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Three ways to outsource backups

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Outsourcing can remedy your backup woes--you can bring an expert in-house, back up to an online service or move your data to a hosted data center.

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Outsourced backups: Where your data goes

Backup is a paradox. Storage staffs may dread dealing with it, but they're still reluctant to loosen their grip on the practice. But as stiffer compliance requirements add even more urgency to ensuring an effective backup process, some companies are asking whether it makes more sense to outsource their backup. Outsourcing, prevalent in nearly every business sector, is still viewed with suspicion by many storage groups. Yet outsourcing specific storage processes can improve a storage group's productivity, consistency and efficiency.

There are three basic mechanisms for outsourced backup:

  1. Insourcing. Invite a vendor to manage your backups using onsite resources, remote resources or both.
  2. Online backup. Ship data from your data center over a network to an offsite service provider.
  3. Hosted backup services. Move your primary data to an outside data center with a backup service offering.
The two physical variables for these alternatives are the locations of your data and backups (see "Outsourced backups: Where your data goes," at right). The key issue is whether your primary data and backups should reside in your data center or at a managed hosting center. Usually, business and technical realities will determine the choice. Many firms are reluctant to use a managed hosting provider for their primary storage and servers, while other organizations with large amounts of data find the bandwidth costs required to ship backup data to an offsite provider are prohibitively high. For those organizations, insourcing is the only logical choice.

This was first published in September 2006

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