Tutorial

Backup applications tutorial: Top new features and technologies in backup and recovery apps

By W. Curtis Preston

When enterprise data storage administrators are asked what their No. 1 pain point is, the answer is almost always data backup and recovery. Even with declining storage budget dollars and a bad economy, the demand to back up more and more data is never ending, and administrators are still being asked to make their data backup and recovery operations more efficient.

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Backup applications tutorial
New features in backup applications

Data dedupe: Transforming backup to disk

Data protection management features take you beyond simple backup statistics

Continuous data protection is still alive in backup and recovery

What are synthetic backups and can you eliminate full backups?

Virtual server backup may finally be getting a little easier

The good news is that there have been many new advancements and improvements in the past several years in data backup and recovery technologies. One area that has seen a lot of new improvements is in data backup software and backup applications.

In this tutorial by TechTarget executive editor and independent backup expert W. Curtis Preston on data backup and recovery applications, we look at the most important enabling technologies in backup applications in the past several years. How have backup applications advanced? What should you look for when you buy a new backup application? What features are a must-have in a new backup app? Get the answers to these questions and others in this tutorial. Learn about the hottest new features in backup applications so you will know how to buy the best app for your organization.

In particular, we'll look at the following five key data backup and recovery technology advancements in data backup applications:

  1. Data deduplication: Data dedupe is perhaps the biggest game changer since the introduction of network backup systems 15 years ago, and its popularity can be traced to a number of factors. Learn why data dedupe is a must-have feature in backup applications. Click here to read the first part of our tutorial and learn about data deduplication and backup to disk.
  2. Data protection management (DPM): Data protection management was introduced several years ago by Bocada Inc., the first company to attempt to produce standardized reports on multiple backup products. Learn why you may need data protection management features and why they're important. Click here to read the next part of our tutorial and learn about data protection management.
  3. Continuous data protection (CDP): Only a few years ago there were a number of companies with continuous data protection applications, but many of them are no longer around. Some simply went out of business, while others were acquired in fire-sale deals. Did CDP simply not work? Was it a bad idea? Or was it the Star Trek of backup products (a great idea before its time)? Click here to read the next part of our tutorial and learn about CDP and backup
  4. Synthetic backups: Because 90% of any given full backup is already on tape or disk somewhere, a "synthetic full" can be created by copying the data that's needed from the latest full to a new full backup. A synthetic backup provides the benefit of a full backup (fast restores via collocation of the necessary data) without the downside of a full backup (unnecessary transfer of the data across the network). Click here to read the next part of our tutorial and learn about synthetic backups.
  5. Virtual server backup: Server virtualization has been a boon for many data centers. Far too many applications required a "dedicated server," when all they truly needed was to think they had a dedicated server. Their CPU and I/O requirements were easily met by sharing resources with the aid of a server virtualization product. But then there was backup to consider. Click here to read the next part of our tutorial and learn about why virtual server backup may be getting easier.

In this tutorial on backup applications, we'll explain how these technologies have changed backup applications to help you decide which backup application is best for your company's data protection needs.

Editor's Tip: Click here to go to the first part of our backup applications tutorial, and learn about the importance of data dedupe and backup to disk.

This was first published in June 2010

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