Low cost automatic backup and remote data duplication solution for SMBs

By Ernesto Soria-Garcia, VP Sales IDS-Enterprise

When looking into products that solve our daily issues concerning the aspects of making sure our every day and all-important documents and databases are safely secured away, we find a host of different options and specialized products that do so with proficiency.

However If we look closely at the issues concerning data safety, and solutions to restore data in cases of accidentally deletion, or in the unfortunate case of losing a laptop under whatever circumstance or ‘force majeure’ as they say, it is clear that not all issues are covered by one solution, and that often we are obliged to build up a mecano-like assembly of products, and manage them fitting together.

In most small and medium businesses, not to mention micro enterprises or independent consultant’s cases, addressing these issues ourselves becomes almost impossible, as they are not necessarily knowledgeable enough to feel confident at having a crack at it, especially with the heavy burden of responsibility that goes with the management of such solutions.

So often we lay our hands down and decide that we’ll survive without, or accept a partial solution, or of course look for a third party to take care of this aspect of our business on our behalf. Often the more secure or complex the solution, the more costly it is, and the more dependent we are on the third party that we have called to our aid.

Linux based mini servers can offer SMBs and micro enterprises a solution that makes a backup of data from PCs in the office into a locally based unit and then duplicates it over existing ADSL lines to a second identical unit for disaster recovery of their choice, all automatically, extremely fast and at a surprisingly low cost. The server can integrate the most advanced enterprise-class technology and allow SMBs and micro enterprises with no more skills in IT than the general PC user to set up and run, providing for the first time real private and fully confidential outsourcing of duplication of one’s data. The intelligent server can monitor the whole process with security checks and counter checks, provided to the user as well as the manager/owner of the SMB.

Outlined below are what every enterprise whether a conglomerate or SMB needs to do in order to secure their data backup and the procedures and techniques needed to restore the data and files. To do this, the IT industry defines broadly the building blocks necessary to have a full fledged solution as follows:

For backing up data on the company site and then making copies of it for transportation to the remote site physically or perhaps to duplicate and transfer data via networks to a recipient unit elsewhere including media for remote storage:

Backup software to manage the daily ‘gathering’ of data from all ‘producers’ of data or clients.

  • The hardware (PC, Server) that orchestrates this collection
  • Local office storage media such as tape drives, disk drives to store the data collected
  • Software or procedures to create a copy or replication of the backed up data to local tapes or disks that are physically transported daily to the remote (outsourced) site
In case of sending data via the networks to a remote site:
  • Hardware( PC/Server) to orchestrate and send data execute this process to additional remote hardware (PC/Server) storage Disk or Tape drives and their media
  • Network infrastructure, whether SAN, LANS, or Internet ADSL
  • High –level IT engineer to put it all together, administrate and monitor.
Large enterprises can afford to piece together a full solution covering the aspects above which require good IT knowhow, and administration, as well as monitoring efforts to ensure that all is working well. All this has a naturally a cost that can go into the tens or hundred of thousand £s.

By covering in one fully integrated and purpose made software and hardware product that does all this linux servers can offer a huge opportunity for SMB and micro enterprises to once and for all equip themselves with a solution that brings an extremely affordable, high-level enterprise security to their data.

A typical end user wish list when looking for a backup and remote duplication solution are commonly identified as needing to be:
  • All inclusive with high performance. IDSbox integrates all under its Linux OS, and local office data modifications and updates only are transmitted to the remote IDSbox, therefore avoiding any clogs in the ADSL lines, and providing extremely high performance synchronization of local and remote (outsourced) backup.
  • Have completeness and integrity of data. Various monitoring control Checks are carried out at repertory, file levels amongst others
  • Robust. A robust system made of metal chassis including a reinforced PVC casing
  • Low operating cost. An electronic temperature and activity control lowers energy consumption to a meagre 9 Watts; could not be greener!
  • Easy to install and administrate. Linux OS has been adapted to not require human intervention during its operation. Any programming or planning is done via a web browser.
  • Provider of highest security levels. The local and remote servers as well as their disks containing the backed up data are mutually interchangeable. Data is transferred via encrypted data tunnels, validation and authentification certificates, password control and operate and Rsync/ssh protocol controls are used.
  • Independence. No additional services or third party products are needed so there are no hidden surprises. Only existing ADSL lines are used.
  • Easy Data backup definitions and restoration procedures. The software should provide a very easy way to define (simple drag and drop!) the files and folders one wants to permanently have secured by backup and remote duplication. The times to backup and frequencies should also be automated.
  • Flexibility in data outsourcing possibilities. Should the company be a micro enterprise with a couple of PCs only, then only a single server will be needed at the remote location to back up data from the PCs.
  • Confidentiality. Access to back up data should be provided through personal passwords only. This is different from NAS servers that share data.
  • Scalability. The data backup and duplication capacity can be upgraded by simply changing the server disk sizes, e.g. from 320 Gb capacity to 1TB, or by adding an external Disk of up to 1 TB. Tape drives and disks for snapshot functions can be attached.
  • Accompanying services such as warranty extensions, hot lines. Various warranties and extensions should be provided by the technology supplier, to provide maximum peace of mind.
  • Cost effective. Linux servers can provide the most economical solution in the market to back up locally data and duplicate it remotely. This type of solution can be as purchased for as little as £1,200 for an entry level twin box solution consisting of two mini Linux servers including 320 Gb disk capacity in them, and all the software necessary to backup as many as 20 PCs or servers locally, the software to duplicate the data, to create the secure encrypted transmission tunnel via the ADSL and monitor and report to the SMB manager and individual users. Other solutions in the market that can carry this service out, whether hardware, software based, or both can cost 20 to 50 times more.

In conclusion, for the first time an extremely affordable solution that integrates all the components required to back up data on a company site as well as creating and maintaining a permanently updated copy physically elsewhere via ADSL is available and can be set up and programmed by a typical PC user. A SMB can now physically posses and control not only its local but outsourced data, without requiring a third party. Many SMB owners have expressed strong interest in this, as their data remains now fully confidential, and in case of a major disaster or data loss they can themselves recover the data using the extremely simple and intuitive software provided.

IDS-Enterprise are exhibiting at Storage Expo 2008 the UK’s definitive event for data storage, information and content management. Now in its 8th year, the show features a comprehensive FREE education programme and over 100 exhibitors at the National Hall, Olympia, London from 15 - 16 October 2008 www.storage-expo.com

Source: StoragePR