W. Curtis Preston

Author Archives: W. Curtis Preston

How to backup essential data but not the garbage

Something as simple as how you tell your backup product which files and databases to backup can have a massive impact on your recoverability. Proper backup selection is essentially a balance between ensuring that everything that should be backed up is indeed backed up, while also trying not to backup worthless data.Physical server inclusion Virtually all backup products require some initial installation and configuration at the level of a physical server. This means that for any of the tactics mentioned in this article to work, one must first install the appropriate software and authorization on each physical server in the data center. This means every VMware or Hyper-V server (not to be confused with each VM on those servers), every physical UNIX or Windows server, and any cloud services that are being backed up. Someone must make that initial connection and authentication before the backup system can perform its magic.To read this article in full, please click here

How synthetic full backup works and why you might need it

The invention of synthetic full backups is one of the most important advancements in backup technology in the last few decades, right up there witih disk-based backups, deduplication, continuous data protection (CDP), and the cloud.Here’s how they came to be and an explanation of what benefits they might offer.[Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] Traditional backup options There are essentially two very broad categories of what the backup industry calls backup levels;you are either backing up everything (full backup) or you are backing up only what has changed (incremental backup). There are different types of incremental backups, but that's really not relevant to this particular discussion. A typical set up runs incremental backups every night and full backups every week – or even less often than that.To read this article in full, please click here

5 metrics you need to know about your backup and recovery system

Finding out whether backup and recovery systems work well is more complicated than just knowing how long backups and restores take; agreeing to a core set of essential metrics is the key to properly judging your system to determine if it succeeds or needs a redesign.Here are five metrics every enterprise should gather in order to insure that their systems meet the needs of the business.Storage capacity and usage Let's start with a very basic metric: Does your backup system have enough storage capacity to meet your current and future backup and recovery needs? Whether you are talking a tape library or a storage array, your storage system has a finite amount of capacity, and you need to monitor what that capacity is and what percentage of it you're using over time.To read this article in full, please click here

For secure data backup, here’s how to do the 3-2-1 rule right

As the number of places where we store data increases, the basic concept of what is referred to as the 3-2-1 rule often gets forgotten. This is a problem, because the 3-2-1 rule is easily one of the most foundational concepts for designing data protection. It's important to understand why the rule was created, and how it's currently being interpreted in an increasingly tapeless world.What is the 3-2-1 rule for backup? The 3-2-1 rule says there should be at least three copies or versions of data stored on two different pieces of media, one of which is off-site. Let's take a look at each of the three elements and what it addresses.[Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] 3 copies or versions: Having at least three different versions of your data over different periods of time ensures that you can recover from accidents that affect multiple versions. Any good backup system will have many more than three copies. 2 different media: You should not have both copies of your data on the same media. Consider, for example, Apple's Time Machine. You can fool it using Disc Utility to split your hard drive into Continue reading

How to back up Kubernetes and Docker

Yes, your container infrastructure needs some type of backup.  Kubernetes and Docker will not magically build themselves after a disaster. As discussed in a separate article, you don’t need to back up the running state of each container, but you will need to back up the configuration used to run and manage your containers.Here’s a quick reminder of what you’ll need to back up.[Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] Configuration and desired-state information The Dockerfiles used to build your images and all versions of those files The images created from the Dockerfile and used to run each container Kubernetes etcd & other - K8s databases that info on cluster state Deployments - YAML files describing each deployment Persistent data created or changed by containers Persistent volumes Databases Dockerfiles Docker containers are run from images, and images are built from Dockerfiles. A proper Docker configuration would first use some kind of repository such as GitHub as a version-control system for all Dockerfiles. Do not create ad hoc containers using ad hoc images built from ad hoc Dockerfiles. All Dockerfiles should be stored in a repository that allows you to pull historical Continue reading

Do containers need backup?

Containers are breaking backups around the world, but there are steps you can take to make sure that the most critical parts of your container infrastructure are protected against the worst things that can happen to your data center.At first glance it may seem that containers don’t need to be backed up, but on closer inspection, it does make sense in order to protect against catastrophic events and for other, less disastrous eventualities.[Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] Container basics Containers are another type of virtualization, and Docker is the most popular container platform. Containers are a specialized environment in which you can run a particular application. One way to think of them is like lightweight virtual machines. Where each VM in a hypervisor server contains an entire copy of an operating system, containers share the underlying operating system, and each of them contains only the required libraries needed by the application that will run in that container. As a result, many containers on a single node (a physical or virtual machine running an OS and the container runtime environment) take up far fewer resources than the same number of VMs.To Continue reading

Do containers need backup?

Containers are breaking backups around the world, but there are steps you can take to make sure that the most critical parts of your container infrastructure are protected against the worst things that can happen to your data center.At first glance it may seem that containers don’t need to be backed up, but on closer inspection, it does make sense in order to protect against catastrophic events and for other, less disastrous eventualities.[Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters.] Container basics Containers are another type of virtualization, and Docker is the most popular container platform. Containers are a specialized environment in which you can run a particular application. One way to think of them is like lightweight virtual machines. Where each VM in a hypervisor server contains an entire copy of an operating system, containers share the underlying operating system, and each of them contains only the required libraries needed by the application that will run in that container. As a result, many containers on a single node (a physical or virtual machine running an OS and the container runtime environment) take up far fewer resources than the same number of VMs.To Continue reading

Object storage in the cloud: Is backup needed?

The failure to back up data that is stored in a cloud block-storage service can be lost forever if not properly backed up. This article explains how object storage works very differently from block storage and how it offers better built-in protections.What is Object Storage? Each cloud vendor offers an object storage service, and they include Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3), Azure’s Blob Store, and Google’s Cloud Storage.Think of object storage systems like a file system with no hierarchical structure of directories and subdirectories. Where a file system uses a combination of a directory structure and file name to identify and locate a file, every object stored in an object storage system gets a unique identifier (UID) based on its content.To read this article in full, please click here

Object storage in the cloud: Is backup needed?

The failure to back up data that is stored in a cloud block-storage service can be lost forever if not properly backed up. This article explains how object storage works very differently from block storage and how it offers better built-in protections.What is Object Storage? Each cloud vendor offers an object storage service, and they include Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3), Azure’s Blob Store, and Google’s Cloud Storage.Think of object storage systems like a file system with no hierarchical structure of directories and subdirectories. Where a file system uses a combination of a directory structure and file name to identify and locate a file, every object stored in an object storage system gets a unique identifier (UID) based on its content.To read this article in full, please click here

Backup the data in AWS Elastic Block Store

A recent Amazon outage resulted in a small number of customers losing production data stored in their accounts. This, of course, led to typical anti-cloud comments that follows such events. The reality is that these customers data loss had nothing to do with cloud and everything to do with them not understanding the storage they were using and backing it up.Over Labor Day weekend there was a power outage in one of the availability zones in the AWS US-East-1 region.  Backup generators came on, but quickly failed for unknown reasons. Customers’ Elastic Block Store (EBS) data is replicated among multiple servers, but the outage affected multiple servers. While the bulk of data stored in EBS was fine or was able to be easily recovered after outage, .5 percent of the data could not be recovered. Customers among the .5 percent who did not have a backup of their EBS data actually lost data.To read this article in full, please click here

What is instant recovery? A way to quickly restore lost files and test backup systems

The concept of instant recovery is relatively simple – the ability to run a virtual machine directly from a backup of that VM – but the possibilities offered by such a simple concept are virtually limitless, which explains why it’s considered one of the most important advances in backup and recovery for many years.Before the advent of instant recovery all restores were basically the same, starting with how backups were stored – in some type of container or image. Prior to commercial backup-and-recovery software, backups were stored in formats such as tar, cpio, or dump. More about backup and recovery:To read this article in full, please click here

How to deal with backup when you switch to hyperconverged infrastructure

Companies migrating to hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) systems are usually doing so to simplify their virtualization environment. Since backup is one of the most complicated parts of virtualization, they are often looking to simplify it as well via their migration to HCI.Other customers have chosen to use HCI to simplify their hardware complexity, while using a traditional backup approach for operational and disaster recovery. Here’s a look at cover both scenarios.To read this article in full, please click here

How to deal with backup when you switch to hyperconverged infrastructure

Companies migrating to hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) systems are usually doing so to simplify their virtualization environment. Since backup is one of the most complicated parts of virtualization, they are often looking to simplify it as well via their migration to HCI.Other customers have chosen to use HCI to simplify their hardware complexity, while using a traditional backup approach for operational and disaster recovery. Here’s a look at cover both scenarios.To read this article in full, please click here

Why disk beat tape in the backup wars

Any backup experts worth their salt switched to disk as the primary target for backups many years ago. Tape still reigns in long-term archival, for the reasons laid out here. But tape is also quite problematic when it comes to day-to-day operational backup and recovery.To read this article in full, please click here(Insider Story)

The correct levels of backup save time, bandwidth, space

One of the most basic things to understand in backup and recovery is the concept of backup levels and what they mean.Without a proper understanding of what they are and how they work, companies can adopt bad practices that range from wasted bandwidth and storage to actually missing important data on their backups. Understanding these concepts is also crucial when selecting new data-protection products or services.[ Check out 10 hot storage companies to watch. | Get regularly scheduled insights by signing up for Network World newsletters. ] Full backupTo read this article in full, please click here