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Backup and Recovery Community Blog

Recovery Point Objective – How much data can you afford to lose?

Created: 29 May 2009
GFK's picture
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Nowadays, probably not so much. There was a time where a day or two of outage didn’t make a huge difference to businesses - unfortunately that was over 20 years ago. We now live in a “NOW” world where every second counts. Somehow, no matter what your size, you have to consider how to ensure that business-critical data is always protected and always available. How do you improve your Recovery Point Objective? Enter stage left: Symantec Backup Exec Continuous Protection Server.

Continuous Protection Server (CPS) combines Backup Exec data protection with replication technology and disk-based data protection to provide continuous fast and reliable data backup and retrieval. It does what is says on the tin: offering continuous data protection; giving you the ability to restore data at a granular level from points in time throughout the day. At the same time you can perform simultaneous backups of multiple servers; fully integrated with Symantec Backup Exec for Windows Servers for conventional tape-based data protection.CPS lets users restore their own data without IT assistance through a Web-based data-retrieval tool, i.e. no agent or software needed … or updated or maintained.

How does it work?

1. Users save files and folders to local file servers (Business Servers) as part of their normal daily work. Business Servers are interconnected and together form a common Backup Group.
2. The CPS Backup Destination Wizard designates a specific directory on a specific Protection Server where the data is backed up. The backup-destination definition includes the schedule for the data snapshots and the policies for snapshot retention. Different servers can be designated as backup destinations based on your needs.
3. You can create CPS backup jobs to back up data from one or more Business Servers to a Protection Server and schedule CPS backup jobs to run periodically, continuously or on demand.
4. As soon as the data is backed up to the Protection Server, scheduled snapshots of the data are made. The data is then indexed and made available to the Web Restore Server.
5. Users retrieve specific versions of files and folders from the Web Restore Server using Backup Exec Retrieve and their Internet browsers.
6. If a system fails on one or more Business Servers, the backed up data can be restored from the Protection Server back to the Business Server. If a failure occurs at a Protection Server, Backup Exec can restore the data back to the Protection Server or back to a Business Server.
7. After the data is backed up to the Protection Server, you can back up the data to Backup Exec to archive the data to tape or disk for long-term storage.
8. Backup Exec SmartLink technology provides integrated management of the CPS allowing you to view the status of Continuous Protection Server backup jobs in the Backup Exec Job Logs and Alerts. This option lets administrators determine the quality and completion of the CPS jobs before or during the Backup Exec backup job.

Continuous data protection is different from traditional backup in that you don’t have to necessarily specify the point in time to which you would like to recover until you are ready to perform a restore. Traditional backups can only restore data to the point at which the backup was taken. With Backup Exec CPS there are only continuous or near continuous backup schedules. This effectively reduces your Recovery Point Objective to short time periodical CPS backups - worse case.