Bandwidth constraints and costs are the single biggest reason many Africa-based organisations have avoided remote backups, choosing rather to store hard copies off site. But new technology from Veeam offers the ability to create offsite backups over a network, even when bandwidth is slow or unreliable.
“Keeping offsite backups is an essential element of any disaster recovery and business continuity plan,” says Veeam’s South Africa territory manager Warren Olivier. “When there’s a fire or a flood – and those do happen – you need to be able to restart your entire operation at a new site, on new and potentially dissimilar hardware, as quickly as possible.”
“We recommend a 3-2-1 policy,” adds Olivier: “Keep at least 3 copies of your data, one in production and two backups. Keep your backups on 2 separate media, and store 1 of them offsite. That’s the minimum you need for peace of mind.”
Virtualisation is one important step towards making this best practice a reality, notes Olivier: “It means you can back up not just your data, but entire servers including operating systems and applications. Then you can restore them anywhere, without needing to configure new hardware. But if you’re relying on agent-based software to do your backups, you’re losing out on many of the advantages of speed and efficiency.
South Africa’s relatively slow, expensive and sometimes unreliable bandwidth has stopped many organisations from turning to online backups – but, says Olivier, “that’s a problem all over Africa. So Veeam has built technology into the latest version of its Backup & Replication software that can make offsite backups over a network up to 50 times faster.”
There are many WAN acceleration products on the market, notes Olivier, “but none of them are designed specifically for copying backups of virtual machines to new sites – so we wrote our own, based on Veeam’s proprietary backup file formats. It’s been designed specifically for slow and unreliable links, to allow faster backups. It also has the ability to resume a backup that’s been interrupted by network problems, with no loss of data.”
Veeam’s backup copy functionality means businesses can easily create and store offsite backups of entire virtual environments anywhere they choose, says Olivier. “You can put your backups in a second location that you own and control, in a hosted data recovery centre or in the cloud. You have the flexibility to choose any public or private cloud storage provider – and store more than one offsite backup if you want.”
There is also good news for those who can’t avoid tape for compliance reasons, or want to make the most of existing equipment: Veeam Backup & Replication now supports tape as an additional backup medium as well.