Tag Archives: Better backups

How Can I Try And Compare Overseas Backup Providers to UK Backup Providers?

I’ve been trying to find a simple way to try and help a UK business decide between a UK Backup provider and one of those extremely cheap overseas Backup providers. I thought of maybe comparing a sports car to a family saloon or comparing a five start restaurant to a fast food restaurant, then suddenly the answer presented it to me from my dear wife last night.

So Cheap

She bought a watch from a well known online shopping site for a mere £1.78 which included delivery all the way from China. It turned up 20 days later. It worked, it kept good time and actually subject to taste, it looked pretty good. But last night she told me its stopped working; well it worked now and then. “Who should I contact” she asked, “I don’t know, try the place you bought it from” I replied. “I have, but I have to contact the seller in China” which is where the conversation ended followed by the watch being thrown into the bin.
So where am I going with this?
Well over the last few months, we have been fighting to get our pricing correct, but when up against users and possible resellers opting for backup service over seas based purely on price and not service, we can’t compete. One person said I can get 2TB for £300 per year while another states 5TB for £30 per month. Sure, there will be some hidden costs in there somewhere, along with the usual “fair usage policy” which catches loads of users out, but still far cheaper than we could ever offer. So how does this compare with the watch? Well, ask your self a couple of questions.

1. How easy is it to contact the provider when you have a problem?
2. How fast can you backup / restore from their servers?
3. Realistically, will it actually work for the amount of data you have?


At least if your data is stored in the UK, most backup providers allow you to download the data as quick as your internet speeds allow without long latency delays cutting restore speed in half.
Also, like us, some backup providers offer free seeding of the initial backup along with free restores via USB for large amounts of data. Can you imaging this from a US based company to a UK user?

To sum this up, it goes back to the old saying “You get what you pay for” In my wife’s case, a broken watch.

I’ve been running some simple tests backing up a 200GB file. Firstly to an overseas backup provider, then to our own servers. You will be shocked at the difference. I will blog this next.

You backup every evening – Nice, but what if the system crashes at 4pm?

So you backup every night to some kind of external device, you take that offsite and use a different device the next evening. Well done! But let’s say it’s 4pm Tuesday afternoon. The network / servers have been running well all day and everyone is happy. Then your phone starts going mad with users unable to open emails. It’s quick to work out that the Exchange server has died. You go to the server room and realise that two of your hard drives have died. Not a problem, you have a backup from last night. So apart from the question how long will it take you to restore and get the server live, what about all those emails that have been lost during the day, or the appointments users arranged. When you restore from last nights backup, you would have lost all of this data. What if this server had been your main Database server and you had 50 users inputting information all day?

A daily backup is no longer enough when we depend on our computer systems so much. Downtime is one thing, but the time lost from not backing up frequently throughout the day can be and possibly will be more costly.

With both our backup products you can backup as many times as you like during the day. In the above scenario, a Bare Metal Backup would allow you to virtually boot your server on any hardware within minutes and keep it running until you have time to fix the original server. With our file Backup solution it will take longer, but at least the data lost is kept to a minimum.

If you only backup once a day, see if you can increase the frequency before it’s too late!