A mobile backup strategy
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Like any other computers in the enterprise, notebook computers used by outside workers need to be backed up. Because they are most subject to damage or theft, backup is especially important for mobile computers.
In deciding how to back up these systems, one of the most important considerations is what kind of link your mobile users will have with your servers and how often they will connect. At one extreme are users who have access to high-speed links through hotels catering to business travelers, hooking up through a customer's LAN, or other high-speed connection. These systems can be backed up almost as if they are on a desktop in the enterprise. A number of companies' backup products, such as Brightstar Mobile from Computer Associates and Veritas NetBackup Professional offer features for backing up mobile systems.
At the other extreme are systems that are almost never connected to a network while the user is in the field. Typically the information on these notebooks will be uploaded when the user returns to the office. For these systems some kind of attached backup device, such as the ABS system from CMS is probably the best answer.
In between is the most common situation where the user connects regularly, but only via modem and perhaps not every day. The solution here lies in between. Software like Brightstar Mobile and NetBackup Professional is designed to work over modem lines by using incremental backups, often at the block level. Similarly, attached backup devices can work well in these situations, especially if their software will automatically back up the computer when the user plugs in the device.
Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.
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