Why Big Data Needs A Robust Off-Site Data Backup Method

Having an off-site data backup method is key for successfully managing and securing big data. Here's what to keep in mind.

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October 23, 2019
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Choosing a backup method for data backup requires being aware of the factors that affect data backup in the short and long term. Having an off-site backup ensures that the data is far enough away from a local incident so that the business can recover normal function quickly. However, when dealing with a backup facility, companies need to weigh their options. The backup facility’s cost, restoration capability, and efficiency of restoration all matter. While there is more of a push to use cloud data for off-site backup, this method comes with its own caveats. In the event of a network shutdown or failure, it may take much longer to restore functionality (and therefore connection) to a cloud-hosted off-site backup. For enterprise-based users, this is not acceptable. Having a physical off-site backup is a much better redundancy measure. While cloud backups might be worth looking into as an alternative, they cannot function as the primary off-site backup system.

The Efficiency of Restoration and Recovery Time Objective

Recovery Time Objective (RTO) can be considered the efficiency of backup restoration. Druva defines RTO as the amount of time allowable for a company’s backup to resume service to ensure minimal disruption in the business’ continuity. RTO is crucial to ensuring that a business gets its data back into its systems after a system-wide shut down within a reasonable window. However, reasonable is a subjective measure. Some companies prefer to ship their off-site backup to a place that’s out of state using an express carrier. If these backups are shipped out once per day, then the company likely has within 24 hours to restore those backups to ensure the continuity of their systems. Having a data storage center that is closer, maybe within the same state, can make resorting the business’ operating information much faster and thereby offer a tighter RTO. If you have a business in Dubai, it’s not worth having your backup somewhere in China, since restoration periods would be too ridiculous.

Restoration Capability and Recovery Point Objective (RPO)

A recovery point objective (RPO), as defined by Tech Advisory, is the point at which a business’ data is backed up and from which the company can quickly restore its data state. RPO is the tolerance a business has for data loss. If a crash were to happen, how long could the business potentially operate before feeling the impacts of that lost data? The capability of the company to restore that data is their RPO. Most businesses perform regular backups within the 24 to 48-hour window. If a failure were to occur, the company could safely recover up to the last 24 hours’ worth of data. For worst-case scenarios, the backups are much longer, possibly a month or two. Off-site storage methods should take RPO into account since having a more regular backup period might benefit the company, although it may cost more.

Cost of Backup

Many companies need to factor the value of the backup into their considerations. Insight notes that in 2016, the most significant challenges businesses faced were maintaining their data performance and managing their extensive data. Having cost-effective off-site backup allows companies to focus more on their methodology for backing up data than the price of that method. Closer sites for data storage mean lower cost, but a higher risk to the company. Further sites may be less cost-effective but more secure.

Big Data Storage Concerns

Large data lakes can take up a massive amount of space, and for off-site storage, this can be a significant concern in cost. Additionally, having a data storage of such magnitude off-site could potentially result in hefty transport fees if the off-site location is far away. Furthermore, data backups take time and with data lakes, this time could run into the dozens, even hundreds of hours depending on the volume of data required.

Conclusion

Businesses that use off-site storage for their Big Data needs have to be able to balance the cost of storing, transporting, and restoring that data against the distance and time that is required to restore that data. The balance that companies should aim for is having an off-site backup that is far enough away from the site so that local disruptions wouldn’t affect it, but close enough so that the company can successfully restore operations within a 48-hour window. Data resilience is what off-site data backups deal with, and having a resilient data store is crucial to any company investing in big data.