Since the invention of the computer, data loss has been one of its most frustrating problems. While this sort of thing may not happen every day, a single data crash can eliminate days, weeks, or even years worth of hard work. As this state of affairs is completely unacceptable, it pays to have a robust data backup scheme. But how do you go about creating one? Well, you have two options, and we are going to examine both of them.
Option 1: Traditional Data Backup
This is a term that encompasses older and simpler ways of backing up your data. Before automatic backups and system images became common, you had to do everything manually. This would often mean saving huge amounts of files to hard storage media. These could be anything from tapes to optical disks or anything else, but we would strongly recommend that you avoid the outdated methods. An external hard drive is a very good way to backup your data, as it can hold a lot and can be re-used for a very long time.
Option 2: Intelligent Business Continuity
This is a term that refers to modern custom-managed backup systems. It is characterized by a combination of hard-copies and cloud backups. Either one of these things would not be reliable enough on their own, so it makes sense to combine them. While cloud computing is usually pretty safe, the cloud itself can go down from time to time. Intelligent business continuity setups are also characterized by a high level of automation, meaning that you don’t have to spend as much time or effort to keep them functioning.
How Do They Compare?
When we put these two methods against one another, we see that it is no contest at all. The IBC method offers a lot of advantages over the traditional methods, while the traditional methods don’t really offer anything. IBC systems are more secure, and that is the bottom line.
IBC Is Faster
IBC-based systems will normally experience faster recovery times. There are several reasons for this, but the single biggest reason involves files and formats. In the old days, each file had to be individually saved. At the most, you might have been able to bundle them together as a .zip file or something like that. However, IBC systems make use of “system image files.”
System image files are basically a snapshot of your computer. It contains all your data, settings, programs, and everything else that is present on your machine. Windows has been using system image files for backup purposes since Windows 7, and it has proven to be both useful and popular. When you are restoring your system from an image file, it will be restored much faster because everything is bundled together in one file.
Manual Vs. Automated
The average home PC user doesn’t think about backups very often. Because you don’t need your backups until a disaster occurs, it is easy to forget about them. You can try to fight against this aspect of human nature, but you don’t really have to do so. Instead, you can use an automated system to do the same thing with less effort.
Not only is automated backup faster and more convenient, but it’s also inherently more accurate. By taking the human element out of the picture, you are mostly eliminating the chance for human error.
All Your Eggs Aren’t In One Basket
When you use a traditional backup method, you are essentially putting all your eggs in that one basket. If something happens to your backups, you are out of luck. IBC systems, on the other hand, use a mix of cloud-based backup and hard-copy backup. This makes your data much more secure than either option would normally be. Although it is possible that you could suffer a breakdown of all three at once (your main system, your cloud backup, and your hard backups), it is highly unlikely that all three of these would malfunction at the same time. The keyword here is “redundancy.” Every extra copy of your data represents an insurance policy.
Slower Write Speeds
Traditional backup methods have always been slow and cumbersome. You have to wait for all of your data to be written to the storage media, and that is normally pretty slow. For instance, a 700 MB optical disk will probably take 10-20 minutes to write (assuming that you are using the whole thing). That may not sound like much, but 700 MB also isn’t much, so you’re going to need a lot of these things.
Even if you go with a hard drive or some other modern storage media, you will still have to wait for each file to be written to the disk. Then, you will have to check each file to make sure that they have been copied fully and correctly. You can take a shortcut by comparing the sizes of the two folders, but it’s still a long and arduous process. IBC setups, on the other hand, bypass this problem by making use of system images. You will still have to copy your image files to some kind of hard storage media, but it will be a lot faster.
Use Of Virtualization Technology
Here’s a question: What if you only lose a part of your data? When that happens, it would be a waste of time to restore the entirety of a system image. That’s where virtualization comes into play. You see, system image files can be used to recreate your system in a virtual environment. Virtualbox is probably the most popular software for this purpose, but there are many others. By doing this, you can open the image and get whatever you need at any time.
This is one of those cases where the comparison wasn’t even close. IBC methods blew the traditional methods out of the water in every category. While we always attempt to be unbiased in our conclusions, this one was just too lopsided to declare any other way. If you have enjoyed this article, and if you would like to read more of our work, please fill out the contact form.