Cloud BackupVeeam

Back to Basics with Backup

ByMay 22, 2017
server rackMy first job, while at university on my industrial placement year, was working with a civil engineering consultancy firm helping to design the English Channel Tunnel, amongst other things. My day job involved writing structural analysis code in FORTRAN 77. As I was the most junior in the team, I got the extra job of coming in at 6.00 a.m. on a Friday morning to do the full system backups of the DEC VAX 11/780 that we used at the time.

This machine served the entire company, with connections out to remote offices around the world over what would now be described as ‘wet string’. The Friday backups took about five hours to complete and we needed to get the company back online for 9.00 a.m. Needless to say, we queued up some of the backups to run during the wee small hours of Friday morning so they would be finished by the time we came in at 6.00 a.m.

The VAX had two disk drives, each with a capacity of 67MB at the time. The disks themselves were removable, and looked like five orange LP records on top of each other. This meant that we could do disk to disk backups, as well as disk to tape.

The tape drives we had available were DEC TU81s, which ran at either 1600 or 6250bpi (bits per inch).  We would take several backups, keeping one on-site, and sending the other offsite to a nearby satellite office which had a fire safe.

On one occasion, the TV company came in to do a piece on the development of the Channel Tunnel and spent ages setting up their cameras on the air conditioning units, as these had lots of flashing lights. The VAX itself was rather boring to look at, so to make things look more interesting we set the tape drives going so that the tapes were spinning round back and forth to make the whole thing look more like something out of ‘Man from UNCLE’.

So anyway, fast forward thirty years or so, and nothing much has changed, except that the volume of data has gone from megabytes to terrabytes. But, the principles that we used in those days still hold true. Generally this is known as the 3-2-1 rule.
  • Take 3 copies of your data
  • On 2 media types (disk and tape, disk and cloud)
  • Keep 1 copy offsite
More information on the 3-2-1 rule can be found here.

In the recent past, offsite might have meant another office in a fire safe, or perhaps using one of the various service providers that grew up to provide this storage capability. These days, offsite could quite easily be a cloud service provider, such as iland. More interesting locations for offsite backups (from recent customer calls) include the boss’s car boot (trunk for US friends), or Mum’s spare bedroom wardrobe!

iland are proud to be a global Platinum Veeam Cloud Connect partner, providing offsite backups in the cloud for hundreds of customers and storing many petabytes of data for them.

While most users will backup to disk repositories or tape drives on-site, it is extremely easy for any existing user of Veeam backup and replication to simply add iland as a service provider by just using a site name, some credentials and an SSL certificate (all provided by iland).

Backup administrators can then define direct backups jobs to the iland cloud, or create copy jobs of existing on-premises backups, or even create replication jobs that could be used for disaster recovery purposes.

Changes in legislation mean that organisations will have to keep data for much longer periods of time, often stretching to many years. Many of our customers are using their on-premises repositories for short to medium retention, and the cloud for long term retention.

These days, the internet provides fast enough connectivity for most organisations to backup and restore data. It is always good to check your actual throughput upstream and downstream though, and this calculator provides some guidance on the laws of physics when it comes to data transfers.

Management of your Veeam cloud backup resources just got a whole lot easier with our recent release which integrates Veeam Cloud Connect Backup into iland’s award-winning Secure Cloud Console. Customers can now monitor cloud storage usage on their backup resources, receive utilization alerts, proactively scale up resources on-demand, gain insight into billing information and use analytics to accurately forecast future backup storage needs. And, it’s the same console used to manage our IaaS and DRaaS solutions – a single pane of glass for all of your cloud solutions.

Bootnote: VAXes were also very good for keeping your lunch warm – especially Cornish pasties.
Richard Stinton

Richard Stinton

Richard is an Enterprise Solutions Architect for the iland EMEA business and has over 30 years’ experience in the IT industry, most recently in the Cloud space with iland, Microsoft Azure and VMware. Starting out in Engineering CAD/CAM and GIS systems with McDonnell Douglas and EDS, he moved to mainstream IT and Systems/Service Management with HP, BMC Software and Mercury Interactive, before joining VMware in its early days. Richard has a breadth of experience having worked in customer support, sales, partner management and product marketing. In his current role as EMEA solutions architect, Richard works with customers to implement and optimise cloud technologies.