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Disaster recovery trial by fire... literally

IDGNS | Feb. 28, 2011
On a Sunday morning last year, John Brooks received news no one wants to hear. There'd been an electrical fire in the basement of a New York City office tower - where his law firm has an office.

"We had tested the recovery of our SQL databases and our Exchange databases, and we fully documented everything," Brooks says. "When the fire happened, we were ahead of the game. We knew exactly what to do, and that's why we were able to recover so quickly."

He might not have been so confident if the old tape-based backup system were still in place. It was a cumbersome, error-prone process, Brooks recalls. "We had local office personnel changing tapes on a daily basis, and it was easy to miss a backup," he says. There was also the risk of tapes getting lost en route from the remote offices to Marshall Dennehey's headquarters.

Using i365's disk-to-disk backup system, local personnel are freed from having to manually change tapes. Plus the firm is now able to perform backups seven days a week instead of Monday through Friday. "It's centrally managed now. There's no user intervention required whatsoever," Brooks says.

Recovery time is vastly improved, too. "I can recover a file in minutes whereas before it would have taken a minimum of four to eight hours by the time the tapes were sent out, we put them in the drive, indexed the information, and recovered the data," Brooks says. "Recovery is much faster, and it can be done remotely, which is the beauty of it."

When Marshall Dennehey decided to upgrade its backup and recovery infrastructure, it considered both disk-to-disk backup technologies and hosted backup services. A move to cloud-based backup services isn't in the cards anytime soon. "The concern for us is the retrieval of our data," Brooks says. "If you discontinue the cloud service, where does your data go?

Another potential roadblock with cloud-based backup is the increase in costs as data volumes grow. "Our data growth is increasing exponentially on a yearly basis," Brooks says, which means the volume of hosted data and its associated cost could continue to climb. "The costs can be ever-increasing, and we've taken that into consideration, too."

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Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.


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