed by disaster and business disruption rehearsals.
Traditional Backups: In traditional tape backups, if your backup plan takes 2 hours for a scheduled backup at 0600 hours and 1800 hours, then a primary site failure at 1400 hours would leave you with an option to restore from 0600 hours backup, which means RPA of 8 hours and 2 hours RTA.
Continuous Replication: Replication provides higher RPO guarantees as the target system contains the mirrored image of the source. The RPA values depend upon how fast the changes are applied and if the replication is synchronous or asynchronous. RPO is dependent on how soon can the data on target/replicated site be made available to the application.
SysGuard Backup Solutions
Our Backup Solutions for physical and virtual servers brings together backup, disaster recovery, and archival in the cloud, removing the burden of legacy infrastructure and significantly lowering TCO. It simplifies the process by enabling managers to back up straight to a secure cloud environment. It also mitigates the difficulty of managing mixed environments from a central location, as many times remote agency sites lack the tools to protect their data.