Your Backup Strategy Just Got Easier and Faster, with StarWind
It was probably only ten years ago when it was commonplace for backups to run weekly onto slow but reliable tape drives. Backup windows would be a couple of dozen hours long, so backup software would kick in late at night and run when the workplace was quiet over the weekend. Organizations with deep pockets may have invested in multi-loader tape drives, so larger backups could be taken more often. Recovering files took hours: roll back to the newest full copy, then apply the differences taken in incremental backups over the week.
While the technology may have moved on (although tape backups still have their advocates), the concepts of a solid backup strategy have changed little. Most systems administrators would say that unless a company has three backups of critical data, it might as well not have any. The same network professionals can also be found practicing recovery: from full-blown disaster or retrieving archives and bodies of work from the vaults. When incidents happen, well-rehearsed procedures should be able to bring data back from storage.
Under the hood of backup technology, there are quite a few caveats and obstacles that lurk for the unwary. Backing up live databases, for instance, has its world of pain waiting for the unwary, and any networked backups soon show up any connectivity bottlenecks when run simultaneously with production workloads.
Nevertheless, modern filesystems like ZFS and BTRFS, combined with virtualization technologies like containers and virtual disk images, make snapshots an everyday reality for many network teams. Depending on resource availability, it’s now possible to snapshot critical data as often as every few minutes, with seamless rollback easily achieved. There is no simplistic plug-and-play solution for full backup and recovery capabilities, although, of course, many vendors will claim that their platform is just that. Realistically, IT teams still must carefully piece together their own backup and recovery strategy according to the business’s needs, existing infrastructure, available resources, and expected recovery metrics, the latter often covered by strict SLAs.
Interestingly, throwing enormous sums of money at the issue doesn’t necessarily always bring about the best results. Long-term storage of rarely accessed data, for example, is ill-suited to being placed on flash storage, despite solid-state disks’ allegedly faster IOPs and read/write speeds. Data integrity for long-term storage is often better served by spinning metal drives and (shock), on occasion, tape libraries.
Investing in a backup strategy and its hardware, software, and network requirements today involves choosing a mixture of fast, snapshot-capable backup facilities, plus media that allows swift retrieval of data that’s, for instance, a few days or weeks old. Longer-term archives often need a different approach, too, with de-duplication and on-the-fly compression offering extra capacity at the cost of compute and power resources. In brief, a reliable backup strategy will be different for every organization and will also change its nature over time as the needs of the business evolve.
Created by backup specialist systems engineers for their industry peers, the StarWind backup solutions have been designed from the ground up to fit into a practical, reliable, and cost-effective backup strategy. There is a high degree of plug-and-play simplicity to the Backup Appliance, for example, but that feature is designed to make busy professionals’ lives easier, rather than be so dumbed-down it’s a rigid, inflexible solution.
Backups are blazingly quick, thanks to the all-NVMe disk arrays that offer 30.7TB or 61.4TB in a configured RAID. The application layer runs separately to the storage, powered by twin Xeon 3206Rs, over two 10Gbe Base-T and twin 10/25 GbE SFP28 connections (spec sheet here [PDF]). That means just about immediate restoration of VMs, for example, allowing teams to hit their recovery SLAs comprising stringent RPOs and RTOs.
As you’d expect from the hyperconvergent mentality of the engineers at StarWind, the device(s) fit well among abstracted resources (like the company’s own HCS – hyperconvergent computing appliance). There’s also a virtualized tape drive and other options for storage in the longer term, both on- and off-premise.
StarWind has an amazing reputation among IT pros for its support standards, which comprise remote monitoring plus knowledgeable people on the end of a manned phone line, 24/7/365 – a rare commodity today.
In today’s data-heavy workplace, getting information copied and stored in case of mistake, emergency, or successful hacking event is a business imperative. Providing such a facility need not cost the earth, nor need dedicated teams to maintain. The StarWind backup appliances and services tread the best path between value-for-money and capacity, with ease of use and technological advancement in the heart of the solutions.
To learn more about how StarWind can help create a full, belt-and-braces backup strategy (with or without tape libraries), get in touch with a representative from the company.
1 December 2022
30 November 2022