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Backup to the Clode - No Excuses Expand / Collapse
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Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 7:57 AM


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File-size vs bandwidth prevents me from doing that currently. Tapes get made of the backups, nightly, and get shipped to a different state.

Means there's an overnight delay (at best) for getting them back, if needed, and even that has extra charges on it, but it's better than taking two days to upload a daily backup.

With smaller databases, I have backed up to a location in a different state. Same continent, different tectonic zone. Main concern with that data center was hurricanes (it was in Houston), so having the backups FTP to a backup data center a thousand miles from the coast was a good idea.

That wasn't bank data, or anything critical like that. It's loss would have shut down the company, but nothing much beyond that. But a separate, backup data center was cheap and easy enough that it made sense.

With more critical data, like Phil's or Gail's banks, a hardened data center is easy enough to build, if you can afford it. Bunker/vault technology is pretty good these days. Lots of studies on how to make those virtually indestructible was done in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Anything that has a reasonable chance of surviving a nuclear war between the US and USSR (that was the threat then), can certainly withstand a plane crashing into it.



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Post #767881
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 8:19 AM
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Pros:
- Cloud is distributed; therefore, in theory, robust and redundant.
- Cloud can be inexpensive as archived storage.

Cons:
- Public clouds (e.g., Amazon) are not secure; few financial institutions (banks, brokers) allow their DBAs to place sensitive information on the cloud, even if encrypted.
- Public clouds can be expensive for archival storage, moreso than a redundant leased data center.
- Network bandwidth to public clouds is poor, whereas leased lines can be run to non-cloud datacenters with relative ease.
- In practice, for large storage, public clouds are often not distributed or redundant: the data resides on a particular set of disks, somewhere.

My personal preference for large backup is a redundant datacenter (or leased storage) at a reasonable distance from the primary data center. As a Wall Streeter on 9/11, I can assure you that 50 meters is not a reasonable distance, and that while one might be able to crash a plane atop a datacenter, the ensuing fire and water damage can make the structural issues moot.
Post #767903
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 8:47 AM
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Just an observation, but it seems to me that I read a lot these days of security breaches due to lost, misplaced, and/or compromised backups. It seems to me the greater risk lies not it a major catastrophe, but in the very risks that entail using the cloud for backup storage. Unless, of course, you are encrypting the backups....
Post #767927
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 9:16 AM
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Paul White (8/9/2009)
If a 747 were to crash into our data centre, I wonder how high up the list of concerns wondering if we had backups in the cloud would be...


Actually it's often not so dramatic. A crashed airliner is a rare risk. Flood, blizzard, hurricane are cases where a region might be affected, either directly or through power/communication failures (ice storms have a history of bringing down large areas).



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Post #767948
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 9:27 AM
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The Cloud is a lovely analogy, but that's all it is - an analogy. You're still forced to deal with realities like 'What are the privacy laws in the country where my data is physically stored?' and 'Can I even tell which country my data is stored in and how will I know if the location changes?'.

The US Patriot Act, for example, left those of us outside the US scrambling to ensure that no private or confidential data was being stored on servers in the US where it could be subject to arbitrary search and seizure. I'm not interested in going through that again.

I'll stick to offsite storage in a reassuringly physical vault a few miles away, thanks anyway.

Robb
Post #767954
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 9:29 AM
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It seems like a lot to send over the network for a large datacenter; we have enough issues just getting them from disk to tape every day.

I took a quick look and we have about 8 TB daily of compressed SQL Server backups for just one site.



Post #767956
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 9:43 AM
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Robert.Smith (8/10/2009)

...The US Patriot Act, for example, left those of us outside the US scrambling to ensure that no private or confidential data was being stored on servers in the US where it could be subject to arbitrary search and seizure. I'm not interested in going through that again...

Guess that works, as long as you're sure that your own government won't give up the info on request from the US. Or your ISP, or tape storage center, etc.

US network providers have been very compliant (cowardly) about giving up info to Chinese authorities seeking to suppress dissent without even requiring warrants from US courts.



Post #767961
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 10:31 AM


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We've been backing up to the 'cloud' for a few years now, but the size of our databases are not so large as to cause a problem, I guess.
Or, since the backup company we've subscribed to uses the VSS shadow writer to capture disc-writes and sends those every 15 minutes.. maybe their's just not too much there to cause a bottleneck... I really have no idea exactly how much it sends through the pipe, but it's not noticable. And the test-restores work just fine.
Of course, we also back up db's nightly, and tranaction logs hourly (to a separate sever), and back up those backups to tape nightly, too.
I don't bother taking the local, physical backups off-site anymore since we have the copy 'out there'.. they're for my own comfort and convenience.
Cheers,
Mark


Mark
Just a cog in the wheel.
Post #767988
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 12:51 PM


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Brad: I have to ask, is there a way for you to fix the title of this thread? The article title is correct, the thread title references backing up to "the Clode". Doesn't actually matter, but I'm enough of a compulsive proofreader that my attention just keeps sticking on that point.

- Gus "GSquared", RSVP, OODA, MAP, NMVP, FAQ, SAT, SQL, DNA, RNA, UOI, IOU, AM, PM, AD, BC, BCE, USA, UN, CF, ROFL, LOL, ETC
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Post #768098
Posted Monday, August 10, 2009 1:34 PM


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Brad: I have to ask, is there a way for you to fix the title of this thread? The article title is correct, the thread title references backing up to "the Clode". Doesn't actually matter, but I'm enough of a compulsive proofreader that my attention just keeps sticking on that point.


I have asked for the typo to be fixed, as I don't have permission to do this myself, and I am still waiting for it to be fixed. I hand off the content to others, and they enter it into the system to be published.


Brad M. McGehee
Microsoft SQL Server MVP
Director of DBA Education, Red Gate Software
www.bradmcgehee.com
Post #768138
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