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Types of Backup Technology

Editorial Staff

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There are many different backup technologies available for backing up data on a network or computer system

Whether you run a large business or work from a home office, having an efficient data backup service is essential. Of course, data backup is not one size fits all, as there are different types of backup methods. The three main schools of thought in terms of data backup are system imaging, incremental backup, and continuous backup. All of these formats function in a slightly different method, and each is suitable for different companies, depending on the line of work.

Companies providing data recovery services recommend these technologies for the best possible outcome.

System Imaging

System imaging, also known as a full system backup, is essentially a snapshot of all the information on your network. It makes a visual copy of every single file and folder stored on the company’s network or direct-attached, network-attached storage or storage area network. This allows you to make an exact copy of your system, should the network ever crash. Depending on the service you are using, system imaging either takes place at designated times (you can set this time to occur at night, so individuals are not using the computer or network at the time) or only when you instruct the network to. Most computer operating systems already have this feature installed, so you don’t need additional programming.

Incremental Backup

Incremental is one of the different types of backup methods. It is basically the most primitive form of backing up files, although it still functions in a suitable manner. Upon deciding to backup network data on a DAS, NAS or SAN system, the only files backed up are those that have changed or been altered since the previous backup session. This saves on the required additional storage space necessary for backing up files. Because this method of backing up is an older option, it is available on older formats of data storage, including Zip and tape drives. This method is most beneficial for a network that do not process a great deal of data at one time, and run programs that do not use a considerable amount of RAM. The more RAM and processing power a program requires, the more likely it is to crash, requiring a data backup.

Continuous Backup

Continuous backup options are the optimal backup solution for computers that process, render and edit a large number of files on a continual basis. With continuous backup, a network server is constantly backing up each file that is edited, whenever a change occurs. This ensures every file that has changed is backed up, so you don’t lose any file information if the system or network crashes. The new Mac OSX Lion operating system functions in this way, so you never lose the work you created. Additionally, it is possible to program a network drive or stand-alone hard drive to perform continuous backup. There is a drawback to the continuous backup method though. Because the network hard drive is constantly adapting and saving, it does run a large amount of energy, as the network drive never falls back into standby mode. For individual computer systems (such as a Mac with the new OS), this power adjustment is not large, but for large network servers, backing multiple computer systems at the same time, the increase in power consumption is noticeable. If a computer is not constantly adjusting and creating new files, it is recommended to opt for a different backup option, as those alternatives do not consume as much electricity.

Having a reliable data backup service is extremely valuable for a business or home office. Regardless of the work you perform, there are multiple types of backup methods available to you, each with its own pros and cons.

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