Friday, September 29, 2006

Data Protection, zero-downtime, and Small Business Server

As new technologies in file replication and storage are developed it is critical for companies to re-evaluate their data backup and data protection strategies. Data backup is typical of any computer user, at least I hope it to be a case, but data protection has continuously proven to be a practice reserved for the larger companies.

Recently new products like Windows 2003 Server R2 and smaller 3rd party devices like the Seagate Mirra appliance have made it much easier to maintain live, continuously replicated, copies of all shared files on a separate storage media. Those media could then be used to restore to the point-of-failure, instead of the traditional “last night” backup. Even though such tools are easy to use and fairly inexpensive, they do not provide all the protection a small business needs.

In a perfect world a small business utilizes Microsoft Small Business Server 2003. Although it is a valuable asset for any small company, Small Business Server has one flaw: most continuous protection and, especially, auto-failover (Zero Downtime) solutions do not work with it.

After three months of research and experimenting with solutions from Neverfail, DoubleTake, SonaSoft, Microsoft, and Symantec it became clear that Small Business Users simply cannot experience the effects of Zero-Downtime in a disaster scenario (unless you are willing to spend about $20,000.00); but they can get close.

Keep looking for updated posts that will present our recommendations for Small Business Data Protection.