centralized backup

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Best practices for remote data backups
Contributor(s): John Hilliard

Centralized backup is a process that involves automatically replicating data from remote sites and sending it over a network to a main (centralized) location for storage. Centralized backup can be used to automate backups at remote sites and potentially reduce backup administration costs.

Centralized backup serves as an alternative to local backup, an approach that requires the maintenance of tape libraries at remote sites. While centralized backup solves the potential security issues associated with loose tape media, it can make backups and restores take longer and tie up a network's available bandwidth.

To address these concerns, the backup administrator must make careful decisions about what to back up and how often backups should be sent over the network to the central location.  To ensure that the minimal amount of data is transferred during the backup, some centralized backup systems will deduplicate data in the backup stream and/or only perform incremental backups. 

Restores from centralized backups can pose a challenge. They can be time-consuming over a wide area network (WAN) because of bandwidth limitations. And while companies can perform centralized restores by shipping tape for a restore from the main location to a remote site, this process requires an IT person and an onsite tape drive to conduct the restore



This was last updated in December 2011

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