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A Guide To Backing Up Your Business Data Online With a Bare Metal Server

Aug 18, 2008
Traditional offsite data backup involves storing discrete files that can be restored as needed. This is fine when replacing a few files because the originals were corrupted. However in the event of a major disaster that requires a complete system rebuild, restoration is a tedious process of installing the operating system, installing each application, then restoring the data files.

Luckily for IT managers, there is another way: bare metal recovery.

What Is Bare Metal Backup and Recovery?

Bare metal recovery allows an IT administrator to easily restore a system from scratch, even if a catastrophe has reduced the system to "bare metal." Rather than restoring individual files, the entire system drive is restored in one operation. Not even the operating system needs to be installed.

In the early days of PCs an application called Ghost was the first consumer-oriented disk cloning software produced. For a long time it was the only option and to this day the idea of "ghosting a hard drive" means making an exact duplicate that can be restored easily.

Since those days, other options have appeared and there are now several ways to perform a total system restore and backup. Many online backup services now offer dedicated servers to be used for disk cloning, a technique now called bare metal recovery.

Does Your Organization Need Bare Metal Online Server Backup?

The short answer is "Probably." Traditional online server backup is an important tool and is certainly a valid component of an overall disaster recovery plan. It is more likely that a disaster will destroy a few files or even a data drive rather than the entire system.

However, major disasters happen. A fire, flood, or other incident can physically destroy an entire computer system. Every minute your system is down is a minute your organization is losing money because no one can work. Today's businesses are dependent on their computer systems and can't function without them. The faster a system can be restored, the faster the company is running at full speed.

How Do Bare Metal Operations Work Online?

Server backup to an online provider can't be done by direct ghosting. However online providers are still an important step in the system recovery plan. Perform your bare metal backup using the software of your choice, which will create a disk image file. This image can then be saved through your online server backup provider just like any other file, thus backing up the backup.

Your organization has the protection of a complete disk image, allowing data restoration in the event of complete system destruction, combined with the protection of a redundant, offsite copy of your data. This operation will require a computer separate from your server.

After a disaster, the second computer can quickly be brought up with a bare bones operating system and your online restoration software. It pulls the disk image from the online server backup, which is used to restore the main server.
About the Author
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on online
data backup
, please visit http://www.offsitebackupsolutions.com.
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