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Z E N e w s - Issue 1: The Need for Backups


• Backup system and disaster recovery specialists

• Certified engineers with a wealth of experience and knowledge

• Fast and efficient on-site and remote support

• Reduced downtime and maintenance costs

• Service available when you need it

• Access to highly specialised technical skills




Zero Effort
Networking Pty Ltd

ABN 38 082 434 446

PO Box 6045
Blacktown NSW 2148

Phone: (02) 9676 3541
Fax: (02) 8569 2012


The Need for Backups

Imagine coming to work and finding that all your data was gone.

That's everything: e-mail, documents, spreadsheets, the accounts, quotes - everything.

What would you do if all of your staff were unable to work for days while you waited for the data to be recovered?

How would your business cope?

The cost in terms of lost productivity, or worse - lost reputation, could be substantial.

People tend to think of their computer systems; the tangible equipment, as being valuable. What they often don't realise is that it's actually the data inside that has the greatest value. Computer equipment can be replaced; the business data on the other hand is unique.

Data loss can happen at any time, some of the more common causes are:

bulletUser error – unintentional deletion of files is quite common

bulletFile corruption – due to an application ‘crashing' and not closing properly

bulletHardware failure – disk drives have a finite lifespan and will eventually fail

bulletVirus attacks – for the most part avoidable, a virus strike can cause data loss or corruption

bulletComputer theft – laptops are extremely vulnerable, but servers can be stolen too

bulletFire or other disaster

Backups provide insurance against data loss. A business that has good backups will always be able to recover lost files.

A backup system is not a guarantee that data loss will never occur; rather, backups offer insurance to mitigate the consequences of data loss.


The Problem

So given that Backups are something that most business people know that they should be doing every day, why is it then that Backups are often not performed on a regular basis?

In a nutshell because traditional backup systems are not easy to use.

Common issues are:

Media management

Many older Backup Systems rely on tapes or other removable media which need to be changed regularly, generally at least daily.

If there is no tape in the tape drive, then there is no backup.

If the wrong tape is inserted in the tape drive, then either (potentially vital) data is overwritten, or if overwrite protection is in place, again there is no backup.

Long weekends or holidays, often result in tape rotation and backup job schedules becoming “messed up”.

Moreover tapes need to be constantly rotated off-site, to ensure that in the event of a disaster (e.g. fire) there is a safe copy of the business' data.

In short, tape backup systems require an enormous amount of on-going monitoring and human intervention, the “ownership costs” are significant.


Up to 40GB tape backup systems are quite affordable. Beyond this level the cost of both the media and the tape drives sky-rocket .

Five years ago, a workgroup server would have a storage capacity of 40 – 80GB, however today the standard workstation or laptop will have at least 40GB of storage capacity.

With the rapid increase in disk drive storage capacity in the past few years, and the widespread adoption of e-mail coupled with the increasing trend towards electronic document storage, server storage capacities in the 300 - 400GB range and beyond are typical.

As a result users with tape backup systems are eventually faced with two choices:

bulletElect to backup a subset of their total data that is deemed to be "critical" so that the data selection will fit on a single tape; or

bulletContinue to back up all the data but change the tape part of the way through each backup (which then leads to media managment issues).


The Solution

The ideal backup system must be easy to use and should have the following features:

bulletOnce the backup system is setup, the operation should be completely automatic; the computer should do all the work.

bulletAutomatic media management; no tapes to change.

bulletAutomatic off-site copy of the data; no need to ensure that backup media is rotated off-site.

bulletSufficient capacity to backup today's servers, with the ability to increase storage capacity as needed

bulletEasy to understand reporting, so that you know at a glance if the Backup completed successfully, or if there was a problem.

bulletAffordable - the Backup System must be reasonably priced.

We have developed a Backup System that uses inexpensive commodity hardware components coupled with unique software to provide an affordable system that is completely automated.

If you would like to know more, click to read a case study about a complete Backup System which we have recently deployed for a 20 user site with Microsoft Exchange.

We also have smaller systems available, and as the design is modular we can also provide higher capacity configurations to meet individual requirements.