Essential Guide

Best practices for remote data backups

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Remote backups or remote replication to protect ROBO data?

Several factors determine whether you use remote backups or remote replication for your organization's ROBO data protection. This expert answer provides use cases for each method.

There aren't any firm rules regarding remote office/branch office (ROBO) data protection stating that you should...

always use remote backups or replication under certain circumstances. You have to do what makes the most sense for your organization.

Determining factors for whether you should use remote backups or remote replication include:

  • The volume and type of data to be backed up
  • The infrastructure in the remote facility
  • Available bandwidth
  • If any IT staff members work in the remote location

Suppose all the data within the remote facility exists within virtual servers running on host servers at that same location. If the main office uses the same hypervisor and hypervisor version as the remote location, the easiest way to protect those virtual machines (VMs) might be to replicate them to the main office and back them up the same way you would any other VM. This assumes the organization uses a hypervisor that supports the use of replication, such as VMware ESX or Microsoft Hyper-V.

If your ROBO data is highly transactional, remote backups would likely be a better option than replicating data to the main office. This is because replication occurs asynchronously and leaves the potential for at least a few minutes of data loss. In addition, highly transactional data could overwhelm the link between the two facilities. In those situations, it may be better to perform local, continuous data protection backups and periodically copy the backups to removable media or the cloud for off-site storage.

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This was last published in October 2015

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Essential Guide

Best practices for remote data backups

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Which method do you prefer for ROBO data protection: remote replication or remote backups? Why?
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Of course the solution will vary for each site's unique requirements, but in general I like the option of a remotely manageable backup appliance that can then deduplicate and send changes to the corporate datacenter or a cloud. It gives both fast restore for backups and DR by keeping copies offsite.
- Keith Boland
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