Data Recovery & System Backups

What is backup and restore?

Backup is the process of creating a copy of data to protect against accidental or malicious deletion, corruption, hardware failure, ransomware attacks, and other types of data loss. Data backups can be created locally, offsite, or both. An offsite data backup is a key part of any business continuity/disaster recovery plan.

Restore is the process of retrieving data from a backup. This might mean copying data from backup media to an existing device or to a new device. It also could mean copying data from the cloud to a local device, or from one cloud to another. Recovery refers to the process of restoring data and operations (e.g., returning a server to normal working order following hardware failure).

Restore and recovery times can vary widely depending on the backup format and data recovery methods you choose. Additionally, restore needs also vary (e.g., restoring a single file vs. an entire server). Finally, critical data may live on workstations, local servers, and in the cloud. These are important considerations when selecting a backup and recovery solution.


Types Of Data Recovery

Not all data loss scenarios are the same, so it is important to choose a backup solution that addresses a wide range of restore and recovery needs and reduces data recovery steps. As an example, let’s look at some of the data recovery methods available to Datto SIRIS users:

File Restore: A file restore is exactly what it sounds like—the process of replacing a lost file or files from a backup to its primary location. With SIRIS, an administrator can mount a recovery point, view the protected system’s file structure, locate the necessary files, and restore them back to the primary system. If you only need to retrieve a file or a small number of files, this is the ideal restore type.

Volume Restore: When you perform a volume restore on SIRIS, the contents of the chosen recovery point is shared as an iSCSI target. This restore type retrieves files and folders with permissions intact and is used to restore large numbers of files when a bare metal restore is not necessary (i.e., the physical server is intact and operating correctly).

Bare metal restore: This is the process of restoring an entire system image (the protected machine’s data, applications, settings, and operating system) from a backup to a new physical server. “Bare metal” refers to the new system’s unused, unconfigured hardware. Bare metal restore is used when a primary server fails, is damaged, or is otherwise rendered inoperable.


Local virtualization: Local virtualization is a feature of BCDR solutions that offers fast recovery of business operations. Local virtualization uses hypervisor technology to boot a virtual server from a snapshot on the backup device. This enables businesses to continue normal business operations while the primary server is restored (using one of the methods above). Local virtualization nearly eliminates costly business downtime. On Datto SIRIS, this functionality is known as Instant Virtualization.

Cloud virtualization: Cloud virtualization refers to the process outlined above, but in the cloud rather than on a local backup device. Some BCDR solutions can create a tertiary cloud copy of backup server images. In the event that both the primary and backup servers are inoperable, say because of a fire or flood, business operations can be continued on the cloud backup server image.