Successfully recovering from disruption or disaster is one of an IT administrator’s most critical duties. Whether it’s restoring servers or rescuing lost data, failure to complete a successful recovery can spell doom for a company.
But mastering the recovery process happens before disaster strikes. This is especially true for large datasets. Our breakdown is here to help you along the way. We also have an even more detailed walkthrough for how to back up large datasets.
Large datasets have lots of variables to consider when figuring out the ‘how’ of recovery. After all, recovery doesn’t happen with the flip of a switch. Success is measured by retrieving mission critical files in the right order so your business can get back to business.
5 essential questions to ask before backing up large datasets
IT pros know that a successful recovery takes trial and error, and even a bit of finesse. And with many things in life, a bit of preparation can save a lot of downtime. So before you start, ask yourself these questions:
- What’s my company’s document retention policy? (And don’t forget regulatory requirements like GDPR)
First, you need to ensure you satisfy your company’s retention policy and that you’re in compliance with any regulatory requirements when choosing what to backup. Before sifting through your data and making hard decisions about what to protect, you need to take this important step to make sure you don’t run afoul of legislation or regulations.
- Which data is mission critical to the business?
Once in full compliance with company policies and regulations, it’s time to highlight any data that affects the operations or the financial health of the business. Identifying mission critical data allows you to prioritize backup tasks based on desired recovery options.
You can also exclude data that isn’t mission critical and isn’t covered by regulations from regular backup scheduling. Any bandwidth you save now will give you added flexibility when you make it to the last step.
- What types of data do I have (and can I compress it)?
Data is more than 1s and 0s. Some datasets have more redundancy than others, making them easier to compress while images, audio and video tend to have less redundancy. Your company might have a lot of incompressible images leading you to utilize snapshot or image backup. This allows you to move large datasets over a network more efficiently without interrupting critical workflows.
- How frequently do my data change?
The rate of change for your data will determine the size of your backups and help you figure out how long it will take to recover. That’s because once you have an initial backup and complete the dedupe process, backups only need to record the changes to your data.
Anything that doesn’t change will be recoverable from the initial backup. Even with a very large dataset, if most of your data stays static then you can recover from a small disruption very quickly. But no matter the rate of change, anticipating how long it will take to recover critical data informs your business continuity plans.
- What size backup will my network support?
Bandwidth capacity is a common denominator for successful recoveries. It’s important to remember that you can only protect as much data as your network will allow. Using all your bandwidth to make daily backups can grind business to a halt. This is where your preparation can help the most.
Once you’ve answered the first four questions, you should know which data need to be accessible at any hour of the day. You can protect this data onsite with a dedicated backup appliance to give you the fastest recovery times. Of course, you’ll still have this data backed up offsite in case a localized disaster strikes.
IT assets cost money and often represent large investments for businesses. New technologies bring advancements in business continuity but can also add complications. And to top it all off, IT ecosystems increasingly must support both legacy technology and new systems.
Some vendors are slow to adapt new pricing models that fit with emerging technologies. They add on excessive overage charges and ‘per instance’ fees. This adds costs as businesses scale up their environments – more servers, databases and applications increasingly escalate prices.
Finding the right partner
That’s why it’s so important to work with a vendor that offers unlimited licensing. You’re empowered to protect what you need and grow your business without worrying about an extra cost. Most importantly, businesses shouldn’t have to skimp on protection because of an increase in price.
Time to get started
Protecting large datasets goes beyond just flipping a switch. Preparation and careful consideration of your data will help you land on a strategy that works for your business.
Interested in learning more about Carbonite backup plans?