What are Data Center Backup Solutions?
Data center backup and recovery software is designed to provide business continuity and prevent critical data loss, even while data centers grow more complex. While backup solutions provide a disaster recovery solution, they may also be used for workload migration. Additionally, some data center backup solutions are designed to meet data archiving and storage needs in compliance-governed industries. Modern software-defined data center backup solutions provide replication and backup of data in a vendor and hardware agnostic fashion.
Small businesses may rely on backup solutions that come with the server operating system, or built-in server backup. However, this approach creates vulnerabilities due to a lack of transparency. It also means the company may have multiple non-integrated data protection solutions. This is not viable for larger enterprises where transparency and policy-based governance rules exist. And for virtualization heavy environments, virtualization-aware data backup solutions are key.
The modern data center needs data backup solutions that cover:
- Physical and virtual servers
- Enterprise applications (i.e., SaaS products)
- Mobile endpoints
- Public infrastructure platforms (like AWS)
Most modern data center backup solutions will optionally back data up to the cloud. However, many backup solutions provide target storage options. This includes on-premises options like a NAS appliance or tape drive for long-term storage. Many data center backup solutions are "agentless"—meaning they have no process running in the background on every machine. Yet still, data is backed up automatically according to administrator-defined rules and schedule.
Data Center Backup Features & Capabilities
Data center backup and recovery solutions provide the following feature sets:
Combine backup & replication, recovery, and storage in a single service
Machine / platform agnostic backup restorations
Centralized web-based management console
Deduplication, changed block only backup, low bandwidth consumption
File archival, long-term storage optimized backup
Near continuous data protection (e.g., high interval) & restore availability
Support for remote offices, remote employees (e.g., laptops, VDI)
Test and validation of recovery plans, recovery assurance
Verification of backups, ransomware / virus detection
Encryption and deduplication of transmitted data
Protection & restore of running applications, open files, etc.
Cloud-to-cloud backup for SaaS services (e.g., Exchange, Microsoft Office 365)
Image-level virtual machine (VM) backup
Multiple data restore locations (e.g., tape appliance, cloud)
Copy data management with search & analytics
Optional unlimited cloud storage for backups, managed cloud-based storage
Integrated deduplication and file compression
Regular snapshots to ensure Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is met
Replacement appliances in case of total disaster
Data Center Backup Comparison
When evaluating data center backup software, carefully take into account the following considerations:1. Do you need converged secondary storage?
Converged secondary storage is a combination of many data protection technologies including backup, recovery, archiving, replication, deduplication, compression and encryption. The idea of a turnkey packaged solution is very attractive to some who have little interest in selecting a server and the associated software components, and just want something that is scalable and secure and optimized out of the gate. On the other hand, some customers are likely to have appropriate infrastructure in the data center and would prefer a software-only solution that they can install themselves. One of the big advantages of this converged storage approach is that it allows buyers to think beyond backup, and to think in terms of a broader data protection management strategy. 2. What about copy data management?
Copy data management is a solution to the problem of proliferating copies of data across the enterprise. The amount of data collected and processed by enterprises has grown exponentially over the last few years, and if multiple copies of the same data are being stored, this can use up available storage space and degrade performance. The key insight behind the development of copy data management is that there should be a centralized, policy-driven way to manage the creation and use of copies in an automated and efficient manner. Copy data management capabilities have now become pervasive in backup offerings, and most enterprise vendors include some form of copy data management as standard with their products.3. Is cloud backup for you?
Cloud storage is not yet the de facto storage option for most organizations despite advantages like elasticity which allows for capacity growth with unlimited storage. However, a large majority of organizations have a hybrid strategy allowing them to utilize both on-premises and cloud backup strategies, sometimes dictated by the kind of data being backed up. For example, mission critical data might be backed up to disk in the data center, while data that is less likely to be needed in the short term is stored in the cloud as a form or archiving. Start a Data Center Backup software comparison
Costs of data backup solutions vary widely but directly correlate with the quantity of data backed up as the foremost cost determinant. However, infrastructural complexity (primarily virtualization) also provides a source of cost increase. Many vendors of data center backup software do provide very limited “community” editions of their backup solutions at no cost. These free backup solutions are available perpetually and provide basic file protection and sometimes finite cloud storage for backup data. Paid plans are generally available on a per server or per socket basis. For various degrees of feature breadth cost will generally range from $450 to $1200 per server.
While all products feature basic data center backup, advanced backup solutions include workload automation, role-based access, self-service recovery, and other features. Alternatively, protection plans can be purchased per workstation. This may present a viable, low cost (e.g., approximately $100 per workstation per year) backup solution for small businesses. Also, leading providers of data center backup and disaster recovery solutions may provide wholly managed recovery services, or data backup hardware and appliances as well.