Backup versus Disaster Recovery

Backup Blog Disaster Recovery Monday 19th January 2015 • 4 min read
Billy Law-Bregan, Communications Officer

Having a robust backup solution is an integral to any business’s IT strategy. It is essential that a business is able to protect its data. This should form part of the overall Business Continuity Plan (BCP).

Relying on a regular scheduled (and in many cases nightly) backup means that in a disaster the worst case data loss period could be up to 24 hours. However, depending on the data’s criticality this might not be acceptable to the business and much faster recovery times will be required.

At Node4 we see a clear differentiation between “backup” and “Disaster Recovery”. In simple terms this can be expressed as:

  • Backup is about the long term protection of data.
  • Disaster Recovery (DR) is about the short-term recovery of service.

Disaster Recovery enhances the BCP by offering the ability for a business to get back to operational status in a reduced time frame, something that’s becoming increasingly difficult with traditional backups as data sizes grow into the terabytes or even petabytes.

Moving beyond a traditional backup solution, the Node4 Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) product adds near synchronous data replication and virtual workload fail-over and offers reduced Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) that cannot be achieved with traditional backups.

Recovery times for backups can be huge, even if the business has a dedicated DR location and a host of servers ready and waiting to accept data; it could still take many hours or even days to complete large data restores. By employing data replication and orchestration with DRaaS, the recovery time is reduced to minutes with only potentially a few seconds worth of data loss.

Another great feature of DRaaS is the ability to perform a disaster recovery dress-rehearsal. This is achieved by periodically performing a scheduled fail-over of the replicated virtual environments to a sandbox-type area, allowing the business to test the protected workloads without impacting production environments and providing assurance that the end-to-end disaster recovery process works as expected.

In summary, backups are perfect to protect your data to allow for individual recoveries (think: Sarah in Accounts has accidentally deleted that important spreadsheet she was working on last week) or for compliance reasons (Financial data needing 7 year retention etc.), but not so good at getting your business up and running quickly after an incident.

For Disaster Recovery a business really needs a data replication solution that offers both consistently low RPOs and RTOs.  Node4’s DRaaS will enable a business’s virtual IT infrastructure to be up and running in the shortest possible time should the need arise.


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