The “cloud” appears to be the future of backup but that has not eliminated the need for small and midsized businesses (SMBs) or enterprises to perform fast, local recoveries for business critical applications. If anything, backing up to the cloud has put new pressure on some organizations to put this type of solution in place as recovering the data for these applications from the cloud can take hours or even days to complete. Those in this situation should then appreciate yesterday’s newly announced ability of Symantec System Recovery to transform a USB device into a bootable Symantec System Recovery Disk device.
Backup to the cloud takes on many forms these days. It may involve backing up data in a remote or branch office to a central data center. It may be using a third party managed service provider (MSP) that either provides a cloud based storage target or the entire backup solution to include backup software and storage. In whatever way it is being used this is a trend that will in all likelihood become the predominant way the majority of companies do backup in the not too distant future.
But recovering data backed up to the cloud creates a different set of challenges for SMBs or enterprises with remote and/or branch offices, especially when it comes to doing a fast recovery of an entire application at these locations. Tens or hundreds of GBs of data may be needed to be restored in order to do a recovery which can take hours or even days over a WAN link. Further, once even the data is restored, it takes a proficient systems administrator to recover the application.
This presumes, of course, that the system to which the application is being recovered is the original hardware. That assumption cannot be automatically be made. If the underlying server or PC hardware to which the application is being restored has failed, then the application needs to be restored to another platform which adds another level of complexity.
It is for reasons like these that organizations should find Symantec System Recovery’s (previously known as Backup Exec System Recovery) new ability to transform a USB device into a bootable Symantec System Recovery Disk particularly appealing as it addresses three concerns around application recovery:
- It removes the need for a high speed WAN link to be in place to do a fast recovery.
- It can create a recoverable image for each server and/or PC so should a server or PC fail the application it hosted can be quickly brought by booting straight from the USB device. To accomplish this server or PC firmware only needs to be reconfigured to boot from the USB port into which the USB device is plugged into so the application recovery can be initiated.
- It makes recovery portable and simple. The bootable USB device can be plugged into any server or PC which enables anyone with almost any skill level to do an application recovery by following simple written or verbal instructions..
The USB device of choice for most applications will probably still need to be a USB-connected hard disk drive (HDD) as the capacity of these is still required to store all of an application’s data and recover it. That said, servers or PCs with less data may find either a 32 GB (~$50) or 64 GB (~$120) USB flash drive a viable option to use as a System Recovery Disk (SRD.)
This release of Symantec System Recovery also gives organizations when doing a recovery to initially point to a previously created and standardized ISO image as the source for the SRD. This SRD can then harvest the specific drivers and settings from the ISO image that an organization may need an application to possess to successfully initiate a recovery in its environment. This feature is most applicable in large environments that have specific applications with specific driver needs.
The cloud is in all probability the future of backup but the need for fast, local application recoveries has not diminished. If anything, backup to the cloud may actually exacerbate the difficulty of quickly doing local recoveries because of the time and effort required to do fast application recoveries.
In this sense, Symantec System Recovery is the perfect complement to backup in general but cloud-based backup specifically. By creating bootable images on USB devices, it gives organizations the flexibility to backup to the cloud, the assurance that they can quickly recover an application should the unexpected ever happen and the confidence that almost anyone can successfully bring the application back online.
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