How important is to create data backup for IaaS and different back up types

In this article, we tell how you should provide the backup procedure on your IaaS or dedicated server. Let's see the backup types, and the criteria to choose an optimal to your project backup.

Everyone who works with the data knows the essential rule – first of all, you should do a backup. No matter what exactly you do, either web site development, or implement the next ERP module, or migrate your company's infrastructure to the cloud, you must backup your data. Why is it so critical? We believe everybody knows the answer. But the persons who faced the scenario of recovering a system after a crash and having no relevant backups can answer much better than others.

If troubles concerned only web site, it is unpleasant. But if the whole virtual corporate infrastructure has no data backup, a system crash can cause the downfall of the whole business.

The system can crash due to various reasons, the human factor (carelessness or malpractice), cyberattacks and viruses, DDoS attacks are among them. Year after year, the complexity of cyber threats rises, and a degree of damage produced by them, too.

New malware can intrude your company's infrastructure in different ways – using email, or a webpage script, or being implanted into a file downloaded from torrents, or being installed by the malicious user from the portable flash memory disc.

Your web site is deployed on dedicated servers, but your evil competitors can do everything to damage your business. So, you should be ready for DDoS that can deny access to your website at all.

You can lose your data even eventually, due to a short circuit, or a fire, or a waterflood, or a disaster, or a social cataclysm and other acts of God.

Anyway, no matter what the way was chosen to corrupt your data. The only matter worth focusing on is how fast you can recover your information and how much complete it would be after recovering. The only harness that can defend your data is the regular and correctly set backup.

Let's see the backup procedures on your IaaS or dedicated server, the backup types and how to choose the tight backup:

Backup types

Nowadays, there are three most common backup types: a full backup, an incremental backup, and a differential backup. They differ from each other by compression methods and a copying process.

A full backup

It is the simplest backup type. You schedule the time (e.g., every 24hrs) and choose data types for copying (e.g., all files saved in the 'User' folder). At the scheduled time, the backup software creates the full copy of the data contained in the 'User' folder, and transfer it to backup storage. Backed up data is archived to reduce the volume of the backup copy item. As a result, the storage saves archives of copies of 'User' folder data made regularly every day after the 24-hours interval.

Most of the data saved in the archive are identical because the everyday changes are not significant. So, this backup type is far from perfect. Duplicated data saved by the full backup takes up too much space in the storage and expends capacities of the system each time of their re-saving.

Earlier, a full backup was considered as the most reliable way to save data. But now we can use more efficient and less resource-demanding backup types. Frequently creating a full backup has no technical nor economic sense.

To optimize the procedure and minimize storage space, you can use backup deduplication. This operation, performed by a special software, allows us to detect data duplicates, delete them, and store the identical information only once. This way, the network load reduces since duplicate data is not added to the queue for network transfer to backup storage.

The only advantage from the full backup is the short time to recover information – Recovery Time Objective (RTO). RTO of a full backup is the shortest in contrast with other backup types because all data recover from the only one archive.

An incremental backup

It is faster and less resource-demanding backup type. An incremental backup process copies only the data that has changed since the last backup operation.

The first iteration of an incremental backup is a full backup creation. On the next stage, in a preset time (e.g., every day at 6 a.m.), the backup system launches the copying process, and copies only that data that has changed from yesterday morning. After a series of the same stages, a full back up of data is done again, and the process repeats cyclically. The number of stages is set by a system administrator. It could be a week, or a month, so on.

A weakness of an incremental backup is recovering data from the last full backup and all incremental points done after. It makes RTO metric a little higher, but the advantage of this type of backup is much more efficient storage space allocation and network load.

A differential backup

A differential backup looks like an incremental one, but it copies the data that has changed from the last full backup. So, a differential backup is more efficient than a full backup but less efficient in comparison to an incremental. Besides, it has very good RTO.

How to choose a relevant backup for your project

You should learn the criteria of good backup software;

Automatization: backup software needs to have a scheduling feature when the backup begins. It means that you've launched the system initially and selected the essential options – to copy at 01 a.m. every day during a year, ten folders with certain names and transfer backup copies to the storage on the remote server – and the backup software needs no more actions from you. (But do not forget to check your backup copies from time to time!)

Recovery time objective: this metric affects the business significantly. When your data has suffered due to acts of God, all your information should be recovered as soon as it is necessary to the business continuity.

Data safety: your backup data should be encrypted and transferred to the storage by secured channels. Additionally, your information in the backup data storage should be protected by hardware-based encryption.

Flexibility: backup software should process all types of data and have advanced settings that allow the user to select all necessary options.

Let's talk about clouds

Migrating your company's infrastructure to the cloud or dedicated servers does not mean you don't have to back up your data. Despite the fact that your Enterprise-class equipment is located in the remote data center, you'll never be immune from human-caused or natural disasters and other troubles. Backup can really cure in case of your system crash, and you can restore your data soon and without loss.

Good cloud providers offer to their customers a BaaS – Backup-as-a-Service, the special solution for effective protection infrastructure information in the cloud. BaaS can be set individually by the customer in a cloud management dashboard. The most progressive backup type for BaaS in an incremental backup, because its combination of resource-demanding and RTO metrics is optimal.

A very good cloud BaaS embodiment you can learn from the website of a German cloud provider that offers to create a private cloud environment to meet your business needs completely. This private cloud solution includes an incremental BaaS. You can select a storage option, too – BaaS Local, the storage is located in the same datacenter where the cloud has deployed, RTO is minimal; or BaaS Remote, the storage is located in the remote datacenter from the DC where the cloud has deployed, it guarantees more data safety even in acts of God with the cloud DC. Anyway, your data will be protected by reliable backup.

We've explored backup types and characteristics, and their specifics for the cloud infrastructure. And the conclusion is simple – you should do backups to protect your data. If the company infrastructure deployed on-premises, then system administrators set the backup procedure. And if your business infrastructure is migrated to a cloud, you should order a backup as a service from your cloud provider.


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