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February 21, 2013

Backup and recovery

Ninety nine PC users (individuals or organizations) out of a hundred have their own database, consisting of the personal or public information. The databases can be corrupted by the malefactors, database elements can be deleted accidentally, hardware breakage also leads to data loss. Therefore it is required to undertake certain measures, in order to prevent the data from being damaged and lost. The most efficient methods in such case are database backup and recovery.

Backup can be characterized, as the procedure of data copying and archiving. In case, if the some elements of the database are corrupted or lost, the archived copies will stand in a good stead. Data recovery is a process of data retrieval from the damaged or failed storage devices (e. g. hard drives, servers, tapes, etc.) Backup is a proactive measure, as it is implemented before the data are corrupted; recovery, in it’s turn, is a reactive measure, as it is utilized after the data storage devices are damaged. (Singleton 38-40)

Nowadays, data backup and recovery strategies and tools are widely used in many spheres of people’s activities. Often, these procedures are used for business purposes. Not only organizations, but also individual users utilize these methods too. Usually, implementing data backup and recovery techniques, the specialists aim to achieve the following goals. First of all, the end-user of data backup and recovery techniques has to be able to restore not only data, but also applications, specific operating platforms, etc. Also, backup solutions have to provide the user with possibility to manage the remote backup systems and archives. In case, if the end user of data backup and recovery techniques is a business organization, the solutions have to correspond specific business requirements; the solutions are used to achieve recovery time objectives, recovery point objectives and maintenance point objectives. (Aparicio 71-75)

The procedure of data backup and recovery techniques and measures consists of several steps. It is an open fact, that backup and recovery strategies have to be chosen in accordance to specific circumstances and demands of the end-users. So the first step includes analyzing the requirements and defining the main objectives, that have to be achieved through backup solutions implementing.

After that, the end-user has to choose between two main types of backup: manual and automatic. Manual backup process is initiated manually and automatic backup, in it’s turn, is scheduled and initiates automatically. At the present day, both individual users and organizations prefer automatic method to manual procedures. Sometimes these two methods can be used together, for example, in case if scheduled backup is missing due to some reasons or there is large amount of changed data and user wants to back it up before the next automatic backup is performed. It should be also noticed, that the frequency of data backup procedures depends on the frequency of database content editing; the more often data are changed, the higher recommended the automatic backup is. (Schiff)

After choosing the most suitable backup type, the user has to decide, where to keep the copied and archived data. There is the possibility to store archives on the file server (centralized or local); this basic storage scheme is inexpensive, but it depends significantly on the availability and bandwidth. Storage area networks provide the user with the opportunity to take advantages of fast network connection, but at the same time, many devices (both remote and local) can not be connected to SAN. Server-less technologies utilize the high-capacity storage networks to keep the data, so there will be no limitations, concerned with bandwidth; however, this storage solution is quite expensive.

There are several different variants of backup solutions operational schemes. Audit trail compaction method maintains the most recent images of the record after it’s change, so the data can be recovered easily after database error or media failure. Object-based backup stores only newly uploaded files. Continuous backup technique replicates the block of data, after it has been changed. Frequently taken data snapshots allow to use replicated snapshots without restoring them.
After the above described procedures are completed, it is required to test the chosen backup options. The user has to conduct an acceptance test in order to assure, that backup and recovery method meets the objectives and requirements, determined during the first step.

In order to prevent data from being deleted or corrupted, specialists utilize database backup and recovery methods and tools. It is extremely important to choose proper data backup and recovery scheme. Otherwise, the mismatched technique can cause certain issues, like insufficient protection or the necessity to bear additional costs. Therefore, it is required to determine main targets and requirements for data backup and recovery, before implementing certain techniques.

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