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SME Cloud: Migrating your Backup

Without being completely over, the era of tape-backup is looking a little older each day for SMEs. Interest is growing in regards to hybrid HDD/cloud alternatives. For small- and medium-sized businesses, it’s time to migrate your backup!

Recently, there are obviously still tape backups in SMEs, since the costs of hard drives were quite high. It was therefore necessary to outsource it one way or another, whether or not the backup was “secure”. The backup set of SMEs also comprised of many tapes. When it comes to the cloud, tapes are still relevant for large enterprises who deal with large volumes of data on a daily basis. For SMEs, the cloud changes the game in a practical way. On the one hand, a regular backup can be kept on site on external hard drives, which are alternated to keep a copy of all the images from the server hard drives. On the other hand, an online backup of the data can be set up in the “cloud” in order to benefit from a solution with the same principle as tapes. However, it does not require any special measures and it has the addition assurance that backups are replicated. A real data centre is inevitably replicated, if it is not secure.

So, how do you go about achieving this? Before addressing the software, we’re going to take a look at telecoms. In order to backup operations data, you need to have at least one ADSL 2+ line, which has effectively around 15 to 25 Mbit/s download speed and 1 Mbit/s upload speed. In reality, 1 Mbit/s (128 KB/s) upload speed may seem low but this represents 4.6 GB over a period of 10 hours. Once the first backup is completed, for example, over a weekend where you have 60 hours, you have already backed up thirty gigabytes. This is already quite a large amount for a SME. When the first backup is complete, the subsequent scheduled backups will take much less time, since they use the incremental mode, i.e. it will only backup the changes made since the initial backup. Multiple data sets can be backed up. Since fibre, satellite or SDSL subscriptions work out more expensive than ADSL, the download rates can be increased and the time taken is proportionally reduced. However, this is often an investment that needs to be considered.

When observing telecoms feasibility, we need to check the allocated budget for the amount of data to backup. From there, it really depends on the providers, the software and the services that are available. The costs can fall between €15 and €200 per month for a 500 GB backup (sometimes more). So, why is there such a difference in price? It all depends on the guarantees you have against potential data loss, its availability, its security, as well as services such as those where you can use a specific software and/or appropriate Internet interface.

The possibilities of backup software play a significant role. Using the right software on the server can suffice. The software is usually made for this purpose or for a particular data centre, but it also offers possibilities for local backups. This can be seen in Acronis, Oodrive, Windows Azure and others. With Acronis, there is a professional version of the backup and recovery software which works in a server environment, and another version for the “general public”, which is targeted towards individuals and small businesses who can operate the backup storage from a single PC.  Windows Azure is the backup software used in Windows Server which has evolved. It now offers access to a backup storage in the Windows Azure Cloud and this happens quite clearly for the regular server administrator.

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