A Cost-effective way to “bullet-proof” your data
Clarity Micro offers a comprehensive BDR solution for Windows 2000/2003, Linux, and NetWare servers. This reasonably priced, all-encompassing solution is for businesses provides:
Very frequent backups
With its Instant Virtualization capability, in less than 30 minutes, Clarity Micro’s unique network attached storage (NAS) device can be configured to function as a standby server if needed.
This unique device also can replace management-intensive, error-prone tape backups while providing much more. This new NAS-based technology performs data backup at the block level where the actual 1s and 0s are captured from the hard drive, essentially eliminating failures related to open files.
Because block-level data is raw information that’s independent of file structure formatting, it’s the most efficient way to write to a disk. Database applications such as Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Exchange Server transfer data in blocks without having to worry if files are open and in use.
Backups are performed as frequently as every 15 minutes, providing clients with numerous restoration points compared to traditional tape backups. Data is securely sent from the local NAS device to high-availability, redundant off-site co-location facilities.
All aspects of the on-site and off-site solution are monitored around the clock by
Securely Link Every Operating System Component
The NAS device can be configured to backup multiple 2000/2003, Linux, and NetWare servers by partition or logical drives. There are no file- or folder-level exclusions, because a snapshot of the entire partition is taken at the block level on the hard drive.
In order to take advantage of the standby server function, the operating system drive must be selected. The data backup can also be scheduled to run during specific times and days of the week.
NAS User Interface
Once the initial configuration and provisioning of the NAS device is finished, the NAS User Interface (UI) will appear. This is the interface that will appear each time that you logon to the NAS device. The NAS UI allows you to perform administrative functions for the NAS device and the backups.
The first backup taken of a server is the base image. The base image is an exact, complete copy of the currently used space on the server. The base image is taken for each volume (or partition) on the server. Once the base image completes, all future backups are incremental.
Base Image Transfer by USB Drive
The base image files on the NAS device may be transferred to an external USB 2.0 drive. The USB drive is then shipped to Clarity Micro’s co-location facility where the base image files are copied to Clarity Micro’s Storage Farm (SF). The USB drive transfer process can significantly reduce the time involved with transferring large initial base images to Clarity Micro’s co-location facility.
While the Internet transfer is the default process, when the USB copy is invoked on the NAS device, the Internet transfer process is paused. Once the USB transfer process completes successfully at Clarity Micro’s co-location facility and the base image(s) is copied to and verified on Clarity Micro’s SF, the Internet transfer process is then resumed.
If you are making your own personal copy of the base image to a USB drive and do not plan to send the USB drive to Clarity Micro’s, you will need to manually browse and copy the base image and, optionally, any incrementals.
To estimate Internet transfer speeds, please use the following calculations:
1 MBPS sustained available throughput = 10 GB of data per day
If the Internet transfer process is already in progress and taking an extended amount of time, the USB drive transfer process is still an option.
Incremental Forever Methodology
Incremental forever methodology is similar to incremental backups where each incremental performs a backup of all changes since the last backup. This technology differs in that only one full backup or base image is required. This greatly reduces the time it takes to perform backups as each incremental takes only seconds to complete.
The incremental take place at the frequency that you scheduled in your support Web portal. If you selected 24/7 backups at 15-minute incremental, that will create 96 incremental files each day. If you selected one-hour incremental, that will create 24 incremental files each day. All these incremental will be saved on the NAS but only one image is pushed off-site daily to the co-location facility.
Incremental files are collapsed into synthetic incremental (basically a larger incremental file). This is done to ensure chain integrity and to speed up restorations. The fewer hops from the current point-in-time back to the base image, the faster your restoration will be.
• Intra-day incremental collapse to a synthetic daily incremental
Recovering files and folders is a simple process where the entire server is mounted as a volume on the NAS device. The files can then be copied to the destination server over the network. We also provide utilities enabling your engineers to restore files, folders, Exchange mailboxes or messages and SQL tables and databases.
Standby Server Using Instant Virtualization
The NAS device has the ability to create a standby of a failed server by creating a virtual image of the failed server on the NAS. This unique ability is due to the fact that the virtualization engine natively understands the backup images as a hard drive allowing a failed server to be virtualized within minutes.
No reconfiguration is needed as the “virtualized” server retains the same IP address, NetBIOS name, MAC address and application state of the original server. Once virtualized, the standby server will resume the backup schedule that was in effect before the failure.
When it comes time to restore the virtualized server back to physical hardware, our bare-metal restore process allows restorations to dissimilar hardware. This functionality can also be used to migrate an image of old servers to new servers (provided the customer has the right to do so based on the license agreements covering the software loaded on the server). Once the server image is loaded on the new server, we can manipulate the hardware abstraction layer.
Monitoring and Management
Clarity Micro’s total BDR solution is monitored and managed 24/7 by our NOC Team. Your staff spends about 45 minutes setting up a new NAS. If a problem occurs during any backup or with the hardware, we are quickly notified and take corrective action.
A NAS must be placed at each location with a 2000/2003, Linux, and NetWare servers on a local area network (LAN). Multiple NAS devices can be placed on the same LAN. This solution is a block-level backup where we capture the entire server’s partitions or drives at the 1s and 0s level.
Block-level data is raw data which does not have a file structure imposed on it. The block-level image is an exact digital duplicate of the on-site server. Database applications such as Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Exchange Server transfer data in blocks and whether the files are open or being used makes no impact. This technology allows for complete server restorations based on the last functioning server’s state before the failure occurred.
Backups are performed by server volume or partition. For virtualization you must capture the boot volume and any other volume(s) containing server applications. For example, if you install the operating system to drive C and Exchange to drive D, you must have both C and D backed up if you want to virtualize the server. Individual files cannot be added or omitted from the backup.
The frequency of off-site backups is limited by the amount of available bandwidth at the client site. Limited Internet bandwidth results in longer transmission periods so backups may take place on an hourly or daily basis.
Encryption is an important step in the process of transmitting data between the NAS and the remote sites because it greatly reduces the risk of data loss incidents that plague magnetic tape backup solutions and prevents “man-in-the-middle” attacks during transmission.
We employ the 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm to encrypt the backup images before they are saved on the NAS. After imaging the servers to which it is attached, the NAS device creates an independent 256-bit encrypted tunnel and transmits the imaged data to a secure off-site location where it resides in an encrypted, compressed format.
That remote site then replicates again to an alternate data center, creating a total of three copies of the data in three geographically distinct regions. Only you have the passkey to the encrypted data — no one at Clarity Micro has access to the data on the NAS or the remote storage facilities.
Smart Data Transport
Data transmission occurs over your client’s Internet connection and can easily be configured to minimize bandwidth consumption. Our NAS leverages Adaptive Bandwidth Throttling (ABT) to limit the use of outbound bandwidth. Our software is able to adjust its transfer rates upwards or downwards based on how much bandwidth other applications need.
Taking an example of a customer site where the maximum bandwidth allocated for offsite backup is 256Kbps, and the available bandwidth during the day (due to heavy Internet usage) is 140Kbps, then the data transfer software will use only 140Kbps of bandwidth at that time. The transfer value can also be capped not to exceed 128k, 256k, 384k, 512k, 768k, or 1024k.
On-site and Off-site Solution with Multiple Restore Points
Multiple NAS devices can be placed on a LAN. Each NAS device, depending on the model, can be configured to backup one single server or multiple servers. As each backup occurs, the data is securely transferred to the off-site co-location facility. In the event of a complete disaster, we are able to ship a new NAS device imaged with the latest client data.
The retention on the NAS is:
1. Base image
The co-locations have two retention policies available: current image and archive option. The current image also sends all of the backup images off-site but they are collapsed into a single image or restore point at the co-location facility. With the current image option you are able to restore a complete image of the server from the time the last incremental backup was received.
The archive option is an exact replica of the NAS device allowing you to perform restorations from as far back as when the base image was first taken. The only difference is that only one back up is sent off-site to the co-location, daily. These restore points are available for a one-year period. This archive option may not be sufficient to comply with some regulatory requirements. The MSP is responsible to make sure that regulatory or client-specific archiving requirements are met.