by May 5, 2003 0 comments

IT infrastructure is difficult to manage, especially with the current shortage of skills and dispersed resources. The increasing number of such networks across businesses makes it important to reduce human dependence. To do this, processes should be put in place that would protect against human error and safeguard businesses against data losses or disasters.

Now, Sampath’s dilemma of having control of storage resources in the setup can only be addressed by a centralized data management solution. The fear of losing information from the hard disks of servers and desktops is real and can be tackled only by putting in place a comprehensive data management policy, and making sure that automated systems are in place.
The following rules should be 


Consultant, Legato Systems India


  • Protect data at local sales offices.
  • Protect data in the zonal offices.
  • Implement centralized management to ensure consistency in policies organization wide.
  • Keep copies of the data to be kept off site to protect against disasters.

Sales Offices
With 2-3 PCs at the office, the backup method currently used to send the accounts files over the dial-up might work. But, a replication tool would replicate data automatically and would ensure that backups are also made to the zonal offices and the data is safely shipped at regular intervals, 3-4 times a day, if not on a 
continuous basis.

For bigger sales offices, backup software would have to be deployed. These would be workgroup solutions wherein backing up data on local DAT drives and then making tape-to-tape copies of data to be sent offsite to zonal offices. New DLT or LTO drives are recommended for faster backup and restore performances. This software solution can be monitored from the HO itself, through a Web interface, to ensure enterprise wide consistent policies are implemented even at the lowest level. The existing 10 PCs can also be backed up to this server over the LAN.

Proposed Setup at Shelvam

Data management software using automated jukeboxes at head office and factories. PCs at head office to be backed up using specialised PC backup software
Backup to disk if possible, DLT or LTO drives for making copies of data to be sent to HO. PC backups on a central server

Zonal Offices
At the zonal offices, one of the servers can be designated as the backup server and be used to back-up other servers over the LAN to this main backup server. If the backup server has reasonable space then back-up to disk can be considered as a viable option as it would ensure faster backups and even faster restores. A copy of data can be made from the disk to the tapes, which can, then , be sent offsite to the HO. New LTO or DLT drives can be used to achieve this and can also be used to restore data received from the remote sales offices. Again, the backup software can be monitored and configured from the HO where all data management reports for all locations can be compiled. 

Head Office
With four servers at the HO, and assuming that the data would be more with greater load on the servers, a dedicated backup server with a automated jukebox connected to it, is proposed. The backup of all servers would be done over the LAN to this server and would get backed up to the media in the autoloader. For Shelvam as a group, it would be better to standardize on one technology DLT or LTO in order to maintain uniformity across locations and eliminate interoperability issues. Copies of data can be made on existing drives and sent offsite for remote vaulting under suitable conditions. Sending the tapes home is not always a good idea as proper storage at home is not guaranteed and also it is more or less dependent on the person who is storing all those tapes. To eliminate this dependency, the tapes should be sent to an external agency/data center. With about 50 PCs, specialized PC backup solutions can be implemented to ensure corporate data (80 % of knowledge in an organization lies in PCs) is well protected. Same backup server can be used as a backup server for PCs as well.

A similar solution is recommended for the factories. PC backup at factories can be done using specialized PC backup softwares, but the decision depends on how critical is the data in these PCs. If they are merely data entry workstations, then may be a central home directory on the server for each user is enough. Godowns PCs need not be backed up as they are merely data entry workstations that are sending data to the central servers at factories. 

Using and deploying such a solution is just the first step towards securing the enterprise. Training of the people involved and testing of such solutions at periodic intervals go a long way in achieving the objectives. The essence of backing up data is to be able to restore when needed. So, the more you test, the easier it will be to restore if and when disaster strikes.

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