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What is a bare-metal recovery, and what bare-metal recovery products are available?

What is a bare-metal recovery, and what bare-metal recovery products are available?

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From a data perspective, disaster recovery (DR) presumes the protection of critical data, systems and infrastructures, plus the ability to recover them to the same or different platform and restore them to normal production status. In some recovery situations the original data device, e.g., server, may not be available. The data may be safe, and may need to be restored to a different device, possibly a new device with no data at all on it. Situations like this are called "bare-metal restores" or "bare-metal recoveries," and need the ability to recover all relevant data attributes, such as files, file systems, folders and volumes. Operating systems as well as applications may also need to be installed for a successful recovery and restoration.

Bare-metal recoveries can present several challenges to an IT staff. They can be time-consuming, and recovering Windows systems to different hardware configurations can be difficult.

Do you need bare-metal restore capabilities? In some instances, traditional disk- and tape-based backup and recovery techniques may be sufficient. Once the operating system and applications have been restored, the backed-up data can then be reinstalled. But be sure to test your backup and restore capabilities regularly. In the aftermath of a system outage, you want to be confident that you can restore your systems and data quickly and efficiently: Your company depends on it (and so may your job). Also, document your recovery and restoration procedures so that others may be able to perform restorations in case the designated IT staff is not available.

Some examples of bare-metal recovery products include Acronis Backup & Recovery, Symantec Corp. NetBackup Bare Metal Restore (an an option to Symantec's NetBackup 6.0) and Microsoft's Data Protection Manager 2007 System Recovery Tool.

This was first published in July 2010

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