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How to Effectively Manage Petabyte Backups

The amount of data that businesses are creating and controlling continues to grow. As such, IT teams in charge of backup are facing challenges of their own. In fact, it isn’t uncommon to be tasked with handling backups that reach into the petabytes.

When you’re controlling backups of that size, it can feel like you’re in a constant battle of data requirements, capacity limitations, and budget. The latter is especially important since it has a knock-on effect to everything else; IT departments often find themselves up against budget restrictions.

There are ways to help manage backups when they reach epic proportions. If you find yourself in charge of petabytes of backup data, hopefully the tips here will help you get it under control.

If you want to get to grips with your backup, the first thing you need to do is understand what is being backed up, for who and for what purpose. It’s not an easy task but, if possible, you need to meet with stakeholders so that you know how much protection needs to be applied to their data. Some of this may already be written as service level agreements, which is fine, but you also need to understand what the backup retention requirements are and how the data might grow in the future. Data backup is as much about planning for what is to come as it is what is happening right now.

It’s also important to study the current backup process. Even if you were the one who set it up originally, take some time to reflect. You might find that there are inefficiencies in the process. A mistake that often crops up are backup jobs which are duplicating one another or overlapping the data within. It’s also common to find that full backups are being taken in situations where incremental backups will do.

You should use deduplication to ensure that you don’t have redundant copies of the same data. This will help reduce the size of your backup drastically. Having multiple copies of your backup isn’t necessarily bad, but it should never be on the same device.

Finally, when you understand what data you hold and what the requirements of it are, create lifecycle management policies so that your backup maintains a reasonable size and that you are keeping the data backed up for the correct amount of time. Your policy should detail when your backups move from the primary device into an archive.

That archive can be in the cloud if preferred, or off-site in cold storage, but if that happens then there needs to be an understanding between the parties as to how large amounts of data can successfully be migrated and archived without incurring large financial and time costs.

The policy is more than just migrating after a certain amount of time, though. It should also outline when the data is no longer useful and holds no value. Don’t hoard data in your archive if the best thing to do is delete it entirely.


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