In computers, backup storage is storage that is intended as a copy of the storage that is actively in use so that, if the storage medium such as a hard disk fails and data is lost on that medium, it can be recovered from the copy. Since a backup system contains at least one copy of all data worth saving, the data storage requirements can be significant. A repository of this type contains complete system images from one or more specific points in time. An incremental style repository aims to make it more feasible to store backups from more points in time by organizing the data into increments of change between points in time. Instead of scheduling periodic backups, the system immediately logs every change on the host system. Regardless of the repository model that is used, the data has to be stored on some data storage medium somewhere. Magnetic tape has long been the most commonly used medium for bulk data storage, backup, archiving, and interchange. Recordable CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray Discs are commonly used with personal computers and generally have low media unit costs. Also known as flash memory, thumb drives, USB flash drives, CompactFlash, SmartMedia, Memory Stick, Secure Digital cards, etc., these devices are relatively expensive for their low capacity.
As broadband internet access becomes more widespread, remote backup services are gaining in popularity. Regardless of the data repository model or data storage media used for backups, a balance needs to be struck between accessibility, security and cost.
On-line backup storage is typically the most accessible type of data storage, which can begin restore in milliseconds time.
Near-line storage is typically less accessible and less expensive than on-line storage, but still useful for backup data storage. Off-line storage requires some direct human action in order to make access to the storage media physically possible. To protect against a disaster or other site-specific problem, many people choose to send backup media to an off-site vault. Instead of copying whole files, one can limit the backup to only the blocks or bytes within a file that have changed in a given period of time.
Instead of copying files within a file system, a copy of the whole file system itself can be made.
A versioning filesystem keeps track of all changes to a file and makes those changes accessible to the user. If a computer system is in use while it is being backed up, the possibility of files being open for reading or writing is real. A snapshot is an instantaneous function of some storage systems that presents a copy of the file system as if it were frozen at a specific point in time, often by a copy-on-write mechanism. Many backup software packages feature the ability to handle open files in backup operations. When attempting to understand the logistics of backing up open files, one must consider that the backup process could take several minutes to back up a large file such as a database. The layout of the original disk, as well as partition tables and filesystem settings, is needed to properly recreate the original system.
Each file’s permissions, owner, group, ACLs, and any other metadata need to be backed up for a restore to properly recreate the original environment.
It is frequently useful or required to manipulate the data being backed up to optimize the backup process. Various schemes can be employed to shrink the size of the source data to be stored so that it uses less storage space. When multiple similar systems are backed up to the same destination storage device, there exists the potential for much redundancy within the backed up data. High capacity removable storage media such as backup tapes present a data security risk if they are lost or stolen. When there are many more computers to be backed up than there are destination storage devices, the ability to use a single storage device with several simultaneous backups can be useful.
In addition to preserving access to data for its owners, data must be restricted from unauthorized access.
The period of time when backups are permitted to run on a system is called the backup window. Meeting the defined objectives in the face of the above limitations can be a difficult task. Using a job scheduler can greatly improve the reliability and consistency of backups by removing part of the human element.
Removable storage media are physical items and must only be handled by trusted individuals.
To ensure that the backup scheme is working as expected, the process needs to include monitoring key factors and maintaining historical data. In larger configurations, reports are useful for monitoring media usage, device status, errors, vault coordination and other information about the backup process. In addition to the history of computer generated reports, activity and change logs are useful for monitoring backup system events. Many backup programs make use of checksums or hashes to validate that the data was accurately copied.
Having learned (perhaps the hard way) that backing up your data is a vital chore that must be done regularly, you may be looking for the best backup storage device.
There are a number of options and price ranges among backup storage devices; the best one for you depends on your computing environment and habits. A better option for home and small business users that have lots of data to backup would be an external hard drive. If you have multiple computers on a network, at home or at the office, a network-attached storage (NAS) device may be the most convenient way to keep all the computers on your network backed up automatically.
A simple NAS can be put together with an off-the-shelf external hard drive and some free network backup software such as Karen's Replicator.
Tape drives are still used in enterprise (corporate) backup systems, but they are not used much by home or small business users, as the cost of magnetic and optical media is far less than tape. Using one or more External Hard Drives is easy and in my opinion "essential" for home and small business users.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Internet connection speeds will continue to rise dramatically, as they have done over the past 15 years. MyPCBackup is a free tool which will automatically backup your whole computer, saving your documents, photos, music and more.
You will then be able to access all your computer files online from any computer or phone so you no longer need to carry memory sticks to store your data on. This is a FREE value added offer – already checked out as it comes with no strings attached. Welcome to NewsPressed the real time News Pressed resource which picks up all the News that the mainstream and the lamestream media miss because they are too full of self importance and hubris to deliver it to you! Common Cloud Storage Backup Issues and Possible SolutionsOctober 22, 2015While cloud storage backup is indeed one of the solutions companies have when it comes to data storage and back-up needs, it is not an infallible one. In an enterprise, because the loss of business data can be catastrophic, it is important that backup storage be provided. The primary purpose is to recover data after its loss, be it by data deletion or corruption.
Organizing this storage space and managing the backup process can be complicated undertaking. This is the easiest to implement, but probably the least likely to achieve a high level of recoverability. This technology is frequently used by computer technicians to record known good configurations.
This eliminates the need to store duplicate copies of unchanged data, as would be the case with a portion of the data of subsequent full backups.
However, there have been cases where conflicting definitions of these terms have been used. This is generally done by saving byte or block-level differences rather than file-level differences.[5] It differs from simple disk mirroring in that it enables a roll-back of the log and thus restoration of old image of data. However, the capacities and speeds of these and other optical discs are typically an order of magnitude lower than hard disk or tape.

However, the data capacity of floppy disks failed to catch up with growing demands, rendering them unpopular and obsolete. Backing up via the internet to a remote location can protect against some worst-case scenarios such as fires, floods, or earthquakes which would destroy any backups in the immediate vicinity along with everything else. These media management methods are not mutually exclusive and are frequently combined to meet the needs of the situation.
A good example would be a tape library with restore times ranging from seconds to a few minutes. This action is typically inserting a tape into a tape drive or plugging in a cable that allows a device to be accessed. The vault can be as simple as a system administrator’s home office or as sophisticated as a disaster-hardened, temperature-controlled, high-security bunker that has facilities for backup media storage.
Computer systems onto which the data can be restored and properly configured networks are necessary too. A means to perform this basic function is included in all backup software and all operating systems.
This technique can use substantially less storage space on the backup medium, but requires a high level of sophistication to reconstruct files in a restore situation.
Some backup software looks at the date of the file and compares it with the last backup to determine whether the file was changed.
Generally this gives access to any previous version, all the way back to the file’s creation time. If a file is open, the contents on disk may not correctly represent what the owner of the file intends. In order to back up a file that is in use, it is vital that the entire backup represent a single-moment snapshot of the file, rather than a simple copy of a read-through.
The datafiles do not change during the backup process so the database is in a consistent state when it is returned to normal operation. This usually includes an inconsistent image of the data files plus a log of changes made while the procedure is running. Accurately recovering a complete system from scratch requires keeping track of this non-file data too. Microsoft Windows keeps a registry of system information that is more difficult to restore than a typical file. For example, if 20 Windows workstations were backed up to the same data repository, they might share a common set of system files.
This can be done to rearrange the backup images to optimize restore speed or to have a second copy at a different location or on a different storage medium. For example, if a backup system uses a single tape each day to store the incremental backups for all the protected computers, restoring one of the computers could potentially require many tapes. As long as new data is being created and changes are being made, backups will need to be updated. Backups must be performed in a manner that does not compromise the original owner’s undertaking. This is typically the time when the system sees the least usage and the backup process will have the least amount of interference with normal operations. For example, for the period of time that a computer system is being backed up, the hard drive is busy reading files for the purpose of backing up, and its full bandwidth is no longer available for other tasks.
Matching the correct amount of storage capacity (over time) with the backup needs is an important part of the design of a backup scheme. Establishing a chain of trusted individuals (and vendors) is critical to defining the security of the data. A CD holds about 700 MB of data while a DVD may hold 4 GB (about 4000 MB), and DVD discs are not that much more expensive than CDs these days.
Yes, flash drives do wear out and start losing data - but it's the repeated re-writing of data that wears them out, not holding data in a steady state.
A NAS device is basically a large hard drive with an Ethernet adapter or other network connection device; it is assigned an address on your network just like a printer, computer, or any other device. The external drive will have to be connected to a networked computer, as it will not have its own built-in network adapter.
Those newer backup media are also much faster when it comes to backing up and restoring data. There is also the fact that you have to be online to restore, and that could be a major problem.
With just the click of a button MyPCBackup will optimize your PC, remove potentially privacy risks and free up disk space.
There are some issues that a lot of providers won’t tell you about upfront, and these hidden problems may bring about headaches when time comes to recover your backed-up data. These include optimizations for dealing with open files and live data sources as well as compression, encryption, and de-duplication, among others.
It can be as simple as a sheet of paper with a list of all backup tapes and the dates they were written or a more sophisticated setup with a computerized index, catalog, or relational database. Imaging is generally more useful for deploying a standard configuration too many systems rather than as a tool for making ongoing backups of diverse systems. Typically, a full backup (of all files) is made which serves as the reference point for an incremental backup set.
One disadvantage, at least as compared to the incremental backup method, is that as time from the last full backup (and, thus, data changes) increase so does the time to perform the differential backup. The most relevant characteristic of an incremental backup is which reference point it uses to check for changes. After the full backup is performed, the system will periodically synchronize the full backup with the live copy, while storing the data necessary to reconstruct older versions. There are myriad formats, many of which are proprietary or specific to certain markets like mainframes or a particular brand of personal computer. Many optical disk formats are WORM type, which makes them useful for archival purposes since the data cannot be changed. Using on-line disks for staging data before it is sent to a near-line tape library is a common example. A mechanical device is usually involved in moving media units from storage into a drive where the data can be read or written.
Because the data is not accessible via any computer except during limited periods in which it is written or read back, it is largely immune to a whole class of on-line backup failure modes.
Some organizations have their own data recovery centers that are equipped for this scenario. Backing up an insufficient amount of data can eventually lead to the loss of critical information.
The process usually involves unmounting the filesystem and running a program like dd (Unix).
Upon a restore, the changes in the log files are reapplied to bring the copy of the database up-to-date (the point in time at which the initial hot backup ended). The data repository only needs to store one copy of those files to be able to restore any one of those workstations. Encryption is a CPU intensive process that can slow down backup speeds, and the security of the encrypted backups is only as effective as the security of the key management policy.
Refactoring could be used to consolidate all the backups for a single computer onto a single tape.
This can be useful if there is a problem matching the speed of the final destination device with the source device as is frequently faced in network-based backup systems. Individuals and organizations with anything from one computer to thousands (or even millions?) of computer systems all have requirements for protecting data. Any backup scheme has some labor requirement, but complicated schemes have considerably higher labor requirements. Using an authentication mechanism is a good way to prevent the backup scheme from being used for unauthorized activity.
First, they allow data integrity to be verified without reference to the original file: if the file as stored on the backup medium has the same checksum as the saved value, then it is very probably correct. Monitored backup requires software capable of pinging the monitoring center’s servers in the case of errors. Also, you can use re-writable CDs, erasing your oldest backup set and replacing it with the latest.

That computer must be left on at all times so that the backup software can access other computers on the network during scheduled backup times. What are these hidden issues and what are the possible solutions for these?One issue that you may not think about at the beginning of your stint with a cloud storage service provider is when they suddenly go out of business. Nowadays, there are many different types of data storage devices that are useful for making backups. Every backup scheme should include dry runs that validate the reliability of the data being backed up. By standard definition, a differential backup copies files that have been created or changed since the last full backup, regardless of whether any other differential backups have been made since then, whereas an incremental backup copies files that have been created or changed since the most recent backup of any type (full or incremental). Tape is a sequential access medium, so even though access times may be poor, the rate of continuously writing or reading data can actually be very fast.
Some disk-based backup systems, such as Virtual Tape Libraries, support data DE duplication which can dramatically reduce the amount of disk storage capacity consumed by daily and weekly backup data. The use of an auto-changer or jukebox can make optical discs a feasible option for larger-scale backup systems. On-line storage is quite vulnerable to being deleted or overwritten, either by accident, by intentional malevolent action, or in the wake of a data-deleting virus payload. Such a replica has fairly limited value as a backup, and should not be confused with an off-line backup.
Because the disk is read sequentially and with large buffers, this type of backup can be much faster than reading every file normally, especially when the filesystem contains many small files, is highly fragmented, or is nearly full. The term fuzzy backup can be used to describe a backup of live data that looks like it ran correctly, but does not represent the state of the data at any single point in time. At this point the snapshot can be backed up through normal methods.[10] While a snapshot is very handy for viewing a filesystem as it was at a different point in time, it is hardly an effective backup mechanism by itself. Either the database file must be locked to prevent changes, or a method must be implemented to ensure that the original snapshot is preserved long enough to be copied, all while changes are being preserved.
This technique can be applied at the file level or even on raw blocks of data, potentially resulting in a massive reduction in required storage space. It can also serve as a centralized location for applying other data manipulation techniques.
Making a more recent recovery point achievable requires increasing the frequency of synchronization between the source data and the backup repository. If a backup extends past the defined backup window, a decision is made whether it is more beneficial to abort the backup or to lengthen the backup window. Second, some backup programs can use checksums to avoid making redundant copies of files, to improve backup speed.
Some monitoring services also allow collection of historical meta-data, that can be used for Storage Resource Management purposes like projection of data growth, locating redundant primary storage capacity and reclaimable backup capacity. Even if you use a flash drive like a re-writable CD, you should get up to 100,000 write cycles out of it before the flash drive begins to fail. You can also specify which files, folders, and types of data files are to be backed up and when.
Cloud storage providers are, after all, businesses too, and they depend on revenues to keep things running. The secondary purpose of backups is to recover data from an earlier time, according to a user-defined data retention policy, typically configured within a backup application for how long copies of data are required. There are also many different ways in which these devices can be arranged to provide geographic redundancy, data security, and portability. It is important to recognize the limitations and human factors involved in any backup scheme. Restoring the whole system to a certain point in time would require locating the last full backup taken previous to the data loss plus each and all of the incremental backups that cover the period of time between the full backup and the point in time to which the system is supposed to be restored. After that, each differential backup made will contain all the changes since the last full backup. Other variations of incremental backup include multi-level incremental and incremental backups that compare parts of files instead of just the whole file. Some optical storage systems allow for cataloged data backups without human contact with the discs, allowing for longer data integrity. Residential broadband is especially problematic as routine backups must use an upstream link that’s usually much slower than the downstream link used only occasionally to retrieve a file from backup. Because a DR site is itself a huge investment, backing up is very rarely considered the preferred method of moving data to a DR site. It is also useful to save metadata that describes the computer or the file system being backed up.
But because this method also reads the free disk blocks that contain no useful data, this method can also be slower than conventional reading, especially when the filesystem is nearly empty. This is because the data being backed up changed in the period of time between when the backup started and when it finished.
Backing up a file while it is being changed, in a manner that causes the first part of the backup to represent data before changes occur to be combined with later parts of the backup after the change results in a corrupted file that is unusable, as most large files contain internal references between their various parts that must remain consistent throughout the file. Likewise, those who perform backups need to know to what extent they were successful, regardless of scale. If they do not have enough clients to ensure that their business continues, the possibility of closing down is indeed there and is a threat to your company’s backed up data.The solution to this issue is a simple talk with your provider and an assurance that should they contemplate shutting down their business, that they inform you ahead of time and give you options for transferring your company’s backed up data to other sources. Though backups popularly represent a simple form of disaster recovery, and should be part of a disaster recovery plan, by themselves, backups should not alone be considered disaster recovery.
Additionally, some backup systems can reorganize the repository to synthesize full backups from a series of incremental.
Restoring an entire system to a certain point in time would require locating the last full backup taken previous to the point of the failure or loss plus the last differential backup since the last full backup.
A principal advantage of tape is that it has been used for this purpose for decades (much longer than any alternative) and its characteristics are well understood. This tends to limit the use of such services to relatively small amounts of high value data. A more typical way would be remote disk mirroring, which keeps the DR data as up to date as possible. Another option would be to ask them to inform you of this closure so you can get your stored information yourself and you can find other alternatives to their storage offerings. One reason for this is that not all backup systems or backup applications are able to reconstitute a computer system or other complex configurations such as a computer cluster, active directory servers, or a database server, by restoring only data from a backup. Secondly, users must trust a third party service provider to maintain the privacy and integrity of their data, although confidentiality can be assured by encrypting the data before transmission to the backup service with an encryption key known only to the user.
The corresponding restore utility can selectively restore individual files or the entire volume at the operator’s choice.
The process can also occur at the target storage device, sometimes referred to as inline or back-end deduplication. Knowing about this event is probably the only thing that can spell the difference between lost data because of closure and recovered data before that happens.Another problem that may arise from using a cloud storage backup is security. Ultimately the backup service must itself use one of the above methods so this could be seen as a more complex way of doing traditional backups.
You are essentially passing on responsibility for the protection of your data to other people and if these providers are not that careful about the data that is being stored, you may find the backed up data compromised. One solution to such an issue is to get your provider to ensure that your data is indeed protected from security breaches. You need to make your provider accountable for the security of your data and have high set of security standards for your data.Another would be for you to encrypt your own data before sending it into the cloud for backup storage. This will ensure that should some security issues arise with your cloud storage backup provider, even when your data is accessed by someone else, they cannot make any sense out of it since only you and your company can decrypt it.
This may be a rather labor intensive move but it does make sure that your data is totally safe while it is in the cloud.For you to also avoid these issues when it comes to cloud storage, it might be a good idea to utilize more than just one cloud storage backup provider. There are backup strategies that are ideal with this ideal, like the 4-3-2-1 backup strategy (keeping 4 copies of very important documents, stored on three different media types, and backed up on two different cloud backup service provider, with one extra copy stored off-site in a physical server).
This will keep important data intact, and your information safe from whatever issues may arise, both in your place of business and in the cloud.

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