After a doing some work recently for a client creating a suitable off-site backup solution, I have learnt a valuable lesson that many clients may find quite interesting, particularly if this was a real life disaster situation.
As we all know, backups are a critical part of every organisations IT strategy, but how many organisations are truly aware of what their recovery point objective really is?
We all sleep easily at night, knowing that our critical systems and data are protected because they are being securely backed up, by whatever means we may have chosen to perform that service.
Let me now ask you, how many of you have actually tested your backup strategy by actually restoring your systems to a completely new environment?
The reason that I ask you this is because, any IT department will be acutely aware of the rapid growth that we have all seen in the amount of data that we are now expected to store, retain and equally importantly, backup.
I had occasion recently to perform a bare metal restore of what in the grand scheme of things was a relatively small clients entire operating environment consisting of a Windows 2008 Small Business Server with a total of 1.3TB of data and an additional Microsoft SQL Server with approx 600Gb of data.
I can hear you all thinking, less than 2TB of data, that’s not horrendous, and I would be the first to agree with you.
Well, this particular client runs a virtualised VMware infrastructure using VEEAM to backup to a QNAP NAS device, which offers them 8TB of low performance, but, cost effective storage space for their backups.
Our proposal was to offer the client, in addition to their nightly VEEAM backups to their QNAP NAS the additional ability to replicate their systems over the Internet using VEEAM Backup and Replication, Enterprise Plus Edition, utilising the built in WAN Accelerator technology to an off-site datacenter. A logical and sensible approach I hear you say. So let’s move on to putting this into practice.
The first part of creating a replicated off-site backup solution is to create a “seed” of the existing systems, and the easiest and fastest way of getting the initial “seed” is to restore the most recent backup to the replication host, which in this case was located in a hosted datacenter.
With VEEAM, this is a relatively painless and simple process, and it was decided that in order to reduce the load on the clients network and Internet bandwidth, a suitable copy of the clients backup would be transported to the off-site datacenter and restored directly to the replication servers. This is where it became apparent that the bare metal restore process, although simple and easy to do, can, even when your data footprint is relatively small, take a considerable amount of time.
Would you be surprised to learn that the restore of the 1.3TB Windows 2008 Small Business Server took a total of 39.5hrs?