By Ruby Nahal, Senior Engineer

Ruby Nahal, Engineer

The Story Behind Toy Story 2

We all know about the movie “Toy Story 2”. Pixar’s amazing creation where toys save the day. But did you know that the film was almost lost? And all because of human error. The primary files were accidentally deleted and when an attempt was made to recover from tape backups, it was discovered that nothing had been backed up for months due to systems failure. Luckily, Pixar was able to recover from a stray copy of files from the technical director’s personal backups.

We have all heard horror stories or experienced failed backup scenarios. From punch cars to Magnetic tape to the rise of floppy disks to the CD and evolution of Optical disks to the modern era of cloud backups – backup solutions and best practices have gone through a big evolution over the last century.

Embrace the Change

The rate that data change happens these days was unimaginable just a few decades ago. That means it has become increasingly important to evolve with the new age of backup best practices.

Today, if data is hosted on premises, a basic best practice backup solution will include local backups and offsite backups/replication for disaster recovery. The investment in a backup solution determines how fast you recover from a system failure. There is another decision on a backup solution that is important as well. Application consistent backups vs crash consistent backups (more on that here).

The Future is Here

In the last few years, a new age of backup solutions has emerged that plugs directly into cloud storage so cloud storage like Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure can be a target of offsite backups.

A few years ago, an offsite backup to a cloud storage probably would not have made financial sense for a small to a medium business, but with the cloud storage cost now becoming comparable to physical storage, plus, the scalability and the availability that comes along with it,  an offsite backup target is a no-brainer.

Some backup solutions also offer powering on virtual machines directly from the backups in the cloud (Amazon EC2 and Microsoft Azure). The constant trend of reduction in cloud offerings cost has made these solutions pretty approachable for the small to medium business. This helps organizations raise their standards on their backup and disaster recovery plans.

What backup solution to choose is based on what it offers, however, is a decision that will depend on your business needs. The few factors that can be looked at:

  1. Platform support – Know what platforms are supported in terms of operating systems (Windows, Linux etc), hypervisors (VMware, hyper-v, Citrix), business-critical applications (Exchange, SQL).
  2. Restorability – Know what is the restore mechanism for the solution – per item restore ( per file or per message/mailbox for exchange), is direct restore as a virtual machine supported. Can you restore certain disks etc.
  3. Cloud support – Does it plug into a cloud storage for offsite backups/replication. Does it support firing up virtual machines from the backup on the cloud itself?
  4. Constant innovation – How much has the product has evolved in the past? You don’t want to get stuck with a product that may be cheap but the last update/integration was released 5 years ago.

In our company, we are constantly looking at new technology that may best serve our customer needs and at the same time bridge the gap to cloud offerings which seems to be the future.

About Ruby //@RubyNahal // Ruby hails from India with a flair for cooking traditional cuisine and a deep love of learning (you may find her buried in a book, non-fiction of course) and a real passion for all things tech. For her, enhancing people’s lives via well-executed technology solutions has always been more than a job, and it also makes Ruby a perfect fit for our team; she gets our mission to the core. As far as technical chops, Ruby is bar none. She holds a Master’s Degree in IT, multiple certifications and awards in Network and Security Administration, led several R & D teams and worked for five years as an Infrastructure Architect in Canada. Need we say more? Read Ruby’s story here >>