Use a NAS server for bare-metal restore
One of the worst-case scenarios for a storage administrator is a bare-metal recovery. In this situation you have lost everything on the computer, down to the operating system and device drivers. Often it means you have lost your usual computer as well and are trying to install all your enterprise's critical applications and data on another system, often at another site.
Bare-metal recoveries are a special problem for enterprises that rely on remote backups over the Internet or high-speed communications links. These systems are most efficient when the amount of data stored each day is limited to data that has changed and restores are primarily individual files or folders that have become corrupted. Trying to bring in multiple gigabytes from a remote site, often over a slower link, can significantly increase the time it takes to get up and running.
The usual solution is to ship tapes from the remote backup site. However another possibility is to use a NAS filer as a data transport device. Rather than shipping tapes, send the filer to the site doing the recovery, and the data either can be loaded onto the system at full speed, or the system can be run from the filer temporarily.
Some Electronic vaulting companies, which specialize in handling remote backups for their clients, offer the option of receiving the data to be recovered on a NAS filer or similar server. One example is E-Vault, which gives customers the option of getting their data back on a portable version of E-Vault's servers. For some businesses this is faster and more convenient than getting a bunch of tapes, and it can be much faster if you use the NAS filer for storage, rather than reloading the information into your target system's disks.
Editor's note: Mention of specific companies or products in this tip is not meant to indicate that such companies or products are the only ones offering the features or services mentioned. Further, such mention is not intended as an endorsement of the company or product. Such mentions are for illustrative purposes only, and are not intended as an exhaustive list of such companies or products.
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.