Critical Systems’ Backup with Bacula Enterprise

Do you know when Continuous Data Protection is needed?

Continuous Data Protection (CDP), also called Continuous Backup or Real-Time Backup, consists of a set of backup approaches available on Bacula Enterprise to meet the demand for availability of Critical Systems, those that cannot “offline” or that require high availability.

CDP (Continuous Data Protection) allows you to backup your data in real time, automatically detects and saves all changes made to your data, so that nothing is forgotten. These changes can be stored locally or remotely and are readily available for retrieval at the exact moment you need them.

Advanced Continuous Data Protection with Bacula Enterprise

Unlike conventional backup solutions, Bacula Enterprise with its native CDP plugin does not require regular snapshots of the entire system. It saves only those bits of data that have changed, resulting in continuous backups that do not overload your resources and have no significant impact on your operating system workload.

This approach allows you to perform granular recovery of just those bits of data that you really need to restore. Granular restoration can be crucial for predominantly virtual environments, in which Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) are tight and Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) are very short.

Real-Time Block-Level Replication: CDP makes use of change-block tracking to constantly replicate and write data to storage. Because CDP is always on, it provides significantly better RPOs than solutions that are based around snapshots.

See our Case Study on using CDP for a medium-sized hosting provider.

Use Case of CDP

A medium-sized hosting provider operating in Greece and the Balkan states needed an always up-to-date backup, as well as the ability to dial back to the right moment in time before an event – such as data corruption – had happened. Five years ago, their hosting environment consisted of approximately 70% physical servers and 30% virtual machines. The company had been using traditional backup solution and methods that provided full and differential backups. This had initially been enough for its needs. Now, however, the company’s technicians were running out of time to complete regular backups.

In addition, the company’s difficulties were being exacerbated by a growth in data volume. As the company was growing successfully, this data growth was expected to continue well into the future, and any solution would have to be ‘future proof’ with this aspect in mind.

It became clear that the company needed to move to solution that was modern, efficient and fast, and that would allow the user or administrator to restore data to any point in time. After further research, the company realized it would be highly advantageous to employ a true CDP solution: a solution that would detect when a file was changed and copy it into a local spool area. The company needed files to be available for immediate recovery locally, and the ability to automatically capture and track data modifications, saving every version of user-created data locally or at a target repository. However, in recent years, as the company moved towards virtual infrastructure, the proportion reversed: now their environment is mostly made up of virtual machines and servers (78%) with physical servers making only 22%.

As conventional backup and restore operations are highly resource- and time-consuming, the organization started looking for alternative backup solutions that they could use instead or together with their existing backup infrastructure.

After a careful comparison of all alternative solutions, the company decided to use Bacula Enterprise, benefiting from its built in Continuous Data Protection capability. Bacula closely integrates highly effective CDP into a comprehensive, enterprisegrade backup and recovery environment, which presents an advantage to system administrators and users. Bacula’s approach is to be as platform-agnostic as possible, with no particular file system requirements. Among the many advantages of this philosophy, one of them is the ability to significantly reduce the need to rely on snapshots.

By: Bacula Systems


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