The 3-2-1 rule of data backup is just as it sounds. It recommends keeping three copies of your data – two are local, but on different devices, and one is offsite. For a company, that may mean one on an employee’s PC, one on the server at the employee’s location, and one at an offsite data center.
This rule has been accepted for a while as the way to make sure you’re covered if an outage – disaster, ransomware attack, employee error, etc. – occurs. So, “What’s wrong with having multiple copies of your data?”
It’s a great question, and one we discuss frequently with potential customers. There are two main things we focus on when answering it.
Keeping data in synch
Let’s look at a typical scenario; you have three copies of your data at two different sites – you’re following the 3-2-1 rule – one is an active site, one is passive. It’s frighteningly easy to get these copies out of synch. Site A may be further ahead in time than Site B due to a network link that’s down, or one of hundreds of other causes.
Then, let’s say you failover to Site B - now you’re definitely not at the same point in time, so you risk data loss and downtime. Beyond that, this traditional approach is complex, costly and unpredictable, and it still exposes the organization to data loss.
As if that’s not bad enough, many companies have more than 10 copies of each piece of data for backup and disaster recovery purposes. Each piece of data is replicated across multiple sites, which is costly, management-intensive and hard to scale.
This is a broken model and brings us to the second downside of 3-2-1.
The cost of data backup
There’s no denying storage costs have come down over the years, but data storage is still not cheap. Each time you make a durable copy of your data, you’re paying quite a bit for it. Making that many durable copies, in multiple locations, can be cost prohibitive.
The alternative to the 3-2-1 data backup rule
One of the great things about a hybrid cloud storage network is that you start with a single, durable copy of your data right off the bat. Today, the benefits of a single network that writes through to the cloud can deliver a recovery point objective (RPO) of 0 minutes.
And, when you have terabytes or petabytes of data, you probably only access a small percentage of it on a regular basis. At ClearSky, our patented Smart Tiered Caching ® technology automatically caches data across layers based on how frequently it’s accessed – ensuring flash performance for all hot and warm data.
By starting with that most durable copy, and caching your most needed data for rapid access, you can cut costs dramatically over what the 3-2-1 rule requires. So, stop making multiple copies of your data and don’t worry about the management that 3-2-1 requires.
To learn more about how to cut down your data storage complexity and cost, drop us a line.