A local company contacted us to help implement a complete backup solution for their 10 servers.
They approached us after a server crash. Although they didn’t lose any data, the time to restore and get fully up and running was not acceptable. They invited us in to review their backup procedures and suggest ways to improve their standard file and system state backups.
The two problems with standard file backup systems is that they generally only run once or twice a day, so if your server dies late afternoon, you stand to lose lots of data. Secondly the time to get a server back up and running after a disk crash can be hours if not days. Try it yourself. Give yourself a challenge and rebuild your server from scratch. It’s actually good a good practice to get into!
- Install Operating system (30mins – 2hr)
- Patch / update the system (hours)
- Restore data (hours or days)
- Put back settings such as security, or permissions
Our obvious suggestion for the customer was to start using our Image Backup system. Image backups (everything on your server) first creates a local copy and then these files are replicated to our servers so you have a safe offsite copy.
The reason why we suggested our image backup system wasn’t just for when a server crashes, it was because the customer can also:-
Restore files and folders very quickly.
Create snapshots of their servers every 15 minutes
Virtual boot their servers in the event of a system crash within minutes
Use Head Start Restore to have mirrored servers just waiting in the wings to be started up if key live servers die.
Virtual boot their backup images to test updates before implementing them to a “live” system
The customer is very happy with this system and are confident that if a server fails, the downtime will be minimal.
This exercise was an eye opener for me. It was like going back in time to the days when I was an onsite IT guy looking after network servers. If I were to be honest, back then, I knew that even with a full backup every night, if a system was to crash, I had a big job ahead of me, and that the system would never be the same as it was.
The company now have Image backups running on 8 of their servers (two of the servers really didn’t need anything more than a file backup). They backup every 15 minutes and run a head start restore on their 3 key servers (Domain Controller, Exchange Server and SQL server) In the event of one of these servers crashing, they can finalize the head start restore, turn on the server (VM Guests) waiting in the wings and be back up and running within minutes. It really is that simple!
I sound like a sales man. I’m not! I’m a technician who believes in a solution that can and will help thousands of you out there in that heart sinking moment when you know you have a major restore ahead of you. Trust me when I say you will be amazed at how simple this solution is and how you can really rely on it.
If you would like us to suggest a solution for you, please contact us. We will be happy to help.