Backup and recovery software performs a well understood role in IT. However, the requirements for backup and recovery tools, as well as their actual implementation and performance can vary widely. As architectures grow more complex, so too can the demands on backup and recovery packages. IT Central Station members comment on what selection factors are best to consider when looking at the purchase of backup/recovery solution.
Members cite performance as an important selection criterion for backup and recovery software tools. Reviewers explain that they want their backup and restore to be fast and easy to use. Instant recovery is prized. Users want a simple GUI, too. Many members put forth a powerful, simple idea, though, which is that backup success is all that counts – that no number of features can ever compensate for a failure to restore missing data.
Other members express a desire for reads that are nearly instantaneous. People want zero downtime backup. A good backup and restore solution should eliminate latency from long distance replication, making synchronous and asynchronous unimportant as descriptors. The backup system should also ideally ensure that all information is backed up continuously across multiple locations. The rationale for this requirement is the goal of providing fail over to get continuous high availability of operational systems.
The ability to perform backup recoverability tests in a virtual lab or on-demand sandbox is considered valuable, as are backup from storage snapshots, de-duplication and simple integration with all operating systems. Application specific selection criteria include item-level recovery for Active Directory, Exchange, SQL Server and SharePoint. Members prefer software that can recover user-specific data such as a mailbox or a file server.
Backup and recovery has to map to specific architectural styles. For example, instant VM recovery is valued because it is known to help speed up recovery objectives (RTOs). Backup managers expect backup and recovery tools to offer useful and easy reporting.
Backup and recovery policies tend to overlap with data management and disaster recovery, which are separate work streams but often rely on the same tools. To this point, some IT Central Station members prefer software that provides long term archiving / retention options. For example, certain types of files can never be purged, by policy. Others want their backup tools used for replication for disaster recovery between data centers.