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Look for these critical features in a ROBO backup tool

To effectively back up ROBO environments, admins should prioritize bandwidth optimization, centralized management and the ability to initiate restores remotely.

IT pros who support geographically dispersed organizations must adopt a specific set of practices -- and tools -- to protect data that resides outside their company's main office.

Remote office and branch office (ROBO) environments pose unique data backup challenges. For example, they often lack a dedicated IT staff and may not be equipped with high-speed connectivity to the main office. Because admins perform remote office backups differently than local backups, there are certain features to look for in ROBO backup software.

3 critical ROBO backup capabilities

ROBO backups often send data over an internet connection to a cloud-based target or to a target in the main office. As such, bandwidth optimization features in ROBO software are a must.

Another thing to look for is the ability to manage all remote offices through a single interface. Establishing a remote desktop protocol (RDP) connection to a remote office might not be a big deal if an organization only has a few remote locations. However, it isn't practical for an organization with lots of remote locations to manage each individually.

Another important feature of ROBO backup software is an interface to initiate backups and restores from the remote location. This makes it possible for an authorized employee in a remote office to restore a file without having to contact the help desk. Bypassing the help desk reduces the IT staff's workload and enables remote employees to restore data much quicker than would be possible if they had to wait on IT.

ROBO backup software options

Numerous vendors offer ROBO backup tools. Here is a quick breakdown of three options.

Veeam for Remote Office/Branch Office Deployments

To minimize bandwidth consumption, Veeam keeps file-level restoration traffic on site at the remote office. The Veeam software sends commands back and forth between the main office and the remote office, but the actual processing is performed at the remote site. This reduces the volume of traffic flowing across the WAN link.

Additionally, Veeam has created a management console that backup operators can install directly on their own devices. This console allows authorized employees in the remote office to perform backup and restore operations, and it eliminates the need to establish an RDP connection with a remote site.

Druva

Druva's ROBO data protection offering is software as a service, which means admins can remotely deploy it to remote offices without the need to install any on-site hardware or software. This approach also supports the centralized management of backups.

Druva provides the option of a local cloud cache, which can accelerate the backup and recovery process for those who must comply with strict recovery objectives. Additionally, Druva uses source-side and global deduplication to reduce backup storage costs and bandwidth consumption.

Nakivo Backup and Replication

Nakivo Backup and Replication is specially designed to address ROBO backup challenges. One of the things that makes Nakivo unique is admins can install the software directly on a NAS appliance, which simplifies backup operations. Nakivo supports appliances from QNAP, Synology, Austor, NetGear, and Western Digital.

Nakivo enables the centralized management of ROBO data protection without the need for an administrator to be on site. The software also supports multi-tenancy, meaning ROBO staff can handle backup tasks if necessary.

In addition, Nakivo uses network acceleration and bandwidth throttling to manage a limited supply of bandwidth.

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