Blogs

Oct 2013
23

Asigra Recovery is Everything® Newsletter Recap: October

Posted by Zaid Rasid in Cloud Backup
 

If you haven’t subscribed by email to the Asigra Recovery is Everything® newsletter, you can take advantage of the monthly content we aggregate and share by subscribing here. Our newsletter features great content about the cloud backup and recovery market and includes Asigra news and events plus industry news and events.

Here’s a look at some of the content from our most recent newsletter:

LookBook: http://lbhq.it/17vJtVN

News and Events

Vertical Market Cloud News

Asigra in the News

Spice IT Email Post
Oct 2013
22

The history of computing and the revolution of utility

Posted by Zaid Rasid in Cloud Backup
 

Asigra partner @databarracks partnered with Stephen Fry (A Fish Called Wanda, V for Vendetta, Gosford Park) and created this excellent animated short on the history of computing. In the video, you’ll learn about some of the pioneers of the computing space and how the role of cloud computing evolved into one of utility. You can learn more about Databarracks here: www.databarracks.com

Check out the video here:

http://youtu.be/J9LK6EtxzgM

Spice IT Email Post
Oct 2013
16

Why I Cancelled My Cable

Posted by Zaid Rasid in Cloud Backup
 

I recently made a decision that affected me in ways that I didn’t expect: I cancelled my cable. Sounds like something trivial,cancel cable but considering I’ve had cable my entire life, being without it was a new concept. In fact, when I called my cable provider here in Canada, the conversation lead to awkward moments, where there was real doubt on whether I’d be able to commit to my decision. I know this sounds overly dramatic, but I want you to really ask yourself whether you could eradicate cable television from your life. Could you be what the radicals call a ‘cord cutter’?

Bona fide Cord Cutter

So why’d I cancel? Well for one, I got busy. With my work commitments, my bouts of Jiu Jitsu and the free time I might find to grab a nice dinner, I found I was barely home. In fact, one day I realized two things: the only time I was watching TV was during the morning, for about twenty minutes, while I got ready for work (the news), and second, my favorite show of all time, The Walking Dead, was not available by my provider (I had to buy it on iTunes for $50 for the season). So I considered the costs.

How Much Are We Paying?

It was at that point I began to realize that I wasn’t paying close attention to my cable bill. Considering I was watching a few minutes of TV in the morning and maybe one or two shows at night, how much was I paying for this service? Well here in Canada, where the cable packages only come in bundles, it pains me to tell you that I was paying $75/month for less than a few hours of consumption (that’s near $900/year). One could argue, that if I watched more television, then I would get my money’s worth; but I would argue that that model doesn’t fit my needs. In fact, $900 per year on iTunes is close to 20 complete seasons of television programs that you could purchase (averaging $50 for an entire season of your favorite show).

The Total Cost of Television

With the economy as it is, our own Prime Minister is advocating a change in pricing options that are available to Canadian consumers in the cable industry. In a recent story by the National Post, the government is taking the stance to force major cable providers to provide consumers with ‘pick-and-pay’ services. Politics aside, the new model only benefits consumers. Our Industry Minister James Moore encapsulates it best when he says that, ‘consumers are frustrated over being forced to buy large bundles of channels they don’t want when they sign up for satellite and cable TV services’.

Pricing Models in Data Backup

Asigra also had a close look at the pricing schemes that we’re accustomed to in the data backup and recovery industry. In fact, Asigra was the leading innovator when it introduced capacity based pricing, a concept that is standard today. Yet again, we’re leading the revolution in pricing with our new patent pending Recovery License Model. This pricing model, only charges you a low fixed rate for backup and a variable rate for recovery based on the percentage of data that you recover in a term instead of charging you a larger flat rate that encompasses both backup and recovery. And the model includes limits to provide predictability for budgeting purposes. Because, just as I didn’t want to pay for cable channels that I wasn’t watching you shouldn’t have to pay for data that you’re not recovering. Research shows that most companies only recover less than 20% of their data on an annual basis, but they are paying to recover 100%.

Forrester Research also took a look at recent and similar trends in the software pricing and licensing landscape. You can download a complimentary copy of that report here.

Whether you cancel your cable or not, I hope you consider that pricing models are evolving. With new technologies that are able to respond to individual demands, we will continue to see this trend across many industries.

Spice IT Email Post
Oct 2013
15

Common File Elimination Demystified

 

The following is a guest post from LiveBackup's Alvin Pinho

Common File Elimination sounds rather straightforward as its benefits are easy to understand but the way it actuallycommon file functions often remains a mystery for most of our clients. This article aims to demystify this sophisticated and highly beneficial process that helps radically reduce the size of stored data.

There are numerous methods being used by various solutions to optimise the backup efficiency - reduce the storage requirements and speed up the process of data backup, while at the same time maintaining reliability of data restoration.

Among the methods for achieving these goals are data compression and deduplication, as well as Common File Elimination, and here’s why.

How it functions

The technology recognises the same file that is being used multiple times by different clients and stores only two copies of that file. In order to enable restoration, the software creates pointers which indicate that different backup sets contain the same file, but do not store the same data in multiple locations.

Common File Elimination ensures that the same data is never transmitted offsite more than twice, thereby saving the bandwidth to transmit only new, unique data. Customers often wonder why files are transmitted twice and not only once. Simply said, the system needs to see the file three times before it classifies it as common and moves it to the appropriate folder - common file library.

This simple elimination is achieved by generating a checksum of each file, as it is backed up, and comparing it against the details of all previous files. If the checksum matches a previously backed up file, this means it is a duplicate and only a shortcut of this file needs to be transmitted offsite.

Due to the way this technique is applied, it does not matter if the files are on different customer’s source servers, or even have different filenames – the software will still only transmit two copies.

The importance of Common File Elimination

Because this feature enables duplicate files to be eliminated throughout the entire enterprise prior to transmission offsite, the results are high storage efficiency and significant cost reduction for bandwidth.

Although the backup system uses shortcuts (pointers) to store files, data is easily restored if needed, as the back-end system performs this task of linking the shortcuts to the actual files.

In the era of truly global businesses, potentially critical data resides on multiple platforms and devices, as employees are mobile, use multiple devices and generally collaborate on a much larger scale. It is technologies like this that provide an effective way of protecting crucial business information.

Even though Common File Elimination has been present for more than a decade, its capabilities continually evolve and improve. For those reasons it remains one of the most relied upon techniques for increasing storage efficiency and speed of backup and restoration processes.

About Alvin Pinho

alvinAlvin has been with LiveBackup since 2010. He is a promising information technology specialist, determined to achieve his goal with the greatest of success. Alvin has a Master’s degree in Information Technology and Information Systems from Bond University. He has been an invaluable part of the company since his arrival.

Spice IT Email Post
Oct 2013
7

Calling all Spiceheads. Help Ender Recover!

Posted by Zaid Rasid in Cloud Backup
 

In the classic American science fiction novel Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, we’re introduced to Ender Wiggin, a youngEnders game contest child who is gifted with tactical talents, and unknowingly is responsible for the fate of the world. Set in the near future, Ender is trained as a young child in simulated battles that pit him against an alien life form that is threatening the existence of the human species. Ender is able to utilize his intelligence and his gifted talents in many ways when confronted by such a threat.

Asigra's software, in many ways, prepares organizations from their own ‘alien’ attacks, by ensuring their data is backed up and is always ready for recovery. We use the utmost security procedures to ensure that your data remains safe. Here’s a look at some of the 'battle' tools that come equipped with the Asigra solution.

Agentless Cloud Backup - Asigra requires no agent installations on individual machines. This makes it inherently easier to install and support than legacy backup. On the battlefields, this means you can deploy more machines to protect your data quickly while keeping your army strong.

NIST FIPS 140-2 certification – Asigra is the most secure agentless data platform you’ll find in the industry. It encrypts the data in-flight and at-rest from cradle to grave. With third party certification called NIST FIPS 140-2, it’s next to impossible for anyone to access your data, let alone an alien life form like the Formics.

De-duplication – When it comes to battle tactics, efficiency is the name of the game, and that’s why Asigra offers unprecedented integrated de-duplication. This means that Asigra identifies all duplicate data and ensures only the correct data is backed up and sent over your network.

We know that when the worst can happen, you have to be prepared. And like the many missions that Ender himself faced, you have to ensure that you are equipped with the right tools and strategies. With Asigra, you can be rest assured that your data will always be protected.

Because in the end, Recovery is Everything.

Spice IT Email Post
Oct 2013
6

Datahouse Hits Hole in One

Posted by Zaid Rasid in Cloud Backup
 

Asigra partner Datahouse will be spending more time on the greens when one of the leading golf management companies in the US, Honours Golf, entrusted them with protecting their data. Honours Golf was looking for a provider that shared similar company values like dedication, passion and customer service, and for those reasons they chose Datahouse powered by Asigra.

In this quick video, you can find CEO Bob Barrett of Honours Golf discuss some of the reasons the company selected Datahouse to protect their critical data including email, accounting and payroll systems.

http://youtu.be/6r93rk8JQGE

Spice IT Email Post
Oct 2013
3

The times, they are a changing

Posted by Zaid Rasid in Cloud Backup
 

Some might say that Asigra is ahead of the curve when it comes to our software offering. After all we've introduced some pivotal revolutions into the industry like the Recovery License Model or even the ability to backup cloud-to-cloud applications like Google Apps. Even so, there will always be a few laggards who find it difficult to adapt. But hey, we’re always here to encourage them.

 

cloud humour

Source

Spice IT Email Post
Oct 2013
2

Who is Zeekee Interactive?

Posted by Zaid Rasid in Cloud Backup
 

Asigra partner Datahouse is the cloud backup provider for Zeekee Interactive, an interactive firm that specializes in web development, graphic design, search engine optimization and anything that relates to digital. In this video you can learn how President Dave Gibson of Zeekee Interactive went from backing up a single machine, when he first started his company, to relying on Datahouse powered by Asigra for protecting terabytes of customer files.

You'll find some interesting insights in this video and in particular Dave explains how his staff is more focused on design, development and marketing. Whereas he didn't want to allocate their time to things like backup or backup administration.

You can learn why Zeekee Interactive selected Datahouse powered by Asigra by watching this great video:

http://youtu.be/9TiYBOg8s_k

Spice IT Email Post
Sep 2013
24

How backup centralisation reduces the risks and costs of the cloud

 

The following is a guest post from Jasmina Vermezovic from LiveBackupcentral

There is no stopping the cloud, according to the latest surveys more than 2/3 of companies are at least discussing adoption of cloud applications into daily operations.

It is to be expected that positive decision will be easily reached by most, based on promised ease of management, improved scalability and disaster preparedness. However there are several hidden costs that organisations might soon be facing if the decision is rushed. Although most of the risks can be avoided with careful planning, there might also be a way to address the current situation, regain control and insure protection of all corporate data.

Dealing with the rogue clouds

Companies continually search for business solutions that will keep them competitive and improve the flexibility of their practices. Sometimes in order to save time, employees use unauthorised cloud applications/storages to share files with outside vendors, such as personal Google drives. Companies need to be able to prevent exposure of sensitive data but also to achieve recoverability of data stored in the cloud.

As Google Apps are being increasingly adopted by businesses of all sizes, backup solutions capable of supporting the suite are becoming increasingly in demand as well.

Such backup solution effectively deals with rogue clouds, making sure that although user friendly and flexible, the cloud also provides business grade security.

Cloud storage and non-deduplication

Another solution that can be adopted quickly is that cloud storage in theory has some important advantages - it can be deployed quickly and companies only pay for what they use. It is highly scalable, therefore it is easy to adjust the capacity.

However, a closer look reveals that, since most cloud storages do not support deduplication, companies end up paying for up to 6 times more storage than they actually need. Other challenges include inability to tier data stored in the cloud, so a company does not have an option to adjust to the more efficient manner of data storing.

Recovering data from the cloud is by default slow. According to the survey results, more than one-fifth estimate recovering from the cloud would take three days or longer. Although downtime costs vary significantly within industries, due to the different effects of downtime, several days is still not acceptable for most businesses.

Hybrid environments do not imply hydra-like backup solutions

Companies nowadays store their information on physical, virtual and cloud storage - a complicated environment in regards to backup and recovery, that often results in multiple backup solutions.

According to the survey results, more than two-thirds of enterprises today are using three or more solutions to back up their data. The problems this situation causes for IT departments are not negligible. It is not only necessary to train your staff to use all the solutions, but the management of all those processes is time-consuming. Potentially, the most damaging consequence is the inability to achieve a central, single overview of the entire network.

Instead of combining different backup solutions for cloud applications, critical servers and virtual environments that are complicated and provide dubious restorability assurances, companies are advised to look for a platform and device agnostic solutions capable of meeting all their data protection goals.

True advantages of centralised backup

Centrally managed backup that supports all platforms and devices allows companies to focus on business goals, users, and data, instead of technologies and devices. It also makes sure that information is safe all the time and, most importantly, accessible and restorable whenever needed.

With a single point backup overview it is becoming increasingly easier not only to manage, but to plan future data protection directions.

Centralisation therefore adds to the intangible value of the company that can be hard to calculate without taking some facts into consideration. Just think how much each hour of downtime would result in lost opportunity, shaken customer loyalty, damaged reputation, and lowered employee morale.

About Jasmina Vermezovic

Jasmina VermezovicJasmina works as part of the sales team at LiveBackup, Australia’s leading backup and recovery provider. Prior to moving into sales analytics and support, Jasmina was involved in the development of online platforms, technical documentation and web content for the backup services provider. Jasmina holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master’s degree in Ethnology and Anthropology from the University of Belgrade. During her professional career, Jasmina has worked in a variety of roles, including Marketing and Sales Copywriter, Account Manager, as well as Journalist/Editor for the major national news agency where she covered topics in economics, politics, education, social policies and IT related topics. Her interests include data management, data protection and IT trends.

Spice IT Email Post
Sep 2013
19

Offsite Backup and Disaster Recovery Systems – Sending Data to the Cloud!

Posted by Zaid Rasid in Cloud Backup
 

The following is part two of Afinitey's guest post by Douglas G. Hafford, V.P. Consulting servicesafinety

In our previous post, we looked at a few considerations in determining an offsite backup solution. In this post, we’ll address Disaster Recovery and tying it all together.

What is the difference between Offsite Backup and Disaster Recovery?

Certainly a good backup system is part of any disaster recovery plan, whether it is a tape, USB drive, Offsite Backup or a full DR product. However there are systems which allow not only backup and restore once your system is rebuilt, but can also host your network in the event of a significant disaster. In most of the offsite backup solutions we see in the field, a full disaster, meaning that your office is unavailable for some reason, is handled by the backup hosting company sending a large storage device to a NEW site and allow you to use that to restore your data. When you consider a solution like this, keep in mind that realistically, you are about one week away from being back in business. Often this is good enough, but your partners and staff should be aware of this time frame (known as Return to Operation). One week comes about from the following timeline:

  1. 1. Locate a suitable facility that offers power, AC, Internet etc. – 2 days.
  2. 2. Order and receive the necessary hardware to run your system – 2 days.
  3. 3. Restore from the backup device – 1 day.

This IS of course if you are very, very lucky. Imagine a regional disaster where everyone is trying to do the same thing you are! It is entirely possible that it might be two or even three weeks.

A full disaster recovery solution will offer hosting. This means that your servers can be quickly loaded at the hosting facility and accessed remotely (usually via Terminal Services or Citrix) right away. Providers like this can cut your Return to Operation to 48 hours or even less, depending on what you want to spend. Thus, our next evaluation criterion is "Does the system offer hosting in a disaster?

Now the Tricky Part!

Quality Backup and Disaster Recovery systems can take two forms. Image based and File based. Image based backup systems have some nice features however they have one fairly significant problem. A backup “Image” can quickly be restored and handled quite easily by the backup system however, an image can become corrupt. A corrupt image may behave exactly like a good one, but be useless in a disaster. So an image based backup might report that its completing backups, be able to restore a single file or folder without difficulty but when the “stuff” hits the fan, a client can find that they have no restorable image because of corruption that was never detected. These types of backup systems generally recommend testing on a periodic basis, either semi-annually – say twice a year – or annually. However, when we encounter these systems at a potential client site and ask, “How often do you test?” the response is almost uniformly “Test?” Now I don’t want to be too harsh on image based backup. Most of these work just fine and corruption is fairly rare however, there IS a very good reason the vendors want you to test every 6 months and if you have this type of backup, you MUST test. The price of these backup solutions can be higher than stated because generally, the testing has a cost over and above the normal monthly storage based charges.

File based backup systems do not have this issue and can be routinely tested and verified for integrity as part of the normal backup procedure. Since each file is verified as identical at the block level (that’s a real low level, trust me on this!) testing is normally NOT required. Clients may however wish to test things like a failover scenario to ensure that they can be hosted in a disaster. That’s simply thinking ahead, but it’s not about data integrity but rather the supplier’s ability to perform. This brings us to our next evaluation point, "Is the backup system File or Image based?"

What’s next?

All of these solutions are falling in price month by month. At the same time the price of high speed bandwidth to accommodate an offsite backup or disaster recovery solution is also falling. These solutions, once reserved only for larger firms, are becoming more and more accessible for smaller firms with more limited budgets. It is a very good time to contact your trusted advisor and examine some of the offerings that are available now. If you have something in place, it might be time to look around and make sure you have the best available price to performance solution for your firm. At the same time, look at your bandwidth and see if you can improve that as well. Me? I’m looking forward to writing a similar article next year with even better backup solutions!

About Afinety

Since 1987, Afinety has been a leader in IT services for small to medium size businesses. With a focus on law firms, Afinety provides standardized networks that simply work. Other services include hardware and software sales, consultation, cloud based services including disaster recovery, training and support, as well as proactive services that are designed to keep your network running smoothly, without interruptions. For more information, please visit our website at www.afinety.com

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