Is all data created equal?

I would have to say no, as a business owner I have certain data that is critical to my business and life in general.  Some data can be restored at a later date as it is not critical but some data is critical and has to be there when I need it.  I call this data tiering and I always say that different data has different value, Tier 1 data is data I need NOW! as it’s critical to my business, while Tier 2 data is data I need but can be restored later in a disaster scenario.  Maybe I have a regulatory mandate to keep it but I don’t have to restore it now and slow the recovery process down.  And then there may be Tier 3 data which I call “stuff “.  We may want to keep the “stuff” but if we lost it, no big deal. 

So how do you figure all this out? 

Well, there are tools out there like Tree Size but they have their limitations.  You could just search your drive for the biggest files but that is only a small piece of the puzzle.  We use a tool called Lan Discovery, which is included in our backup software, to understand what data is on the network and the best way to treat it in order to improve the RTO (Recovery Time Objective).   It tells you how large the files are across the network, how many duplicates there are as well as the last time a file was accessed.  This allows you to make the right decisions on what is needed to be restored immediately and what can wait until later in the recovery process.  I always say “it’s about the Recovery” not the backup. 

1. How big the files are (catch storage bottle necks)
2. The last time someone modified the file (great for archiving info)
3. A file type distribution report (tells you what file type is taking up the most space)
4. Exchange server report (find the data hog culprit)

I think you get the idea, most people don’t worry about the most important part, the data recovery and that’s a shame as it can truly make or break a company during a data recovery process.  Imagine paying 20 employees for 8 hours while your data gets restored.  That would be a huge waste of time, money and client goodwill, right?  But if your data was tiered and managed so as to restore faster you could have been up and running hours sooner saving time, money and maybe the loss of some clients that are not so understanding.

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About steveferman

I am the creator and owner of eTegrity systems International, a cloud based Backup and Recovery provider for Msp's and Vars. I am also the President of Compunite Computers, inc. a 22 year old MSP and named top 100 MSp's 3 years running. I am known as the busiest man in backup and also do a lot of speaking for industry publications like IT world and Msp Alliance. I hope I can share some good insights and knowledge from my over 30 years in the industry.
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