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EMC Glossary

Remote Backup Software

Remote Backup Software enables organizations to perform highly efficientautomated backups of valuable data to an offsite disk-based storage system, over a WAN or the internet. Advances in network bandwidth and deduplication technologies have made this type of offsite backup an attractive option.

Who uses remote backup software, and why ?

Remote backup is imperative for any organization with mission-critical data that it wants to protect from natural disaster; system, component or power failures; and sabotage destroying all local copies of the data. Remote backup may also be employed by geographically dispersed organizations, allowing branch offices to back up their data over WAN or internet to one or more centrally managed repositories.

Organizations are increasingly using remote backup software as a means of implementing remote backup, due to its advantages over traditional approaches that involved backing up data to portable media like tape and then transporting those media to an offsite location. Using remote backup and recovery software with a new generation of disk-based systems is far more convenient than tape-and-transport approaches and also provides substantial performance benefits.

How remote backup software works

While remote backup software solutions vary in their details, all involve installing an agent on each host system to be backed up. On a configurable schedule, the agent backs up host data either directly to the offsite backup target via WAN or internet, or first to a local backup system which subsequently replicates the data to the remote target. Before data is sent over the WAN or internet, the remote backup software deduplicates, compresses, and encrypts it.

Along with expanding bandwidth, advances in deduplication technologies have been the key enabler of automated remote backup systems. In a leading-edge remote backup software system like EMC Avamar:

  • Data deduplication is executed at the level of variable length blocks, eliminating redundancy to a greater degree than file level or fixed length block methodologies.
  • Data deduplication is performed both at the individual host (by the agents) and subsequently across the local systems being backed up (by a coordinating middle tier), before transmittal over the wire to the remote backup target. This type of “global” deduplication is especially valuable when VMs or desktops are being backed up, given the high degree of data redundancy across such systems.

All told, an advanced deduplication remote backup software solution can reduce network requirements for data backup by 99% or more.

Benefits of remote backup software

Remote backup in the form of replication enables organizations to recover their valuable data in the event that all local backup copies are destroyed in a disaster. In the context of a geographically dispersed enterprise, having local offices back up to remote, central locations also enables more efficient use of storage infrastructure and expertise, as well as affording a greater degree of policy control.

As a means of remote backup, automated online backups using remote backup software provide several benefits compared to traditional tape-and-transport approaches, including:

  • Much simpler management and operation.
  • Faster and more frequent transfer of backup data to the safety of the offsite location.
  • Greater security, versus portable media that can be lost or stolen.
  • Enables the use of cloud backup systems.
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