When I am writing about the backup, I often mention legacy backup. While legacy backup is known to many, there are still people who are not aware of the term and the downside of using it, especially if it is still in production.
People are so amazing. For example, one of the fascinating things about the people is a memory. More specifically, memory about the pain. Do you remember the pain when dentist put out a tooth? Or when a doctor did something that caused you pain. I don’t remember any pain even dough I know there were many. Similarly, I almost forgot the pain of using a legacy backup. The difference between the physical pain and pain with using the backup is that I like to remember the product, procedures and so many nights when I had to troubleshoot non-working backups. Just so I remember how lucky I am now with modern backup in place. Sometimes legacy backup was also causing servers to stop responding. Ah, those times.
There are still companies using legacy backups, and some technicians are not even aware that better products are available for a fraction of the price. Perhaps they are victims of the marketing of those vendors who can market their product with terms like enterprise backup, deduplication, an industry leader, innovation, the industry most – enter a term-, number one, modernize, and similar words which help add trust with modern terms to the old product. While it’s true that even the worst products added “modern features” implementation can vary dramatically. The result can be seen in reliability, speed, and load on the hosts.
Legacy backup – time to act is now
There are legacy products written in Java. But don’t think that it’s only Java that is the issue. The major obstacle I find in legacy backup products is the horrible interface, lack of usability and hours lost in training so that one day you can become a great backup admin. Compare that to the modern backup where you don’t even need to read a manual. Everything is logical and straightforward, and you can start from implementation to the backup in 15 minutes.
Savings from the sky
One of the challenges I had as IT Manager was to get approval for backup. Legacy backup usually has a high cost. It is not only the cost of the backup, as you have to license every feature. Imagine that you have to buy the product which you can use just to backup Windows state. When you require to backup files on a server, you have to buy an add-on. When you want to enable deduplication, you have to obtain a license. When you want to backup Linux servers, you have to buy a license for a Linux server agent. If by any chance, you require WAN acceleration for your remote locations, you guessed, you have to buy a license. Every feature that is built into a modern backup, you have to license in the legacy version. There is a term for this kind of insanity, milking the cow. In some cases, you can expect even 90% savings compared to the legacy backup. For example, a good example of modern backup pricing is Nakivo Backup & Replication where pricing starts from just $149/socket.
Agents. Agents are the curse of Legacy backup. In the old days, you had to have agents installed to perform an application-aware backup. Or restore. For example, if you wanted to backup files, you required a windows server agent. If you wanted to backup MS SQL, you had to install MS SQL Agent and so on. Agents served another purpose as well. They were there also for licensing purposes. If you needed to backup MS Exchange, you had to buy an agent for MS Exchange. And let me tell you something. Usually, there were many agents to choose from, and each had a higher price. Another problem was the reliability of the agents. For example, an agent could put a server through its paces by hogging the CPU by 100%. Also, some functionality that was supposed to work posed a challenge like deduplication.
NAS based appliance
There are two types of backup. Most common type is a software in the form of the installation package, or also available as a software appliance you can deploy directly to your virtual infrastructure. A second type is a hardware appliance. Hardware appliance is usually a server, filled with enterprise-class hard drives; in some cases, hard drives are accompanied with the fast SSD drives for faster caching. On top of the enterprise-grade hardware is backup software which is used to backup your infrastructure. Hardware appliance is sold with the maintenance so that if the hard drive fails, you get a replacement soon. Hardware appliances differ in total space capacity, CPU and RAM, and price. Hardware appliances are very expensive, so most companies cant afford to own one. This boxes are very convenient and have many benefits over software appliances. One advantage is that the solution is completely separated from your infrastructure. If servers hostings VMware or Hyper-V fail or if storage fails, you also lose the ability to restore the data. While this is almost impossible ever to happen, there is this strange law, saying that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong eventually. An alternative to the hardware-based appliance is NAS based appliance. Nakivo, for example, created their software in a way that it can be installed on a Windows or a Linux server, deployed as a virtual appliance or even deployed on a NAS based appliance (QNAP, Synology, WD). Synology NAS is cheap, can be run in a cluster for increased reliability and you can easily send it to a remote location. It’s small in size, and it doesn’t need a lot of space nor special cooling. When you pair it with Nakivo, you instantly gain huge space available for a backup, optimized with deduplication for some serious backup jobs. Did I mention that this combination is a fraction of the price of enterprise-grade backup appliances?
Testing Recovery of the backup
One of the problems with Legacy backup was testing the recovery of the backup. How do you know that you will be able to recover if a disaster strikes if you don’t test the recovery? Do you know how much time you need to recover the data? How often do you check the backup? It doesn’t help if you have the best backup if you can’t recover when you need to. With Nakivo for example, you are living the future as the Nakivo Backup & Recovery do most work. Every backup can be tested automatically. All the servers from the backup can be started automatically when the backup is complete. When they are operational Nakivo creates a screenshot as a proof which is then sent to your inbox as a proof that restores works.
Err what? Replication? Is that even possible
In the old days, if you wanted replication, you had to buy expensive storage. Besides, you had to have a fast fiber connection to a remote location. Name of Nakivo’s flagship product is Nakivo Backup and Replication. As you can see, replication is built into the product and was present from the beginning. Now you can replicate your entire infrastructure either to a remote location or even the cloud. You don’t need expensive dark fiber, internet or VPN connection will do. But to speed up the transfer, Nakivo has built-in WAN acceleration which drastically improves backup speed.
Much more, for much less
Modern backup by like Nakivo has many benefits over the legacy backup. There is one tiny difference which makes a massive change to overall experience. Data transfer. Legacy backup uses a network to transport data, while Nakivo for example, can leverage Hot Add and direct SAN connection to bypass LAN and increase backup and recovery speed. On top of that, licensing which is very simple to understand and pricing which can be afforded by anyone makes Nakivo one of the best backup vendors. Always Up to date, frequent releases, make backup product reliable and up to date with the best features leading to backup automation. There is one more thing I would like to add. With Nakivo, you can even start your own business. You can efficiently provide backup as a service or disaster recovery as a service.
Nakivo, one of the modern companies that are redefining backup came up with an excellent guide about the legacy backup I think you will find of great use, it’s only a couple pages and is very easy to read. Highly recommended.