3-2-1 Backup Best Practices

Learn about best practices in the 3-2-1 backup strategy.

Table of Contents:

The following are key considerations for implementing a 3-2-1 backup strategy, as well as for enterprise-level backup in general:

  • Reliability: One obvious concern for backup is the reliability of the solution. Hard drive reliability is closely related to temperature. By operational design, the ambient temperature is 86°F. Temperatures above 122°F or below 41°F can decrease reliability. Directed airflow up to 150 linear feet per minute is recommended for high-speed drives.
  • Ease of Use: Data backup should be simple, secure, and efficient. Enterprise IT personnel should be able to use their choice of backup hardware and software solutions as part of their 3-2-1 backup strategy, using on-premises devices, cloud backup, or both. When weighing hardware vendor options, users should consider those who collaborate with leading enterprise backup independent software vendors to test and qualify enterprise storage systems and cloud storage.
  • Security: Security should be embedded into your selected backup hardware vendor’s life cycle, helping to ensure protection from attackers at every stage—from the conceptual phase of design to final retirement or reuse.
  • Cost and Capacity: Backups can be a big resource draw for enterprises, which constantly weigh the benefits of expanded data capacity with total cost of ownership. Some backup solution vendors have created managed migration services, which can provide an easy, streamlined solution for migrating large backup data sets from diverse physical storage infrastructures that are consolidated in a private data center, hybrid, or public cloud storage. Using such services, businesses can streamline and consolidate complex backups and lower related costs. Data can be migrated—optionally with vendor expert assistance—from any type of storage technology to S3 cloud storage or a backup cloud. Assistance can also be provided with data repatriation to an on-premises data center.
  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO): As part of developing an organization’s backup rule (adhering to 3-2-1 or otherwise), administrators often refer to established requirements known as RPO and RTO.
    • RPO: A recovery point objective defines the point to which the data must be recovered. Sometimes this is conceptualized as the amount of acceptable data loss in terms of time (i.e., a day, an hour, a minute, or close to none).
    • RRTO: The recovery time objective defines the maximum amount of time it should take to perform a recovery to the point in time that is defined by the recovery point objective.

Both the frequency and type will affect the overall storage requirements for backup.

  • On-Premises vs. Cloud Backup Targets: Deciding exclusively between on-premises and cloud-based backup as part of a 3-2-1 backup strategy might not be necessary, as the two can often be complementary. Understanding this possibility, backup storage solution vendors provide multiple integrated choices.
    • Some services-based solutions include:
      • S3-integrated storage as a service for multicloud environments, available at the metro edge
      • Fully managed data migration services for any media type
      • Secure, seamless mass data transfer between edge and cloud locations
    • Some hardware-based solutions include:
      • RAID-based
      • JBOD-based
      • Mass data storage at the edge with fast transfer rate
      • Seamless, affordable data transport for emerging edge environments
    • Data Integrity Protection: An alternative has emerged that exceeds more traditional RAID data protection schemes. Traditional RAID solutions rebuild a failed drive onto a single contained spare drive, which can take over 50 hours depending on related factors. Newer, next-generation erasure encoding solutions function similarly to RAID but disperse the failed drive’s contents throughout multiple drives. This enables the RAID controllers to take advantage of combined drive performance versus being tied to a single drive. [Note: In this scenario, all drives in the disk group must be the same type and in the same tier, but can have different capacities.]

With the assistance of a trusted data storage solutions provider, enterprise customers devising or revising a 3-2-1 backup strategy—or any data backup plan—can follow these suggestions to ensure success, including the best value per petabyte, leading capacity, and proven reliability.