Ask an IT Guy: What Are Image-Based Backups?
In the good ol’ days, backing-up meant saving files on a disk or tapes. Could you imagine doing a terabyte of data manually?
Backup systems have advanced significantly, but their importance remains the same.
What backup do you currently use? How is the continuity of this approach? Can you access it on demand?
If you can’t answer those questions, it’s time to check out image-based backups.
Jonathan Barger, CIO (Chief Information Officer) at Accent Computer Solutions, Inc. spoke to us about why image-based backups are effective.
What Are Image-Based Backups?
Imagine taking a Polaroid of your cubical. You continue to take one snapshot every four hours. At some point, a tornado hits. In the aftermath, you have the Polaroid taken right before the storm and can rebuild immediately. Image-based backups do this for your server.
"Image-based backup takes a snapshot of the whole server. Everything from the name, IP address, and application data installed is captured. It’s an exact replica of your server at that moment."
The image-based backup advantage is never having to relink files or reset permissions on software. The snapshot knows where each file belongs, what it's integrated with, and what version of the software you have. You no longer need to wait for your IT professional to reinstall Windows Server, Office, Quickbooks, etc., and then relink your files.
Image-Based Backup Options
Not every business is the same, luckily image-based backups come with options. Picking one depends on your needs, urgency, and budget.
"Our clients have two choices for image-based backups: Protech Backup (PB) and Protech Managed Backup (PMB).
The PMB option is a larger backup and is for companies who can't live an hour without their server. If a server goes down, we can virtually spin up a backup server. It’ll be slower but can limp along as we get you a new server. And while it can’t support 50 people using it - roughly 10 people could keep working.
If it’s a smaller company, it might not make financial sense for the PMB option, but we still want image-based backups. The PB doesn’t come with the virtual capabilities, but some clients are okay with being down for a longer period of time.”
Weigh each option with your managed service provider. Consider your budget and company’s flexibility for downtime.
Is It Worth the Cost?
Cost is a case-by-case decision. Image-based backup systems are more efficient, but more expensive. Your company size, budget, and needs are major factors.
"Cost breakdown for the initial implementation is about the same. The PB plan doesn’t include virtual workstations, which slightly cut costs. But backup size is the biggest cost variable.
The backup is a snapshot of the whole server. That file is almost the size of your entire server. You must have enough space to store all of it, plus save a new copy every four hours. That’s one every four hours, seven days in a row, four weeks a month, etc. Eventually, it does start eating its tail, but until then, how much storage do you need?"
When considering cost, there are too many variables to give blanketed ballpark numbers. Speak with your IT professional about ways to make this work for you. Perhaps a hybrid method is best for your budget?
Your current backup plan will get you running… eventually. Compared with the days or even weeks your existing system needs, image-based backups can have you working within minutes. When every second matters, you can gain a competitive edge over your competition with image-based backups.
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About Accent Computer Solutions
Accent Computer Solutions, Inc. is a managed IT services and IT support provider, serving businesses with 30-500 employees throughout Southern California. The company is headquartered in Rancho Cucamonga, California, with IT professionals strategically located throughout San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties, as well as Arizona, Texas, and Louisiana.