Small Business Data Backup | PREVENT | by Exigent Technologies (Part 3 of 5)
For example a concept called clustering has been around for years. Clustering is where you have two or more servers, usually identical, that makes complete replicas of one another all day long. So in the event of a failure on one server, the other server simply picks up where the other one left off, and the users really don’t even know what happened, and business continues to function … computing continues to function as normal. Obviously for the smaller companies, this isn’t very feasible or affordable. Not only is it expensive, it’s actually complex.
The fact of the matter is that up until recently there wasn’t really an easy or affordable way for smaller organizations or those with tighter IT budgets, to continue working in the event of a moderate to catastrophic failure. Today that technology does exist and, in fact, it’s well within the reach of everybody on this call.
So what’s changed? The major change that’s taken place is the shift from tape-based technology to disk-based technology, and also the concept we call virtualization, which is one of the most hottest, and most implemented technologies of our day. So what is disk-based backup? Disk-based backup is exactly what it says. It’s the concept of using hard disks, just like the ones in your laptop or server or PC is for backup operations, and rendering a tape a secondary or obsolete backup mechanism. So let me just be clear on that. We’re not going to use your PC or your laptop to back up your servers. What we’re saying is disk-based backup is a concept of using hard disks to back up your data in lieu of tape. And rendering tape either as a secondary backup mechanism, or just making it obsolete for good. And we think that’s where it’s going, as far as tape. We do see the obsolescence of tape coming very quickly.
Okay. Let’s take a look at the different mediums we’ve used over the years to backup data, and how things have changed. And I won’t spend too much time on this. But the takeaway from this graphic here, is the tape is a 20+ year-old technology, magnetic tape, okay? It’s been around a long, long time and it will likely continue to have a place for a little while in larger organizations. But everything is going to disk now and we’ll tell you why. So let’s see here. Let’s just talk about the technology that is tape backups.
So for those of you that are old enough to know, tape backup uses the same technology that was used in your eight track tapes. You know that “Eagles Greatest Hits” that you have in the closet or your Beatles cassette tape, or that now seemingly ancient technology called the VCR. It’s the same concept, magnetic tape. So what you see here is that as the years went by, newer technologies came forth like high-capacity hard disk, writable CDs, DVDs, and now even Blu-ray. Tape is still around but the sales are plummeting, and the fact is that while tape may have its place, other technologies are a much better option for backing up your data and providing continuity that we talked about earlier.
So this is not a graph of the stock market, though it does look like one. Storage prices have plummeted, plummeted. So the reason we keep talking about disk here is because overwhelmingly, disk has become the extremely cheap, but very reliable option of choice. But at the same time while disk prices have plummeted, the storage capacity of those same disks have skyrocketed. So preparing for this presentation, we went out to one of the high-volume e-tailers to randomly sample the prices for some hard disks. So I could tell you from someone that’s been in this game for nearly 20 years, I’m even astounded at the capacities that are available at the various price points.
If you focus in on the $99 drive at the bottom of the slide, you’ll find that they’re offering a 500 gigabyte hard drive for $99, okay? Five hundred gigabytes of storage for $99. If you do the math on that, that’s about $.20 per gigabyte, absolutely astounding. So for the less technical of those on the call, 500 gigabytes is a huge amount of data. To put that in perspective, we’ll give Apple a little plug here. Everyone either has an iPod, if you’re like me, have kids that are on their second or third iPod.
The largest iPod you can buy today, I think, yeah I think it is, the largest iPod you can buy today is 120 gigabyte iPod. That iPod can hold about 30,000 songs or 150 hours of video. So if you think about that 500 gigabyte hard drive that we just looked at for 99 bucks, just think in terms of song. That $99 hard drive can hold about 124,800 songs and suffice it to say your Word documents and Excel spreadsheets are almost, in all cases, much smaller than the average song, okay? So let’s do a quick summary of what we talked about so far. Organizations need to look beyond just copying their data to tape. Tape backup is not enough. Look at your organization and ask the question, “What is our tolerance for downtime?” Simply taking data from your servers and copying it onto tapes is only half the battle.
To be able to run your business or organization while you’re recovering from a failure or disaster is key to your overall backup strategy and disaster recovery planning. You want to be and can be the company that can send and receive email while your email server is dead and offline. You want to be the organization that can process orders and see patients while your practice management system and order entry or accounting system is dead. You want to be the company that thought ahead and prepared for disaster beforehand. “It’s not if, it’s when” is what we say in the business. You want to be the company that realizes that, you know, things do happen, human error does happen, and you want to be best prepared for that.
You want to take action now rather than taking action as a result of lessons learned. And you now know by virtue of your attendance today that the recovery time in the event of a server failure is long and expensive and it has many pitfalls and variables that go along with it. And you know that sticking the tape in the drive is a very small part of a much more complex restoration process. You’ve also learned that to all of our benefit, other options other than tape do exist, making it more robust disaster recovery and business continuity solutions available today.