What are the key challenges companies face during a Backup upgrade or refresh? Evros Solutions Architect Stephen Seagrave explores the most common pitfalls with today’s Backup solutions:
The 5 Most Common Pitfalls in Backup:
Under-investing or Underestimating
Often, companies under-invest or underestimate the requirements in hardware for the backup solution, whether backup storage is in disk, cloud or tape. I see companies invest in a back-up software solution for the headline features such as Veeam data labs and instant restore. Yet, they’re unable to implement because they don’t have the infrastructure to utilise it. If you expect to run an application stack of VMs from your backup files, your backup infrastructure must have the power required. HINT: The infrastructure in your backup environment needs to be a close match to your production environment.
If you stumbled on the first pitfall, then the second scenario is soon to follow. This time, you’re now expecting far too much of the infrastructure you have. Often, we’re seeing organisations with the backup solution sitting upon repurposed old infrastructure. It’s not uncommon. Yet, if you re-use old infrastructure such as an old ESX or Hyper-V hosts for backup servers, you may not have the capability to deliver your expectation, which leads to disappointment and then imminent failure. Which then leads to reinvestment and the extra cost of redeployment days that could have been accomplished in the first place.
Mismatch of New Backup Solution vs Old Production Hardware
Expecting your new backup infrastructure to achieve more than your production infrastructure is capable of, is a common complaint. You have invested in a backup server which can achieve exactly what you want, such as a 15-minute backup schedule. Yet the production SAN is old and under spec’d and cannot give the IOPs (In, Out Processes) required.The result: Read speed from the old SAN is too low and backup has to be dialled back, so your production VMs are not impacted by the backup speed. This can also happen when customers are getting rid of tape and move to a cloud backup solution but didn’t take into account the internet bandwidth required. Customers end up with an all-singing, all-dancing backup server that can’t draw from the source, or push to the destination.
Know your Compliance Requirements
Another common pitfall is misunderstanding the capabilities of what’s possible and choosing an incompatible solution because of lack of clarity around the business requirements and compliance guidelines. Often, companies’ compliance requirements are not called out in advance which leads to incurring costs such as extra labour days or more hardware kit needed. Make sure you clarify all requirements and don’t assume they will implement a certain feature in your deployment of the backup software. Differing features may require specific setup and may also have software or hardware dependencies.
For example: Veeam’s SQL log shipping and Point-in-Time restore allows you to restore a database to a specific second of time, or even a specific transaction. To do this, Veeam needs to mount the full database backup into an SQL mount server and replay the transaction logs to get to that point in time. As the default Veeam install is on SQL express (maximum database size), it can mount to 10GB, so if your production databases are larger, you will need to have a full version of SQL deployed to use as a mount server. Finding this out after the fact will add cost and time to a project.
Verify Features with your Solution Provider
Each Backup solutions will have very similar features but are implemented differently. Make sure you’re choosing the right provider who can implement the correct software solution in a process that makes sense, and won’t be over-cumbersome to your current work operations.