Another important remote backup issue is speed. Specifically, any remote backup planning has to consider how long it takes to do the actual data backup and how long it will take to restore data.
"We found out the hard way that the amount of data being stored matters," says Victor Liu, president at Link High Technologies Inc., a Denville, N.J., reseller specializing in backup technologies. "On a pure Internet solution, more than 50 gigabytes is just not practical." Link High Technologies' Liu says one customer with a large amount of data stored over the Internet took more than four days to do a complete restore.
There are several ways to deal with this. One way is to keep several of the most recent backups on local disk and transmit them to the remote site. Another, which is available from some vendors such as Link High Technologies, is to have the data transferred to USB drives and overnight expressed to the customer needing the restore. With large quantities of data, the difference between reloading from a local disk and reloading over a network can be considerable, even if you take into account the time it takes to ship the disks.
Online backup alternatives
One of the more intriguing backup alternatives for remote sites and smaller offices is cloud-based, or online, backup.
"I wouldn't say it's becoming popular yet," says Eric Burgener, a senior analyst and consultant at Taneja Group, Hopkinton, Mass.,
Many cloud providers, such as Carbonite Inc., are currently targeting individuals and very small businesses. But cloud backup is well suited for remote offices because it can handle dark backups -- automatic backups that don't require manual intervention. If a remote office has a relatively modest amount of data to back up, a cloud service may be a good fit; however, bandwidth may still be an issue. At the least, a broadband connection is required, and consideration should be given to bandwidth requirements for large restores.
Reliability could also be an issue. There have been some well-publicized outages at large cloud providers, but a connection that's performing poorly or not working at all is more likely to be a problem.
|10 tips for using cloud backup services|
1. Check your bandwidth. You need to know how much data you expect to back up to the cloud service and if your current bandwidth is adequate not just to handle backups in a reasonable time, but for restores.
This was first published in March 2009