Continuous Data Protection

One question we get every now and then is about data backups for our servers. Hopefully this article can clear up what is included and what extra can be done if and when you require it.

What is a backup and why is it important

There are two types of people in the computer world when it comes to backups, those who have lost data, and those that will. When it comes down to it, it is critical to understand that there are multiple ways for data loss. Anything can play a role, from application corruption, to hardware failures, to malicious actions, to natural disasters. And any of these can require a trip to the backup data.

Recent statistics have shown that 1 in 10 harddisks fail or have a critical error each year. And since a harddisk is where your data is being stored, they are some important odds. Here at Vade, we use high quality, server grade disks as well are technologies such a RAID to lower these risks and make the hardware failures transparent to you, the end user.

The biggest reason we get asked to restore data is in fact accidental deletion. We have all experienced it. Just as you are about to copy that file, something happens that takes our attention for a split second, and the wrong file is put in the wrong place, or the wrong file clicked and deleted. In these cases, it pays to have another copy, a backup copy.

7 Day Rolling Backups – and then some

At Vade, we decided a long time ago to have at least 7 days full backups for all our data. While others get away with 24 or 48 hours of backups, we realised that there are times that that just isn’t good enough. Perhaps something happens on a Friday, just before you leave early for the long weekend. And since Monday is a bank holiday, you rightly decided that it was a perfect time for a longer trip away and have booked the Tuesday off too. Your return on Wednesday is greeted with friendly faces asking how you enjoyed the time off. After lunch, just when you have caught up with your email, you notice something overwritten on the website, nothing important, just a small piece of text. By now it is a fully 5 days since the change, but you are safe in the knowledge that the original can be recovered. A quick email to support listing the file, and the damage is undone. Once again, you have saved the day.

Now while that may seem far fetched, you will probably know that it is always those far fetched, edge cases that really cause those headaches. At Vade we have you covered. And not only do we keep 7 days backups, our system actually expands out quite a bit beyond this point in a staggered fashion. With upgrades coming, we do hope to be able to expand this out to a guaranteed month covering all data. But as always, if you require more, please contact us with your requirements. We can accommodate almost any request.

Off site backups

A backup really isn’t a backup until it has been transferred from the machine it came from. Even then, it rightly should go somewhere geographically disperse to cover in case of fire or flooding. So that is exactly what we have done.

Vades backups are all located in a complete physically separate location from our web facing servers, on a separate network, with different providers. The equipment is even using different vendors for everything from servers to the raid cards, and right down to the harddisks. Data is also fully encrypted during the transfer between locations to ensure it is protected. This gives the benefit in that if a once in a lifetime event like a meteor striking the data centre were to occur, your data would still be secure.

Does your existing web hosting provider take as much precautions for the safety of your data?

File based vs Server Based

Firstly let us explain the differences.

File based backups backup the individual files and store them either in another, usually larger compressed file, or in a full copy somewhere else.
Server based backups read the 1’s and 0’s from the harddisks and then store that in another big file.

The main difference is that a server based backup will allow the full machine to be recovered easier, but individual files will take longer.

At Vade, we understand that should you need your data back, you will want it back quickly. As such we maintain primarily file based backups. We can still restore full systems, but it is geared around recovering individual files or directories. This gives us very fine grained control over what can be restored if and when needed. If we had chosen server based backups, a single file recovery might day hours, if not days.

Additional Options

Beyond what we do above, we can offer some additional features to cover your needs. Below is just a small snapshot of what is possible.

  • Real time email backups.
  • Near realtime file backups.
  • Near realtime database backups on shared hosting or realtime on managed hosting.
  • Application specific backups.
  • Weekly / Monthly / Yearly data archiving.

Restore costs

Free. Nada. Nil.
Yup. It is true. The price is honestly nothing. While we admit that this is subject to change, there is currently no charge with restoring files to your account, and there hasn’t been for the 4+ years that we have been doing backups like this. We can also guarantee that there will never be a charge associated with restoring files in the event of a fault on our end.

Good practice

The advise still remains to take backups using your own methods, be this keeping the files backed up on your own system, or downloading a full copy of your site via our Backup Method in the control panel. While we have total confidence in our systems, only you can fully understand the value of your data. Only you can fully understand your own backup requirements.
But if you require, we can also automate custom backups so that the files are automatically transferred to one of your systems via FTP, SFTP or SCP, giving you the piece of mind ensuring your data is safe.
You can always be secure in the knowledge that we will be go above and beyond that what you expect to keep your site protected and online. Sign up today.

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