Interestingly, we have a professional photographer to thank for the 3-2-1 backup strategy that many companies employ today. Peter Krogh originally shared the concept in his 2009 book The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers. This backup strategy has helped prevent data losses for an untold number of organizations. But in the digital world 11 years is a very long time, and just like any technology (or technology process in this case), it’s ripe for an update.
Ransomware is the driving force behind our reasoning. If you get hit by a successful attack, every second that your systems are down is painful. Costly, too, to the tune of $5,600 a minute according to Gartner. That may be enough motivation for most IT pros. But the most glaring problem with the traditional 3-2-1 backup rule is that your backups could become compromised, too, and you might not be able to recover your data at all. That might also force you to turn to tape backups for recovery, which may make it impossible for you to meet your recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) because they are so slow.
Traditional 3-2-1: Impeding Recovery
Let’s take a look at what the 3-2-1 rule entails. In essence, it recommends that you keep at least three copies of your data. Store two of those copies on separate media and store at least one additional copy at an offsite location. While it sounds like having two copies onsite means you automatically have quick access to your backup if your primary storage fails, that may not be always the case. What happens when disaster strikes and takes both of your onsite devices down? And if ransomware gets into an admin’s system it can spread like wildfire and even infect your secondary storage. These scenarios happen all the time.
Say both of your data copies are compromised, so you shut your systems down and put your backup and disaster recovery plan into motion. That’s when you turn to your offsite backups. And that’s where the problems start. With secondary storage primarily built for backup security and scale at a relatively low cost, tape-based storage is often involved. But tape is slow. Painfully slow. Yet even traditional disk drives will bog down your recovery if they can’t quickly transfer the huge amount of data that typically needs to be recovered. That could add a ton of time for your applications and data to come back online after a disaster. Very costly time.
3-2-1: Absolute Data Protection and Fast Recovery
As mentioned above, in the traditional 3-2-1 rule the “2” refers to the number of media types (or devices) you should use onsite. At StorageCraft, we say the “2” should refer to locations. That’s because it’s important to keep your backups as close to your endpoints as possible so your data can be retrieved as quickly as possible if disaster strikes. The last thing you want to worry about is latency or access. As an added layer of security, one of those backup locations should be offsite, or at least off-network.
Foolproof Backups As Easy As 1-2-3
StorageCraft has two options for backup and disaster recovery that meet rigorous RPO and RTO objectives. Both solve the problem by making recovery fast and easy. The first, StorageCraft ShadowProtect, offers data protection in a single, cross-platform solution for your mixed, hybrid environment. If your primary storage goes down for any reason, ShadowProtect lets you restore failed servers and recover your files and folders in minutes using VirtualBoot™ technology. With VirtualBoot you can instantly spin up a backup image from your secondary storage into a virtual machine. No waiting. No latency. No pain.
The second, deploying ShadowProtect with StorageCraft OneXafe™—a converged data platform that unifies enterprise-class data protection—also lets you take advantage of OneXafe’s scale-out storage. Scale-out storage lets you cost-effectively, seamlessly, and easily add more drives to individual storage clusters, and add more clusters as needed. For many organizations, OneXafe is the logical, affordable choice for both primary and secondary storage.
What if both your local copies and your offsite storage go down in a disaster? This is where the “1” in 3-2-1 comes in to play. It refers to storing your third backup copy in a secure, offsite location. Often that means cloud storage, and that’s usually based on cost and scalability. But moving huge amounts of data between systems and the cloud is bandwidth-intensive and can slow down your network, too. Once again not having the speed you need to recover quickly and meet your RTO and RPO may become a big problem.
100% Business Continuity
StorageCraft has a better solution. With StorageCraft ShadowXafe and StorageCraft ShadowProtect, you have two choices for your backup software, and both are tightly integrated with StorageCraft Cloud Services, our disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solution. StorageCraft Cloud Services was purpose-built for disaster recovery, so you can recover your data instantly. Cloud Services gives you the ability to ensure 100 percent business continuity with complete, orchestrated one-click failover.
Ultimately, by combining ShadowProtect or ShadowXafe with OneXafe and StorageCraft Cloud Services for all of your storage, backup, and disaster recovery needs, you can ensure you can meet any RTO and RPO. You’ll also reduce the complexity that comes with working with multiple vendors while keeping your costs under control.
It’s time for a new take on 3-2-1 backups and leave the traditions of the past in the past. Learn how Chi Corporation and StorageCraft can help you implement a modern approach to 3-2-1 for your storage, backup, and disaster recovery problems. Schedule a custom demo today.