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Virtually revolutionising our back-up strategy

Posted by Irfaan Brey in: disaster recovery, server virtualization

As with everything in life, it’s important to have a carefully planned ’insurance policy’ in place in case disaster strikes. At Open Box, this means ensuring that our 95 servers are backed-up with a strategy that would help us get back to business in no time, with minimal effort. Our contingency plan relies on the fact that we have a virtualised server. By no means a new technology, but definitely a game-changer. The virtual environment provides efficiencies and capabilities that would just not be possible in the physical world.

If we look back a few years to a time when we were reliant on MS DPM (Data Protection Manager), it would have taken around 5 days to back-up 40 Terabytes of data, compressed to 16 Terabytes of data. It’s hard to believe that back then, each and every server required its own dedicated machine. Today, we have migrated to Veeam, which allows for lightning-fast high speed recovery. Essentially the system takes comprehensive ‘snap shots’ of our servers in a virtual environment… including everything from the configuration to the operating system. This records the virtual machine's state at the exact time of the snapshot to be restored later (effectively undoing any changes that occurred afterwards). So today at Open Box, we have the power to back-up more data, in less space, in considerably less time… shaving those 5 days down to just 8 hours.

Recently, we were forced to test our system and it was a relief to find that the server was restored in under 1 minute. Our old MS DPM system would have required considerably more time and effort. As it was a copying process, rather than a ‘snap shot’ method, one would have needed to go through the process of reconfiguring one’s system to the previous version… a time consuming and frustrating process.

Thanks to our virtualised environment, we are now confident that - if the worst should happen – our 95 servers would be restored quickly and effortlessly. If this is something that could affect the day to day running of your business, perhaps it’s time to consider moving over to the virtual environment, if you aren’t there already. You’ll sleep easier at night, knowing that if the worst should happen, you’d be back in the saddle in no time.

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