Best Backup Server Method: Should you be using a dedicated backup server?
A best practice for many businesses over the last 10 years was to implement the best backup server possible. The reason for this was to have a central point for all other endpoints (servers and desktops).
The main purpose of the dedicated backup server was to either pull or receive data from these endpoints. Other tasks would be to handle data storage (compress, delete and maintain) tasks. By having a dedicated backup server; this made these tasks a lot easier to manage and monitor as they’re all located and being performed in one area.
While this has been recognised as best practice; is it still the best backup server practice for 2018? Let’s take a bit of a loo into this further.
What’s changed in 10 years?
A lot has changed in 10 years in every aspect. None more so than in technology. Smartphones were just on the market; Bush was still President of the US. Physical systems usually were only able to deal with one application being run on them.
With a dedicated backup server; it’s application and purpose was backup. Now; with the processing power of a system being lightyears ahead of what was possible 10 years ago – this single purpose configuration is now a little outdated.
Virtualised environments have allowed for multiple servers to be housed within the one physical machine – allowing for any number of applications and services to be run on the one physical machine.
What other factors impact the use of a dedicated backup server?
Any dedicated backup server had the high potential of becoming a bottleneck. With the potential of hundreds of connections from endpoints all sending data to the one point; the backup server needed to be able to keep up with the workload to be deemed efficient.
Unfortunately; it was a common situation for either the network or backup server to be overwhelmed and cause problems with the backups.
There was also the ‘one point of failure’ factor as well. If something happened to the backup server; all backups could fail until the issue can be resolved.
Then comes the scale factor. What happens when the current backup server becomes full or runs out of resources? You may need a very expensive replacement. Basically it’s not a setup that encourages growth (which is what businesses are always striving for).
If using a dedicated backup server isn’t best practice anymore, what is?
We’ve already covered this in a previous blog; however the 3-2-1 backup rule is one that should be adhered to. Instead of having one centralised machine for backup; have a configuration where onsite backups are kept for each site or office. That way the loads distributed and avoids the entire ‘single point of failure’ problem. Then also have a backup configured to automatically send data offsite to a separate private or public cloud.