There are multiple reasons businesses need to backup their data. You need the ability to restore data if it gets lost or corrupted, or if a disaster requires shifting processing to an alternate site. Compliance policies may require retaining copies of data for a lengthy period of time. Analytics projects may need years’ worth of history, and new software projects often require copies of production data for development and testing.
Given all these reasons for making backups, implementing an effective backup process is a critical IT function.
Types of Backups
All critical systems need to be backed up daily, but not every piece of data needs to be backed up every day. There are different kinds of backups that allow the process to run more efficiently.
- Full backup. Every system needs a full backup to be made at least once. This is a complete copy of the data, and serves as a baseline state for the system.
- Differential backup. A differential backup includes all the data that changed since the last full backup.
- Incremental backup. An incremental backup includes only data that changed since the last incremental backup.
Once you’ve made a full backup, you can use either differential or incremental backups to copy only the changed data. This makes the backup process faster and requires less storage space. However, it makes the recovery process longer, as recovering means first restoring the full backup and then applying the changes on top of that.
Creating a synthetic full backup every week or month allows you to use incremental backups and shorten the recovery process. On a regular schedule, the incremental changes are applied to the last full backup. This effectively creates a current full backup that can be restored rapidly.
In addition to the different types of backups described above, there are some backup features that can help speed recovery in specific scenarios.
- Snapshots. A snapshot is a copy of a dataset at a specific point in time. Unlike backups, snapshots are typically stored on the same device as the original data. This makes them suitable for recovering rapidly, but you can’t recover from them if the device fails.
- Replication. Replication copies data changes to a second site nearly instantaneously. This allows recovery with almost no downtime if the primary device fails. However, the second site only has the latest copy of the data, so it doesn’t support recovery if data is corrupted or deleted or if an older version is required.
- Deduplication. Much data is stored in multiple places throughout an organization. Deduplication reduces the size of backups by identifying and reducing this duplicate data. However, recovery times are made longer by the need to reverse this process.
With all these options, choosing an appropriate backup strategy requires careful consideration. Contact CCS Technology Group to develop and implement a backup solution that protects your data and your business.