One thing that hasn't changed about backups in recent years is that small companies are still looking to move off tape. The target has changed in many cases, however, with cloud backup now a viable option to disk.
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The Aero Law Group had a typical backup configuration for a law firm its size, an AIT Sony tape drive using Symantec backup software, before switching to Zetta.net DataProtect cloud backup. Aero had outgrown the legacy system to the point it was lucky to get two or three good backups a week.
The Bellevue, Washington-based firm has more than 500 clients on six continents and practices transactional legal services for the airline and aircraft industry. The firm moved to Zetta.net's enterprise cloud a year-and-a-half ago to protect 500 GB of critical data on five servers, split roughly even between Exchange Server data and Microsoft Office files.
"The tape held 80 GB and my daily full backups grew to 150 GB," said Jason Webb, IT manager for the law group. "I would have all these failed backups. Also, each morning, an administrator would go and change the tape and if it was forgotten, we lost that day's backup."
Zetta.net sets up an agent on each server and central management is done from a Web portal. Webb, who works remotely, logs onto Zetta.net's portal to view the server history of backup jobs, and initiate operations such as snapshots, deduplication and restores. Files can be restored in minutes and Webb can take a copy of a file backup and copy it to any other computer.
"I get an email every day and it shows red, green or yellow status," Webb said. "Ninety eight percent of the time, it is all green. If a user accidentally deletes a file, I can restore it in minutes. I can be on vacation and restore a file. I was in Hawaii once and I was able to do a restore."
Webb considered using Amazon S3 as a target, but said he found Zetta.net's cloud service more cost effective. S3 only provides the storage capacity and requires the customer to also pay for backup software. Webb said the backups are more efficient with Zetta.net's block-level backups because only the data deltas are saved.
"You only want the deltas backed up to the cloud," Webb said. "Going to the cloud, you don't want to back up 800 GB a night. You physically can't back up that much data with the bandwidth."
Webb said Aero pays an annual fee for the storage the firm needs. DataProtect pricing begins at $175 a month for 500 GB of storage.