The Importance of Data Backups – Part 2 of 3

Step 2:  Determine the Storage Strategy

Storage strategy should be broken into three parts:

  • Local storage (stored on the server itself.)
  • Company storage (stored on a dedicated server on the company LAN.)
  • Offsite storage (physically located off the company premises.)

Local Storage:

For all critical servers, create a local share (hidden if you need) on the server where the backups are stored.  This keeps the nightly backup file (compressed if you choose) waiting for retrieval by the company backup script.

This process can be repeated on all servers on the corporate network.  In our SQL example, this would store compressed database files.  In other instances, this may be website directories, the system state from your domain controller(s), or even Windows backups of your file shares.  Whatever is important on that particular server.

Company Storage:

Next, have a central location to store a copy of all backups.  The can be a re-allocated server that was at the end of its life cycle.  What we need here is storage space, not processing power.

On the storage partition, create a new directory for each server being backed up on the network.  This central server will contain a script that collects the nightly backups from the individual servers across the network (from the share created on the server’s local directory).

At this point, we should now have 2 working copies of the latest backup for each server.

Offsite Storage:

Finally, we need to get these backup files to a remote location (so that in the event your building is a smoking crater, the data infrastructure for the business can be rebuilt).  If your company has invested in a tape storage solution, we have now reduced costs by requiring that only 1 server (our Company Storage server) be written to tape for offsite transfer.

Many companies are now investing in online solutions, or taking advantage of remote disaster recovery location assets.  If this is the case, scripting an encrypted transfer digitally to the remote location over the Internet can be an efficient way to ensure your data has reached a safe alternative storage location (and you don’t need to remember to change any tapes).