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Blog February 4, 2020

What are Options for IBM i Backup Solutions? (And How is This Different from Data Recovery?)

Web architects and IT leaders are increasingly offloading IBM i backup solutions and other workloads to the cloud. Cloud backups and data recovery offer improved economy of scale and cost effectiveness. In most instances, backup data is rarely seen or heard from again once the backup is complete, aka “write once, read never.” For many industries, however, those backups need to be maintained for long periods in the event of audits or testing. Increasingly, offsite storage solutions are a go-to solution for businesses with extended data storage requirements.

Likewise, data recovery is further insurance against data loss, as well as protection for essential business systems. (If you’re still using tapes or backing up locally: Why aren’t you taking bolder and more proactive steps to protect your data?)

This brief overview dives into why enterprise architects working with IBM Power Systems and IBM i should leverage cloud-based data recovery and backup to avoid widespread data loss and protect ongoing business operations in the event of an unplanned event.

Why Utilize A Managed Service Provider as Your IBM i Backup Solution?

It’s a given that heavily regulated industries (finance, medical, education) are subject to laws that regulate retention periods their data. Most business leaders over the years have also come to recognize the importance of recoverable data, and a data recovery protocol is equally crucial for the overall stability of the company.

IBM i backup and disaster recovery is more classifiable as a form of insurance. The unimaginable is just that. If, and when, outages and other unplanned catastrophes (let’s call them what they are) damage your servers or cut off power to your internal backup data sources, you need a plan that gets your systems up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Cloud backup and data recovery for IBM i offers robust solutions for midsized companies with structured or strictly defined IT resources. Third parties scale faster and are in a more optimized position to leverage their resources in the event of emergencies. As such, all companies need to consider the advantages of using offsite/third party services for IBM i backup solution management and data recovery.

IBM i Backup Solutions vs. Data Recovery

While IBM i backup solutions and data recovery are often discussed in parallel, they are not quite the same thing. Backup-as-a-service is a scheduled process that copies and stores your mission-critical data to an external file source.

Everyone, from businesses to individuals, needs some form of backup solutions, from external drives to backup tapes. While those backups are important, disaster recovery-as-service takes this a step further. In a reliable disaster recovery (DR) plan: data isn’t merely copied to another location. Rather, discrete systems are mirrored to replicate critical business operations, enabling your IT department to address any immediate issues while your business and applications go on uninterrupted.

Think of it this way: Backups merely store data, while data recovery captures and protects your workflow.

What is Cloud vs. Hybrid Backup?

Here’s what you probably know already: IBM i cloud backup solutions store data and applications on remote servers to ensure that data is safe and recoverable at different physical locations. What you may not know is that, according to recent industry analysis, cloud backup is the second most common use for cloud computing for medium and large businesses. Increasingly, mid-sized companies leverage the cloud for data backup priorities.

Depending on your data security and data processing requirements, you may need to utilize a hybrid system. Hybrid cloud systems first migrate data to a drive locally (this typically optimizes efficiency and speed), and that data is then transferred to the external cloud layer for optimal data security and recovery. Third parties typically leverage proprietary encryption protocols and transmission software to further protect and secure that data. Hybrid DR is a popular solution for enterprise environments that need such an additional security layer.

IBM i Backup Solutions Automate Your Data Protection

No matter what that unforeseeable event is—a storm, a flood, a fire, theft, data corruption–you need to get your systems up and running as soon as possible. Your team may well need to focus exclusively on getting your internal and customer facing applications up and running again. The goal of your recovery time objective (RTO) should ideally be to have a seamless process in place that returns business back to normal as soon you confront any disaster. A third party provides both geographic advantages and additional redundancy to mitigate downtime for your customers and staff.

In the 90s and even as early as the 00s, the job of data backup fell to an internal team member as one of many daily tasks. What we see time and time again (and we wish we didn’t) is that many companies still rely on a to-do list for daily backups.

It’s our responsibility to ask “what if” questions: What if the person who performs and checks the backup is out sick for the day and no one else confirms the backup was done successfully? What if it isn’t completed at all because of an application failure and the day gets away from your staff without noticing? What if your backup systems fail overnight and no one is there to catch it?

“What ifs” are endless because anything can happen, but there may also be existing issues with your backup protocol that needs to be analyzed. For example, your databases may require more real-time updates than your once daily backup incorporates now. As your clients interact with their personal data, your DR and backups must ensure you’re capturing it not only to your local database but to your backup systems as well.

We are one of the most authoritative voices in the industry for all types of managed cloud services. Our experienced leaders address your solutions based on your individual company’s resources and needs. We’ve been at the forefront of the cloud for over 20 years, delivering security, privacy, and responsive support and development for all of our clients. We can develop, scale, and automate an IBM i backup and DR solution that allows your team to stay focused on the day to day, leaving the emergencies and the “what ifs” to us.

Further Reading

Click here to download our eBook, “8 Reasons Enterprises that Rely on IBM Choose Connectria”

Read our case study about the problems we solved for Morton Technology Group with an IBM i enterprise solution

Article: 11 Signs It’s Time to Turn to an MSP for Your IBM Power Systems

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