12280server_roomAs an IT Solution Provider, I am frequently asked about MozyPro and Carbonite for backing up data. Since I work with Online Backup solutions often and have my own line of backup offerings including an Online Backup solution, I thought I would post an article about my thoughts about online/offsite backup offerings and other backup solutions.

My experience with MozyPro and Carbonite are pretty much the same. Both offerings will work as far as backing up your data. The issues come when you need to get your data restored in the event of a hard drive crash, drive failure, virus, accidental deletion of files, catastrophe, etc. With any online backup service, it can take a LONG time to get your data restored. I remember one particular instance when I was called to help someone with a restore in progress and the software estimated that it would take 2 weeks to restore the data kept on one of these online backup services. There was not a whole lot I could do. So, you have to ask yourself, in the event of a loss, can I wait 2 weeks (or longer) to get everything back? If you can't, don't worry. There are good and affordable options you can implement. Don't get me wrong, if you only need to restore a single Word document or a few small files, the time to restore from an online service would not be that bad. However, if you keep all your data from databases, large documents, photos, etc. and want to restore everything, be prepared to wait a long while for the restore process to complete. The problem is not all on the end of the Online Backup solution - it's also on the internet service provider you use as well. If you have a poor quality or slow internet connection, you will be waiting an even longer time to get your data restored.

A better approach is to have both an offsite/online backup AND a local, onsite backup of all of your data. Even better, if possible, a complete image of your server and or computers. An onsite backup can be restored much more quickly because the data is there with you. Restore times vary but instead of waiting 2 weeks, it may take only a couple of hours to fully restore. Remember, both an onsite and offsite backup is needed to be well protected. One potential downside to a local only backup solution is, what if the server and/or computers are destroyed or stolen? Your local backup solution may also be affected in this type of situation. Do you have a backup if this were to happen? So, you need both an onsite and offsite backup to be completely cover your need for backups.

The best solution to consider that takes care of both the onsite and offsite (online) backup need is a Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solution. A BDR is typically a server grade device that makes a complete, mirror-image of your server and/or computer(s) and allows for not only a good onsite backup solution that will allow for even faster recovery of individual files or folders, it is also a complete backup image that can be restored to a new hard drive, in the event of drive failure, or to a new server (or computer) in the event of a more catastrophic event. The backup image can also be virtualized in a matter of a few minutes, meaning that the backup image can be turned in to your computer or server just by activating the BDR software to do so. Your downtime is pretty much eliminated or at least minimized with this type of solution. Virtualization is a huge topic unto itself but if you have ever heard of or seen a Mac run Windows, that is an example of virtualization. The Mac did not transform in to a PC, it runs a virtual machine that allows it to run Windows along with Apple iOS and both co-exist on the same computer. The reason that the BDR is a server type of machine, is so that it can be used in a virtualization role. A BDR solution can also facilitate the offsite component of your backup solution where the entire image is sent up to a cloud (internet) based server. This option even makes it possible to virtualize your computer or server from the cloud. Thus, this is the only solution that takes in to account most scenarios where a backup situation is needed. It also takes in to account Business Continuity. Most of the other backup solutions do not.

I realize that this is a lot of information and that some of it may be confusing or hard to understand. I would be happy to discuss this in more detail with anyone that has questions or would like to learn more. Please contact us for a FREE consultation to see what type of backup solution would be best for you.