At this spring's Storage Networking World conference, one of the more popular questions asked was "How can I protect the data in my remote offices?"
Two things could be agreed upon during such discussions:
The solution is to stop dealing with whole files from the remote offices.
Since replication technology propagates only the bytes that have changed, one can do an initial mirror (think full backup) and then keep the two copies in sync via replication. Now, in your data center, you have a local copy of remote data. So, do a local backup.
Since users aren't actively accessing the second copy of the files, they are natively closed -- regardless of whether the production files are user documents or SQL/Exchange databases. And you can do it without backup agents.
Two last gotchas to consider:
Bottom line -- more and more critical data (and that which will be most time/labor consuming to replace) exists outside of the corporate data center, so it needs to be protected.
About the Author: Jason Buffington has been working in the networking industry since 1989, with a majority of that time being focused on data protection. He is a Certified Business Continuity Planner and a Microsoft MCT/MCSE. Jason currently serves as the Director of Business Continuity for NSI Software, enabling high availability and disaster recovery via replication software. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.