Layered Backups

We’ve been talking about backups for a few posts now. It’s a critically important topic whether we’re talking about business or personal files. Data loss really stinks and can be very costly.Backups are the antidote for that.

That much said, sometimes people think because they have a copy of their data that it’s enough. How often is it copied? Is it the only copy? What kind of media is it on? Is it kept int he same location as the original? Is it always plugged in and accessible?

The goal of data backups is securing your data and making it readily available as quickly and easily as possible. For us, that means we look at several layers of backups. Let me give an example with our VPS environments.

We have a virtual machine that gets snapshot backups on a regular basis and we keep a number of those snapshots. When we make a major configuration change it gets backed up and then we have routine backups as well on a regular basis. Within the virtual server we have rsnapshot running to make layers of hourly, weekly, monthly and yearly backups. Then we have a routine that makes a copy of those on a regular basis to another location.

What’s more, we have monitoring setup so we can know if we’re out of space on the backup volumes, if it’s been more than x days since a backup was copied along with other metrics. The bottom line is to protect data so…

What happens if the whole Virtual environment is corrupted – oh we have a snapshot. “This snapshot is not working either it must have been the last major software upgrade…, ok we have a snapshot just before that upgrade.” “Oh this file got deleted and shouldn’t have been… ok rsnapshot has it, do we need this afternoon, yesterday, last week, or last month?” “Oh… the datacenter had a fire and our server is not going to be available for days if ever… – ok the offsite backup can be copied to a new server somewhere else and we can be setup in a few hours.”

I’ll note that instant backups of everything is great, but also terrible. I’ve seen cryptolockers that zipped through a companies data files in a couple hours corrupting everything. If all the files were instantly backed up and there was no offline/inaccessible copy… that could be bad. Of course, this is why you setup proper access control policies on the network and not leave client workstations able to access all the backup sets without authentication.

With the right configuration you can have backups to keep your data safe from all types of mishaps. Give us a call and find out how we can help you keep your data safe.