W. Curtis Preston: Articles and podcasts on data backup and recovery

Read what backup guru Curtis Preston has to say about data deduplication, CDP, VTLs and more.

 W. Curtis Preston (a.k.a. "Mr. Backup"), executive editor and independent backup expert, has been singularly focused on backup and recovery for more than 15 years. From starting as a backup admin at a $35 billion dollar credit card company to being one of the most sought-after consultants, writers and speakers in this space, it's hard to find someone more focused on recovering lost data. He is the webmaster of BackupCentral.com, the author of hundreds of articles, and the books "Backup and Recovery" and "Using SANs and NAS."

We've collected all of Curtis' articles and podcasts on data backup and recovery best practices here. Check back often for advice on data deduplication, disk and tape backup, and backup and recovery trends for enterprises as well as small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Articles, videos, podcasts and tips by Curtis Preston:

NEW! Snapshot backup software tutorial

In this tutorial on snapshot backup software, learn about near-CDP and snapshots, redirect-on-write snapshots, and how to restore snapshot data.

Hyper-V backup tips
Users of Microsoft Hyper-V have some of the same problems with data backup that VMware users have. Learn the best Hyper-V backup strategy in this tip.

The year in data backup and recovery
Here's Curtis' take on the year in data backup and recovery.

Oracle backup strategies 
Learn about the the differences between these Oracle backup strategies and details essential Oracle backup best practices in this Q&A.

Why global deduplication is important
Global deduplication is the most important feature missing from target deduplication systems today. The lack of this feature increases both the acquisition cost and the operational cost of such systems. Learn about why global deduplication is so important in reducing acquistion and operational costs in backup systems today.

Solving common data deduplication system problems
Still not getting the data deduplication ratios vendors are promising? Learn about the most common problems in data deduplication systems and how to solve them in Curtis' latest column.

NEW TUTORIAL  Continuous data protection backup products tutorial 
Many people viewed continuous data protection as the Star Trek of the backup industry -- a great idea before its time. Star Trek, maybe not fully understood when it first aired, was canceled after three seasons. Similarly, many people thought continuous data protection was a solution looking for a problem, and most shops could meet their backup and recovery requirements without completely changing the way they did backups, which was required with CDP. Learn about CDP backup products, near-CDP vs. real-CDP and more in this tutorial.

Using snapshot backups 
When discussing snapshot-based backup systems, there are a number of misconceptions that must be dealt with before beginning the conversation. Learn about the pros and cons of replacing your traditional backup system with snapshot backups in Curtis' latest column.

Simplify virtual machine backup with image-level backups, CDP and near-CDP 
It's time for users to pull their heads out of the sand regarding virtual machine (VM) backups. Server virtualization software such as VMware or Microsoft Hyper-V may solve a lot of problems for system administrators, but they create a lot of problems for storage and backup administrators. Learn how to simplify virtual machine backup with image-level backups, CDP and near-CDP in this column.

Laptop backup and desktop backup best practices
Laptop data backup and desktop data backup is just as important as enterprise data backup. Whether your laptops and desktops are for business or personal use, you want to make sure they're backed up correctly because the data on them is often more vulnerable than data that is backed up on a server storage system. Learn best practices for backing up laptops in this podcast.

Common NAS backup challenges
Network-attached storage (NAS) backup can be a challenge for many data storage administrators because in order to back up data, it has to be sent to a backup server across the network. It requires backup agents installed on servers to access storage on a NAS device, and it can be inefficient. Other technologies exist to simplify NAS backups such as Network Data Management Protocol (NDMP) and near-continuous data protection (CDP), but do these technologies have limitations as well?

Streamlining Microsoft SharePoint backup and recovery 
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server is a popular enterprise collaboration tool. Although it's great for streamlining your office operations chores, it can be troublesome when it comes to data backup and recovery. In this two-part SharePoint tutorial, learn about the best SharePoint backup and recovery strategies, whether it's with native backup and recovery options or third-party SharePoint backup tools.

Choosing data archiving software
There are a number of important data archiving best practices, but the most important ones (that are rarely followed) are simply to archive and to use data archiving software. Most people are using their backups as archives, and it's hard to imagine anything worse you could do if you have archiving requirements. Learn about other common archiving mistakes and how to choose the best data archiving software in this column.

Oracle backup best practices
In Curtis' latest column, learn about user-managed backups in Oracle, using RMAN and other Oracle backup and recovery best practices.

Macintosh backup strategies: Tips for better Mac backup
Data backups are one of the many areas where the designers of Macs have really thought things out. Mac backup isn't a perfect story, but it's certainly better than what is possible with Windows or Linux. This column isn't aimed at this type of shop. It's aimed at either a small IT shop that doesn't have a network backup product that supports Mac OS, or individual users who want to make sure their Mac is backed up properly. You'll learn Macintosh backup strategies in this column, and some best practices for Mac backup.

Backup best practices: Easy fixes for your enterprise backup system
There are easy, cheap things you can do to optimize your enterprise backup system and have a dramatic impact. This column discusses how to figure out what may be slowing down your backup system, how to fix it and will give you some hints as to when to throw in the towel. You will learn backup best practices, and when the best thing to do is to make a major upgrade.

How to choose the best remote online backup service provider
Backing up data to a remote online backup service provider can be a good way to back up data, but you have to choose the right backup provider for your environment. How do you go about choosing the right online backup provider for your company? What pitfalls do you need to look out for? And how do these services differ from one another? Curtis Preston answers these questions and more about remote online backup service providers in this Q&A.

Restoring deduped data in deduplication systems
Restores from some data dedupe systems can be slower than modern tape drives, and restores from other deduplication systems can be faster than tape could ever dream of. In this column, you will learn what you need to do to make sure your dedupe system is on the right side of those two extremes.

Backing up Microsoft Hyper-V virtualized servers
Many companies incorporate Microsoft Hyper-V virtualized servers into their data backup environments. But backing up Microsoft Hyper-V virtualized servers involves different steps than the familiar VMware servers. Curtis Preston discusses the challenges associated with backing up Hyper-V servers and the differences are between backing up Hyper-V and VMware servers in this Q&A.

Data deduping explained
Data deduplication is one of the biggest game-changers in data backup and data storage in the past several years, and it is important to have a firm understanding of its basics if you're considering using it in your environment. The purpose of this tutorial is to help you gain that understanding. Learn about data deduping in your backup enviornment.

A tutorial on evaluating cloud backup services
In this tutorial on cloud backup best practices, learn what you should look for in potential cloud data backup services, questions to ask potential vendors, management and security concerns, and cloud backup services that are popular with larger enterprises.

LTO tape technology continues to evolve with LTO 5
LTO-5 tape is slated to be released later this year, with nearly double the capacity of its predecessor LTO-4. W. Curtis Preston, TechTarget executive editor and independent backup expert, outlines how LTO tape differs from other tape media, discusses the various generations of LTO tape, and the pros and cons of LTO.

Using data deduplication products as part of an IT disaster recovery strategy
When integrating data deduplication products into your IT disaster recovery strategy, there are a number of things you need to consider. Should you use source dedupe or target dedupe? Which one is better for disaster recovery? If you are backing up your data to tape and disk, are there other issues to keep in mind? Curtis discusses source and target deduplication, how these approaches differ, what that means from a disaster recovery perspective and more in this Q&A.

The dos and don'ts of using backups and data archives
Data backups and data archives are frequently confused with each other. Many people don't know the difference between the two enterprise data storage technologies, and often assume that if necessary, they can use their data backup storage as data archive storage, which often is not a good idea. Curtis outlines the differences between data backup and data archiving products, and the dos and don'ts associated with each technology in this Q&A.

Mr. Backup's data backup and recovery planning predictions
In case you think you're missing out on what's happening in the data backup and recovery space, here's Curtis' look at how backup and recovery will change in 2010.

An introduction to data compression
It's no secret to enterprise data storage managers that data compression technologies can help reduce their data footprint. But how much do you know about actually achieving the types of compression ratios that will provide significant data-reduction benefits to your environment? In this interview, Curtis discusses the basics of data compression, the data compression technology market, how compression differs from data deduplication and more.

Data protection and data backup trends in 2009
Data, companies and data backup products were lost forever in 2009. This article takes a look back at the year that was 2009 -- from a data protection/data backup and recovery perspective.

Bare-metal restore FAQ
Bare-metal restores can be challenging. A little planning up front can save you a lot of headaches when performing a bare-metal restore. Curtis answers common questions about bare-metal restores in this Q&A.

Using data deduplication with backup applications: Source vs. target dedupe
Learn about the latest data deduplication battle with backup software vendor's in Curtis' latest column, and about source dedupe vs. target dedupe.

Data backup for virtual machines: Alternative methods to VMware Consolidated Backup
In this column, Curtis discusses "point products" that address virtual machine (VM) data backup, and using data deduplication and continuous data protection (CDP) for VM backup.

Data backup and recovery choices for SMBs
Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) need and deserve the same level of quality found in the data backup and recovery systems of their larger "enterprise" counterparts. The good news is that there are a lot of choices available to them.

Global data deduplication FAQ
Global deduplication allows users to deduplicate data across multiple boxes, which can simplify management as companies back up more and more data. Backup expert W. Curtis Preston discusses the pros and cons of global deduplication, who should consider it, and which vendors are offering it today in this Q&A.

Is VMware Consolidated Backup right for your enterprise?
VMware's answer to the backup dilemma is VMware Consolidated Backup. Learn about the pros and cons of VMware Consolidated Backup in Curtis' latest backup tech tip.

Tape backup best practices: How to improve tape storage performance
Despite all the hype around the use of disk-based data backup and recovery, tape storage is still the primary target for most backups. Not only is the most data stored on tape, but most data is backed up directly to tape without using disk as a buffer.

Open-source data backup options for your data center
Your data center's backup needs might be able to be met by an open-source backup software package, possibly saving you money and giving you greater control over its functionality.

Symantec Veritas NetBackup best practices: Using the maximum jobs per client setting
This is the second in a multi-part series discussing Symantec Corp. Veritas NetBackup best practices to help you make the right choices for your data backup system.

Continuous data protection (CDP) on the rise in data backup and recovery products
Why is CDP on the rise this year? Do customers see CDP as an attractive asset now, and why? Rick Walsworth, EMC's director of product marketing for cross-platform replication solutions, and Curtis Preston, discuss recent CDP trends in this podcast.

Target-based data deduplication product considerations
Learn about target-based data deduplication product considerations in W. Curtis Preston's latest backup tip.

Using bare-metal recovery to migrate physical machines to virtual machines with VMware
Learn about using the bare-metal recovery procedure to migrate physical machines into virtual machines in Curtis Preston's latest column.

Symantec Veritas NetBackup data backup and recovery best practices 
This is the first in a multipart series about Veritas NetBackup best practices to help you make the right choices for your data backup system.

Creating a custom data backup process and customizing backup scripts 
Customizing your data backup process and customizing your backup scripts may make things much more complex. Read W. Curtis Preston's latest column about customizing backup systems.

SharePoint data backup and recovery best practices
To back up SharePoint, one must understand it first. Learn about how to use SharePoint recycle bins, SharePoint and data deduplication, and SharePoint backup best practices.

Data destruction FAQ
When data backups are deleted in your business, are they really gone? In this FAQ, Executive Editor and Independent Backup Expert W. Curtis Preston discusses data destruction in backup environments. Curtis takes a closer look at the approaches to destruction, regulations and policies regarding destruction and options for outsourcing this policy.

Tape backup and recovery technology tutorial 
Despite all the hype around disk-based backup and data deduplication, tape remains the predominant way that users ultimately store their backups. Even if they first back up to disk, most users eventually store their backups on tape. Learn about recent changes in tape technology and how to best use tape in a modern backup environment in this tutorial.

Backups (not so) Anonymous
Got a backup problem? Here are 10 ways you can fix your most vexing issues.

CDP FAQ:Continuous data protection (CDP) is becoming an increasingly attractive data protection and backup option. But is CDP right for your business?

Server-free backup FAQ
W. Curtis Preston discusses how server-free backup works, pros and cons of server-free backup, the server-free backup market today, and alternatives to this complicated approach.

New Year's resolutions for data backup administrators
To make sure you start off the new year right, here are W. Curtis Preston's (a.k.a. Mr. Backup) New Year's resolutions for 2009.

Podcast: Disk-based backup for SMBs
In this podcast, Curtis takes a closer look at the benefits and cost differentiators of moving from tape to disk for data backup for SMBs.

Continuous data protection: Near vs. real CDP
In this article, learn about the differences between continuous data protection (CDP) and near-continuous data protection.

Data replication for backup best practices
In this interview, Curtis discusses synchronous and asynchronous replication, data deduplication, and backup management best practices.


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