Backup Importance, Its Types And Strategies
Data is the lifeblood of your business, so you can’t afford to lose a single byte. A backup is a copy of your data, and it’s something that everybody should do regularly, as part of a comprehensive disaster recovery policy. When your business relies on complex systems there’s plenty to go wrong, so you must have measures in place to save you when they do. Things that typically lead to data loss are:
- disk failures due to hardware malfunctions, power outs, or improper use
- network difficulties. There are lots of scenarios for this, and one would be lost packets that don’t get acknowledged due to router congestion
- files corrupted by viruses
- hackers or unhappy employees erasing or corrupting data
- people stealing hardware
Try as you might, you’ll never be 100% safe from these sorts of unwanted events. That’s why you’re always going to need a backup strategy to protect you. There’s no perfect backup plan because everyone’s circumstances are different, so here are some examples to help you weigh up the pros and cons:
Possible Backup Strategies
First, you’ll need to decide what medium you’re going to use to back your stuff up. In the age of cloud services, tape drives look like yesterday’s technology, but they have the advantage of being cheaper and they are still reliable. It’s up to you whether you go for the tape route for your long-term server backups, but you will save money if you do. Naturally, there are high capacity discs as well, and the cost of those is coming down all the time. With either tape or disc, you’re relying on network backup systems that suffer from a single point of failure, but they have the advantage of being easier to administer than many individual ones.
You could automatically backup individual workstations or you could educate your staff to do their own backups at regular intervals on a shared network location.
Whatever media you use you will need to decide where you are going to keep them. But if it’s on-site, what happens if the building catches fire? Safety of the environment has to be one of your concerns, and you also need to think about climate control too, because magnetic media are picky about the conditions they are kept in.
The strategy you choose will be a combination of a backup schedule and different types of backup, such as normal, copy, incremental, differential, and daily. You’ll also need to decide whether you will verify your tapes as soon as each backup is done.
If this all sounds too complex then you can always employ a third party to do it for you. They look after everything and all you need to do is upload your backups to them.
We mentioned some backup types in the preceding paragraph. The majority of network backup software, such as Microsoft Windows NT Backup and Windows 2000 Backup, supports five ways of backing up:
Covers your most important system and data files. Restoring is no more complicated than just going to the most recent backup.
This provides an extra copy of a backup, which might be useful to your accounts department for regular archiving and reporting. It backs up the same files as a normal backup but is slightly different. A normal backup clears the archive bit associated with each backed up file and indicates that they’ve been backed up. But a copy backup doesn’t do this though, which means you can do it at any time without interrupting the cycle—the copy backup tape is separate from the backup cycle and you don’t need it to restore anything.
This only backs up files that have been created or changed since the last backup. If you combine normal and incremental backups, you’ll save time and use less storage space than if you only perform normal backups. But if you need to do a restore, you’ll need to use the normal backup along with all the incremental backups from the current backup cycle to do so.
Copies whichever files have been created or modified since the most recent normal or incremental backup. The archive attributes of differential backup files aren’t cleared, which means that during the next differential backup these files will be backed up again. In terms of changes, differential backups will accumulate them as they go. This means that each differential backup in a given backup cycle has every file from the most recent differential backup, along with any files changed since the last time it was done. So, when you want to restore, you’ll typically just use the normal backup and the most recent differential backup from the current backup cycle to do it.
Daily copy backup
Copies every file that’s been updated on the day this is performed. This is useful for when you want to know there’s a backup of everything that’s been done that day. It’s useful and it doesn’t interfere with the backup cycle in any way.
The Effects of Backup Operations
The different operations affect the archive attributes of the files and directories they back up in different ways. A backup operation marks the archive attribute by removing it to show that the file has been backed up. If that file is modified later, its archive attribute is set (unmarked). This table shows what the different types of backup operations do to the archive attribute:
- Normal backup – cleared
- Copy backup – no effect
- Incremental backup – cleared
- Differential backup – no effect
- Daily copy – no effect
Backup Solutions For Plesk Servers
Plesk hosting platform provides various reliable cloud backup solutions as well as granular/self-service recovery options for administrators.
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