Keep Your Data Safe With Continuous Data Protection

6801133308_b343d8a7beFor most modern businesses, data is either their product or an essential component in the design, creation, sale, and marketing of their products. Catastrophic data loss almost always means lost revenue. Every system administrator, IT technician, and executive knows that maintaining regular backups is strictly necessary for ensuring business continuity.

A recent study found that data loss accounted $400 million in lost revenues annually, and troublingly showed that much of that data loss was preventable. A survey conducted by Carbonite revealed that half of small businesses are hit by data loss, with inadequate backups being the most frequently cited cause. Furthermore, many of the businesses that suffer irretrievable data loss are immediately put out of business, with a significant proportion failing after two years. Having adequate and well-tested backups is a crucial part of business continuity planning.

However, backups come in various different forms. Traditionally, backups have been made daily, weekly, or even monthly. In the even of a hardware failure, data in the period between backups can be lost, and frequently that means work that was done in that period is rendered worthless. Lost data equates to lost man-hours and lost opportunities for revenue.

There is an alternative to atomic periodic backups: continuous data protection. Unlike with traditional backups, continuous data protection (CDP) strategies use an approach that results in much more finely grained backups.

CDP works by incrementally capturing changes to data as they are made, rather than gathering the sum of those changes and creating a copy of the original data. Capturing just the deltas results in numerous benefits, including the ability to roll-back to a previous state, lower bandwidth requirements, and more efficient use of backup storage — there’s no need to replicate 1 GB if only 1 Byte has changed on the disk.

Continuous data protection is often usefully used with MySQL to prevent data loss. CDP for MySQL is an effective method for preventing data loss because of hardware failure and it ensures that there is minimal business interruption even in the case of a catastrophic failure.

CDP is not a replacement for atomic backups and should not be relied on as a business’s sole backup method. There should always be multiple backups of important data, including on-site and off-site backups in concert with continuous data protection, but CDP provides an additional level of protection and the assurance that data loss can be limited to a very small period of time.

Future Hosting’s Future Protect automated backup solution uses continuous data protection technology to ensure that client’s data is always available and up-to-date in the case of a node failure.

Matthew Davis is a technical writer and Linux geek for Future Hosting.

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  • Ashley Karyl

    I can’t remember ever experiencing any downtime on my VPS with Futurehosting and I make daily backups to a backup server, but out of curiosity what would actually happen if a node failed and how long would it take before our sites were online again?

    • Hi Ashley, both questions really depend on your definition of failure. Future Hosting is in the business of planning for whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. The absolute worst case scenario for a hosting-related issue is probably one that requires a full restore from Future Hosting’s Future Protect backup system, which could take upwards to a few hours. This is (again) worst case scenario though, and is not at all a common occurrence. If you had a small backup archive, we could likely provision a new virtual machine instantly and allow you to restore your data in a fraction of that time.

      • Thanks Corey, I’m not a huge expert on data centres or even server hardware but no doubt there are many things that could go wrong over time without proper maintenance and monitoring. Sometimes even the best prepared setups have problems, so an additional backup is no bad thing.

        I have the Future Engineer Pro option for my managed VPS, so I can pretty much forget about these things nowadays but my previous VPS with another provider was unmanaged and I spent a few very late nights trying to sort out problems that always seemed to crop up at the worst possible moment…