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Windows 7 backup solutions for businesses: Evaluation guidelines

 Windows 7 came to Microsoft’s rescue as a fast and stable operating system (OS) after the failure of Windows Vista. Today, Windows 7 has been accepted by enterprises and organizations as the most stable Microsoft OS yet. And it has gained the confidence of PC users to a great extent. The backup of the user data residing on laptops/PCs is equally important as the backup of other types of data. As a result, organizations are now looking at

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Windows 7 backup solution from a business standpoint.


The following aspects should be considered while evaluating Windows 7 backup solutions for an enterprise:

  • The solution should perform data deduplication while performing Windows 7 backups. This will help data center administrators save on storage costs. Choose a solution that does source- as well as target-based deduplication. For example, there can be a file named ABC on a user laptop A in an organization and the same file with name DEF on a user laptop B. The Windows 7 backup solution should be intelligent enough to back up the file only once across the enterprise. So if 100 users have the same file, you can imagine the storage savings with the use of Windows 7 backup solution that does both source-based as well as target-based deduplication.
    Since most of an individual’s important information resides in Outlook emails or Lotus emails, the backup solution should be intelligent enough to backup the .psf or .nsf  files, and deduplicate those. For example, a user sends a one MB point presentation to 10 users and each one of them sends the file to 10 more users, it means the same file is with 111 users (that is, 111 MB). However, if the Windows 7 backup solution is intelligent enough to deduplicate the email files, then Windows 7 will backup the file only once and make the pointers for the others (which translate to backup storage usage of 1 MB instead of 111MB).
  • Another major consideration for the Windows 7 backup solution should be host CPU usage. You should zero in on the Windows 7 backup solution after ensuring that it is least resource-hungry and does not affect the user’s business (as well as usual work) while backups run. This can be tested by demanding a proof-of-concept from the vendor.
  • The Windows 7 backup solution should support backups over the WAN as critical users are traveling most of the times. So it’s most important that their data is backed up successfully while they are on the move. Also, if someone loses the laptop, he should be able to recover the data on the move by logging into dedicated backup accounts created for each user and recovering individual files from the Windows 7 backup.
    The Windows 7 backup solution should support encryption, as the data will travel across the WAN. So it is critical that the data is encrypted while in transmission to prevent unauthorized access to data.
  • Once you are done with evaluation, it’s time for deployment of the Windows 7 backup solution and its associated policies. Define policies about the file types that you need to backup—there will be lot of data that is not critical for the enterprise and that file type varies across departments. For example, in the marketing department .jpg and .mp3 files of official nature may need to be backed up, but this is not critical for the operations department. So chalk out different policies for different departments and then apply rules as per the criticality of data to be backed up. This will help you save a lot on the storage front. You can also enforce data threshold for users. For example, only a certain amount of data can be backed up, let’s say 10 GB or so.
    All these factors need to be considered while deciding upon the backup strategy for Windows 7 backup solutions. Most importantly, you should keep in mind that an effective backup strategy is as important as the use of an intelligent Windows 7 backup solution.

About the author: Anuj Sharma is an EMC Certified and NetApp accredited professional. Sharma works for an EMC Velocity Partner, and in his current role handles implementation projects related to SAN, NAS and BURA. One of his articles was published globally by EMC, and titled the Best of EMC Networker during last year’s EMC World held at Orlando, US.

 

 

This was first published in September 2010

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