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Vol. 7 No. 7 September 2008

Are full backups a thing of the past?

It might be premature to declare nightly full backups dead, but tools like continuous data protection and snapshots can reduce a company's dependence on full backups without compromising data protection. I recently helped a Fortune 100 client evaluate continuous data protection (CDP) products and was asked if full nightly backups to tape were still needed given the advent of disk-based technologies like snapshots and CDP. Trying not to sound like a consultant attempting to please everyone, I answered "It depends." Snapshots and CDP provide excellent ways to recover data from a specific point in time when no known data loss or corruption existed. But it can take a while to discover a file or database error, and snapshots aren't typically kept for a long time. That's why full backups to tape are a vital complement to point-in-time backup tools, and will remain so in any comprehensive data protection strategy. The tricky part is to decide how to mix and match backup methods to best meet recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery ...

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Features in this issue

  • Ask the Experts: RTOs and RPOs

    Is there a standard ratio between RTOs and RPOs, or are they independent of each other?

  • CDP in depth

    Continuous data protection (CDP) technology is now a viable alternative to traditional backup software and storage system-based replication software. But CDP products can vary significantly, especially in the context of different storage architectures. Depending on specific environments, companies may have to evaluate very different criteria before settling on a CDP product.

  • The lure of open-source backup programs

Columns in this issue