Tape to Cloud, Overcoming the Challenges Faced by the MSP

Sep 2010

Tape to Cloud, Overcoming the Challenges Faced by the MSP

Posted by Larry Bourgeois

Physical Migration of Backup Data

 How do you physically migrate backup and archived data from the “old” system to the new Cloud Backup and Recovery (BUR) solution?

It’s not an easy task! This is why many businesses will continue to use a product they do not necessarily like just to avoid the prospect of having to figure out how to migrate the data to a new solution.

Most backup solutions write data to tape or disk in a proprietary format that can only be read using the same software that wrote the data. The only real way to migrate the data from the tapes or disk written by the outgoing solution is to restore the data to a temporary location and then back up the data with the new Cloud BUR solution.  (link to Asigra products)

Data lifetime requirements influence migration

Short data lifetime requirements

When migrating to a new product, if the lifetime of backups made with the old product is relatively short, just make sure that you keep a server running the old backup software around with the tape drive or tape library still attached. Do not do any new backups, but use this system to restore any data from the older backups until the lifetime of all backups has been exceeded.

At that time the system can be retired and annual software maintenance fees for the outgoing system are eliminated. Software maintenance or upgrades are also not required since the system is stable up until the last backup that was made.

Longer term data lifetime requirements

If company retention or regulatory policies (HIPPA, SEC regulations for example) dictate that data must be kept for a long period of time (i.e. years) either keep the old software running like in example 1 or restore only the long term data and then back up this data with the new backup software. Again, once all data has been expired, the old backup solution can be retired.

Tape backup technology changes influence migration

One other factor that many companies fail to take into account is changing tape technology and how this relates to the ability to restore data written to tape years ago. In many cases, the tape technology that wrote the backup data has been decommissioned as newer technologies have been implemented due to hardware failure or ongoing maintenance issues.

Now that the original tape hardware is no longer available, data written to the oldest backup tapes is no longer restorable with any backup solution.

Sales opportunity for MSPs

This is also a great opportunity for the MSP to sell additional professional services to the customer along with the new backup software to tackle the long and laborious task of restoring and re-backing up the archival data since most companies do not have the manpower in house with enough free time to perform the data migration.

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