While the prospect of saving money by using a simple file- and folder-only backup application might be appealing, there are a number of issues—like hardware failure—that are likely to lead managed services providers (MSPs) to regret this decision. If an instance arises that requires a full system, bare-metal recovery, it is crucial that MSPs have the appropriate disaster recovery software at their disposal so they can recover quickly and minimize downtime.
A bare-metal restoration is a data recovery concept that involves restoring all data and underlying systems on a server or workstation that has failed. In this scenario, the operating system, applications, configurations, and data are all fully restored, without the need to reinstall or reconfigure the system state. Bare-metal recovery means when a disaster takes a device out of service, your team can skip the time-consuming process of reinstalling software, loading service packs, and resetting configurations before restoring data and returning users to work. Everything can be recovered in a matter of minutes.
Traditional disaster recovery solutions that are capable of quickly restoring your entire system to brand new hardware or to a virtual machine can be complex. File- and folder-level backup products, while simple, can take hours (or even days) to recover a full system. The ideal solution is a single product that offers both file- and folder-level recovery, but also offers fast, efficient bare-metal recovery capabilities for when you need it. Unifying these capabilities in one data protection platform gives you the best of both, simplifying the process of disaster and virtual recovery.
Why is bare-metal recovery relevant to your MSP?
1. Faster and more efficient
Disaster recovery best practice is to be ready for either bare-metal recovery or item-level restore. The most efficient method will depend on the type of problem you’re facing. If the operating system on your device is still running and only a few files are missing or corrupted, file-level restore will be the best approach. However, if hardware has failed or corruption has progressed to a point where the operating system isn’t running, you’ll need to perform a full-system recovery. This is where bare-metal restore will save you time vs. manually reinstalling everything.
2. Previous state rollback
In most cases, you’ll want to use your most recent backup for recovery to meet the best possible recovery point objective. However, there may be instances when you want to recover data from an earlier point in time. A well-designed backup product will allow you to view and select from many restore points, all the way back to years-old archived data.
If your backup product is dependent on incremental backup “chains,” however, recovery to an earlier point can take a long time, as each incremental backup must be applied and synthesized with a full backup. Even worse, this method is vulnerable to any break in the chain, making the entire thing unrecoverable.
A more efficient and reliable approach is to store data once, and only back up the bytes that have changed since the last backup. Rather than forming chain dependencies, a master directory can allow you to quickly recreate the data from any given point in time. This means it is equally easy to recover from yesterday’s backup as it is to recover from last year’s archive.
Because bare-metal recovery requires so little human intervention and manual work, it ensures the backup process can be almost entirely error-free. Bare-metal recovery can also be used to automate server migrations, saving you and your team even more time.
Choosing the right software
When your MSP is in the market for bare-metal recovery or DR software, consider SolarWinds® Backup. SolarWinds Backup is an all-in-one data protection option that covers backups for servers, workstations, documents, and Office 365. It also supports bare-metal recovery, helping you restore to new hardware or a VM in a matter of minutes.
SolarWinds Backup lets you run regular backups of system states, boot volumes, system data, and applications, so your business is prepared to tackle any disaster that comes your way. It facilitates rapid bare-metal recovery, automatically selecting the quickest recovery source from both cloud and local storage. One of the most notable benefits of SolarWinds Backup is that it simplifies bare-metal recovery, allowing you to perform bare-metal restores of applications, operating systems, and data with a single step by using a bootable USB drive.
The product is capable of performing bare-metal restores in times when you only have a partially functioning system. Moreover, when your physical servers are unavailable, you can recover your server as a Hyper-V or VMware virtual machine, either to a Hyper-V instance in the Azure cloud or to your own alternate location.
SolarWinds Backup does more than deliver advanced bare-metal recovery capabilities. Physical or virtual workstations and servers can be recovered directly to your Hyper-V or VMware environment, which significantly simplifies the recovery process.
Another major advantage of SolarWinds Backup is its archiving capability. The archives store your backups on a long-term basis, beyond variable retention periods. This includes secure storage, cross-platform support, centralized monitoring, granular data selection, compliance support, and completely unlimited archiving. With this tool’s security-focused storage approach, you can count on your data remaining secure and safe. SolarWinds Backup features more than 30 global and certified data centers so you can ensure regional data storage. Data is encrypted while at rest and in transit, with end-to-end AES 256-bit encryption.
Like all SolarWinds products, Backup features an intuitive dashboard that makes backup management efficient and easy. Learning to navigate the user interface takes no time at all, and the product’s key functionalities are easy to access and implement.
Overall, SolarWinds Backup is a highly versatile data protection solution that can satisfy all your recovery and backup requirements. It’s easy to use, features a dynamic dashboard, and centralizes your disaster recovery management. No special training is necessary, and ample support is available through the SolarWinds THWACK® community, in addition to support technicians who are available on a 24/7 basis. Take advantage of a 30-day free trial here.