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Data Compression for Backup and Recovery

Shopping for a data protection solution to help you optimize backup and recovery can be time-consuming… and confusing. After all, in order to find the “best fit,” you need to be certain that each individual element of the solution makes sense for your unique IT environment.

In an earlier post, we outlined specific considerations for organizations looking to get the down low on data deduplication. Here, we’ll focus on what they need to look for regarding data compression.

It’s best when data reduction (compression/deduplication) is done on the source system before data is sent over the LAN/WAN (rather than after network transfer with a dedupe appliance solution or backend compression/dedupe combo at the media server [aka vault]).  Look for an agent-based solution that deduplicates and compresses only the new and changed data blocks at the source, minimizing the data over the wire and improving the backup performance.

When you perform compression along with backend dedupe – after the data transfer – it will only help with backend storage footprint; it won’t help with bandwidth usage.  And employing a separate dedupe appliance may complicate day-to-day management if you ever need to restore.  Additionally, this type of solution requires an onsite appliance to work. While onsite data protection appliances provide many benefits they should not be a prerequisite for timely protection and recovery of data.

When you’re evaluating data compression of a backup system to see how it will impact your network, look for one that is:

  • Compatible with your production environment. Do you know how much data will be “pushed” across your network as part of the backup process? Be sure your network can effectively tolerate the new level of compressed data that’s being transmitted. In most cases, compression technology frees network bandwidth for other common network activities. But occasionally, compression can cause transmission bottlenecks because it creates more backup data than your production network can handle.
  • Adjustable. Some solutions maintain backup speed with little or no customer control. Would you rather have one that’s more tailored to your network? If so, look for data compression that can be customized to the specific needs of your operating environment.
  • Adaptable. Does your network have large amounts of bandwidth available for backup, or is it bandwidth-constrained? Does that bandwidth availability change during off-hours and peak production times?  The data protection solution you choose should include compression technology that adapts to the amount of available bandwidth in your particular IT environment.

Finding a data protection solution that best fits your needs doesn’t have to be difficult. Just proceed methodically. Ask questions. And be certain that each solution component agrees with your network parameters – and with your expectations. Contact us at Rustyice Solutions today to find out more.


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