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Capability: Data Protection and Recovery

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Introduction Introduction
Requirement: Centrally Managed Data Backup for Branch Offices Requirement: Centrally Managed Data Backup for Branch Offices
Requirement: Backup, Restore, and Defined Recovery Times for Servers Requirement: Backup, Restore, and Defined Recovery Times for Servers

Introduction

Data Protection and Recovery is the fourth Core Infrastructure Optimization capability. The following table lists the high-level challenges, applicable solutions, and benefits of moving to the Rationalized level in Data Protection and Recovery.

Challenges

Solutions

Benefits

Business Challenges

User and application data management is decentralized, increasing operations costs

Not regulatory compliant, which could lead to financial penalties

IT Challenges

Application data management is segmented. The unreliability of tape-based backups and slow data transfers are still an issue.

Traditional data backup methods provide inadequate infrastructure protection

Projects

Implemented centrally managed data backup for branch offices

Implement full-scale deployment of data protection tools

Implement a NAS/SAN-centralized DRP or business continuity and disaster recovery solution for all servers to meet required SLAs

Business Benefits

Streamlined support processes through consolidated data management

Closer to implementing regulatory compliance

Improved productivity due to better performance of backup services that stabilize the environment

Backup ”windows” more efficient, retaining the streamlined support process and minimizing the impact to the business

IT Benefits

Established SLAs between business and IT

Reduced operations costs through centralized mission-critical user and application data

Spend less time on data backup and recovery operations

The Rationalized Level in the Infrastructure Optimization Model addresses key areas of networking and security components, including:

  • Centrally managed data backup for branch offices.

  • Backup, restore, and defined recovery times for servers.

Requirement: Centrally Managed Data Backup for Branch Offices

Audience

You should read this section if you do not centrally manage data backup for your branch offices.

Overview

Organizations with branch offices need the ability to protect and restore data centrally so that employees in the field can concentrate on their core functions. Managing data backup at individual sites poses numerous problems. As personnel, hardware, and software changes, you would need to constantly retrain staff at remote locations.

Which backup and recovery solution is most appropriate for branch services depends on the location of the services, the facilities available at the branch location, and the nature of the data stored. The need for business continuity and the number and type of decisions required to define appropriate backup and recovery solutions can affect where you locate each branch service. The backup and recovery of services and data over the WAN can introduce significant amounts of traffic—the decision to centralize must take such impacts into account. Co-locating services can introduce additional challenges.

When you have centralized backup of branch offices, you can provide better service in several ways. Your backup and restore software should provide the following capabilities:

  • No user intervention. Local users do not need to remember to rotate the data backup tapes into tape backup hardware.

  • Automated monitoring. You can verify the success and health of the backed-up production servers. The software should give you just-in-time alerts about issues that you need to fix.

  • Faster and more reliable restorations. The software must provide rapid and reliable recovery of data lost because of user error or server hardware failure. End-user recovery enables users to independently recover their own data.

  • Verification of backups. You can easily verify the success of a backup.

  • Monitored backup process. You can verify the success and health of the backup process.

Phase 1: Assess

While there are two basic options for the branch office backup approaches, local and central, the reality is that most organizations will have adopted a hybrid approach. The Assess phase will examine the current backup and recovery methods for branch office data. The result of the Assess phase should be a process mapping of the backup and restore functions of both central data repositories and local branch office data repositories.

In the Backup, Restore, and Defined Recovery Times for Servers requirement in this guide, we describe the need for backup and recovery of all servers with attached SLAs. For centralized data repositories, these concepts apply to backup of branch office-generated data. For local data repositories, the requirement of Proactively Managed Bandwidth to Branch Offices will also apply to the backup and recovery procedures selected as a result of this exercise. Often given the constraints of WAN links, the appropriate level of data backup moving over the network to central sites will vary depending on the organization and geographical topology. The purpose of the Assess phase is really to identify insufficient or as needed local backup routines.

Phase 2: Identify

During the Identify phase, it is often best to begin with a thorough examination of regulations, local laws, and industry requirements as they pertain to data backup and archiving. After identifying compliance issues associated with data backup, identify the WAN-link limitations or constraints that need to be dealt with when planning for how your organization will centrally manage branch office backup. The final deliverable using these and any additional inputs will be to create a requirements specification for the branch office backup service.

Phase 3: Evaluate and Plan

Operationally, to minimize the need to perform local backups of branch servers, you should consider centralizing as many of the core branch infrastructure services as possible or use backup and recovery methods that enable the central storage of backed-up data. In the Evaluate and Plan phase, consider the technologies available to you to enable a centralized backup and also consider the local tasks that can be managed by establishing policies or guidelines for data retention. The combination of how backups are performed over the network and which local backups are made on-site and how they are securely archived will help formulate a plan to centrally control backup and recovery operations at your branch offices.

Data Backup and Restore Considerations

When you select and implement a backup and restore solution for your branch offices, you need to address the following:

  • Data and system availability

  • Network considerations

  • Verification

Data and System Availability

Backup functions should have a minimum impact on end users’ access to data. Backups also should not affect system performance. Restoring data should be efficient to minimize the time users are unproductive because of data loss.

Network Considerations

Your available WAN bandwidth can be a determining factor in the following areas:

  • Frequency of backups

  • Timing of backups

  • Guaranteed restore times

  • Type of backup—full or incremental

Verification

Your backup software should allow you to verify the success of data transfer for both backup and restore. You should also be able to monitor, track, and record all operations so that you can measure the effectiveness of your backup and restore functions.

For more information on backup and recovery, visit https://www.microsoft.com/technet/solutionaccelerators/wssra/raguide/BackupandRecoveryServices/igbrbp_2.mspx.

Data Replication

Another approach to data backup is data replication. Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) is a disk-based backup solution for file servers that uses the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to provide access to multiple point-in-time snapshots of protected data. NSI Software, Inc., Double-Take provides real-time data protection and replication. It provides disaster recovery and high availability for the data, thus enhancing the value of DPM to customers.

The ways that you can centralize the management of data protection and recovery by using Data Protection Manager 2006 for backup are described in the following sections.

Centralize Branch Office Backups  

The most common method for protecting the data on file servers in remote physical locations is for the branch office staff to back up data to removable media such as tape, and then transport the media to an off-site storage facility. DPM makes it feasible to back up the data from remote file servers to disks in the central data center, where the data can then be more efficiently and reliably backed up to tape by central IT staff. Because the DPM server in the data center provides short-term, disk-based recovery, branch offices gain rapid, reliable short-term recovery at a lower cost.

Centrally Manage Shadow Copies and End-User Recoveries

By storing the shadow copies used for end-user recovery on the DPM server rather than on individual file servers, you can centralize the management of end-user recovery for multiple file servers.

Centrally Monitor DPM Servers and Protected File Servers

As part of your data management strategy, you can use the Data Protection Manager 2006 Management Pack for Operations Manager 2005 (MOM) to centrally monitor data protection, state, health, and performance of multiple DPM servers, and the file servers that they protect, in MOM. From the MOM Operator console, an administrator can monitor DPM and network infrastructure simultaneously, analyzing issues with data protection in the context of other factors in system and network performance. The administrator also can monitor other mission-critical applications, such as Microsoft SQL Server. For information about downloading the DPM Management Pack, see http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=47215 .

For more information on data replication, visit http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/dpm/deploy/dpmnsidoubletake.mspx.

Local Backup Policies and Guidelines

Based on the model selected, regulations, and geographic distribution of your organization, you may opt for a hybrid plan for backup and recovery services. Centralized data repositories will continue per the backup and recovery requirement in this guide, and a centralized technology such as Data Protection Manager may take on items appropriate for network-based backup. The nature of this data backup must meet constraints posed by WAN links. If, for example, you have a branch office location in a remote location where less than 128 Kbps is available, your central backup strategy may need to rely upon local backup and storage routines and manual processes.

Evaluating and Planning Summary

The final outcome of the Evaluate and Plan phase will be a deployable plan consisting of the backup and recovery design for your organization’s branch office-generated data. This plan will be used in the Deploy phase to help implement or broaden the coverage of a technology such as DPM, or it may be used to implement process controls for localized branch office backup and recovery services with defined service levels in accordance with those outlined in the requirement for Backup, Restore, and Defined Recovery Times for Servers.

For organizations with as needed backup and recovery in branch locations, the Windows Server System Reference Architecture implementation guides for Backup and Recovery Services can help derive plans for solidifying local operations. Additionally, the Microsoft Operations Framework Storage Management guidance provides high-level planning and operational best practices for defining local backup and recovery services.

Phase 4: Deploy

The Deploy phase again implements the plans derived from the effort of the previous three phases. If your organization has selected to augment its current backup and recovery operations with Data Protection Manager 2006, you can find deployment guidance on Microsoft TechNet in the Data Protection Manager 2006 Planning and Deployment Guide.

Further Information

For more information on backup and restore, visit Microsoft TechNet and search for “branch office data backup and recovery.”

To see how Microsoft addresses data protection, go to http://www.microsoft.com/technet/itshowcase/content/dpmtcs.mspx.

Checkpoint: Centrally Managed Data Backup for Branch Offices

Requirement

 

Created a centralized data backup plan and a recovery plan for branch offices in your organization.

 

Implemented a backup and recovery plan for centralized control of backup and recovery operations, either via network-centralized tools or operational guidelines for local backup and recovery, with defined service levels.

If you have completed the steps listed above, your organization has met the minimum requirement of the Rationalized level for Centrally Managed Data Backup for Branch Offices capabilities of the Infrastructure Optimization Model. We recommend that you follow the guidance of additional best practice resources for managing data at branch offices.

Go to the next Self-Assessment question.

Requirement: Backup, Restore, and Defined Recovery Times for Servers

Audience

You should read this section if you do not have a service level agreement (SLA) for system backup and restore and defined recovery times for 80 percent of your servers.

Overview

In the Core Infrastructure Optimization Resource Guide for Implementers: Basic to Standardized, you read about data backup and restore services for critical servers. To move from the Standardized level to the Rationalized level, you need to extend your backup and restore capabilities to 80 percent or more of your servers. You also need to define and track recovery times through SLAs.

This section of the Core Infrastructure Optimization Resource Guide for Implementers: Standardized to Rationalized summarizes the topics covered in the Basic to Standardized guide because the standards that apply to your critical servers apply equally to non-critical servers, and recovery times at the Rationalized level are defined.

The following guidance is based on the Windows Server System Reference Architecture implementation guides for Backup and Recovery Services and Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) Storage Management guides.

Phase 1: Assess

The Assess phase examines the business need for extending your backup and recovery operations to all servers and takes inventory of the current backup and recovery processes in place for critical servers. Backup activities ensure that data is stored properly and available for both restore and recovery, according to business requirements. The design of backup and recovery solutions needs to take into account business requirements of the organization as well as its operational environment.

Phase 2: Identify

The goals of the Identify phase of your backup and recovery solution are to identify the targeted data repositories, take baseline measures of the current recovery times, establish defined recovery times and corresponding service level agreements (SLAs), and derive high-level business requirements to achieve defined recovery times. Defining recovery times and SLAs for backup and recovery services share the same process and guidance with defining SLAs for the requirement of service monitoring in this guide. Any backup and recovery solutions that are deployed must be predictable, reliable, and capable of complying with regulations and processing data as quickly as possible.

Challenges that you must address in managing data include:

  • Managing growth in the volumes of data.

  • Managing storage infrastructure to improve the quality of service (QoS) as defined by SLAs, while reducing complexity and controlling costs.

  • Integrating applications with storage and data management requirements.

  • Operating within short, or nonexistent, data backup windows.

  • Supporting existing IT systems that cannot run the latest technologies.

  • Managing islands of technology that have decentralized administration.

  • Assessing data value so that the most appropriate strategies can be applied to each type of data.

Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) Storage Management provides additional details for the Identify phase of Backup and Recovery operations.

For detailed information about best practice service level management, read the MOF Service Level Management guidance.  

Phase 3: Evaluate and Plan

The Evaluate and Plan phase for the Rationalized level follows the same steps outlined in the Core Infrastructure Optimization Resource Guide for Implementers: Basic to Standardized guide. As you extend services to all servers at the Rationalized level, you should take into account several data points to determine the appropriate backup and recovery solution for your organization. These requirements can include:

  • How much data to store.

  • Projected data growth.

  • Backup and restore performance.

  • Database backup and restore needs.

  • E-mail backup requirements.

  • Tables for backups and restores.

  • Data archiving (off-site storage) requirements.

  • Identification of constraints.

  • Select and acquire storage infrastructure components.

  • Storage monitoring and management plan.

  • Testing the backup strategy.

See Microsoft Operations Framework Storage Management for more details.

Backup Plan

In developing a backup and recovery plan for critical servers you need to consider these factors:

  • Backup mode

  • Backup type

  • Backup topology

  • Service plan

Microsoft’s Data Protection Manager (DPM) is a server software application that enables disk-based data protection and recovery for file servers in your network. The DPM Planning and Deployment Guide contains a wealth of information on setting up a backup and recovery plan.

Recovery Plan

Even the best backup plan can be ineffective if you don’t have a recovery plan in place. Following are some of the elements of a good data recovery plan.

  • Verify backups.

  • Back up existing log files before performing any restoration.

  • Perform a periodic fire drill.

  • Create a disaster kit.

Recovery Times

Your SLAs should have defined recovery times for your servers. These times need to be renegotiated periodically as equipment and services expand. You can also use your records of data recovery incidents and the improvement over time of your ability to restore servers to operation to negotiate recovery times.

Phase 4: Deploy

After the appropriate storage infrastructure components are in place and the backup and recovery service plan is defined, your organization can install the storage solution and associated monitoring and management tools into the IT environment.

Further Information

For more information on backup and recovery solutions, visit the Data Protection Manager 2006 and Backup and Recovery Services Web sites.

To see how Microsoft addresses server backup and restore, go to https://www.microsoft.com/technet/itshowcase/content/dpmtcs.mspx.

Checkpoint: Backup, Restore, and Defined Recovery Times for Servers

Requirement

 

Created a data backup plan and a recovery plan for 80 percent or more of all servers in your organization.

 

Used drills to test your plans and validate defined recovery times.

If you have completed the steps listed above, your organization has met the minimum requirement of the Rationalized level for Backup, Restore, and Defined Recovery Times for Servers capabilities of the Infrastructure Optimization Model. We recommend that you follow the guidance of additional best practice resources for backup, restore, and recovery for servers.

Go to the next Self-Assessment question.

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