Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Using Data Centers to Backup Mobile Devices?

Mobile devices play a significant role across the corporate landscape.  This development has forced many businesses to develop an effective data backup strategy for these devices.  Data centers are commonly used to store large amounts of data are facing several large barriers which make this process difficult.  Fortunately, multiple workable solutions exist which can be easily integrated into any data center’s current strategy.  Choosing the right solution requires a firm understanding of the unique problems mobile devices create.

Slower Connections

The biggest reason mobile data sets cannot be treated the same way as data already in a data center is slower connections.  A slow connection between a mobile device and the data center often causes problems with traditional backup software.  Current applications expect the fast connections found between servers in a data center.  With slower connections, the software either operates poorly or large amounts of data cannot be transferred.

Mobile Devices Are Not Always Connected to the Internet

Another challenge data centers must overcome is that the mobile device will not always be connected to the Internet.  Most people power down their mobile devices when they sleep or do not plan on using them in the near future.  This prevents data centers from using software which requires the backup to be performed at a specific time or at specific intervals.

Mobile Devices Can Be Used Too Much

One problem is that mobile devices are not always being used, but the opposite is an issue as well.  Some people leave applications on their mobile devices running 24 hours a day.  Most current backup software used in data centers cannot effectively handle open files if they are constantly changing.

Hardware Replacement Is Difficult

In a normal data center there is always a quick solution if a piece of hardware fails.  It is replaced by an already imaged drive.  Remote users are forced to have a WAN connection with a solid download speed and someone must be available at the data center to find a solution.  If a component must be replaced or swapped, an additional automatic recovery strategy will be required.

Possible Solutions

Backup Blocks of Data

The most popular way to overcome the bandwidth challenge created by mobile devices is by utilizing a block-level, incremental-forever backup technology.  This allows a data center to back up a mobile device over a slow connection because no data will be transferred more than once.  This requirement eliminates commonly used options such as full backups and traditional incremental backups because they require data centers to accept too much data per session to be efficient.

Complex De-Duplication System

There are several de-duplication strategies which have been shown to be effective for mobile devices.  They are target and source the duplication.  Target the duplication is designed to replace standard disk drives and tape in data centers because the data is sent to an appliance which de-dupes and stores only new data.  Source de-duplication is software which will de-dupe the data at the beginning of the backup process.

Continuous Backup

Some data centers are finding success backing up mobile devices by utilizing a continuous backup strategy.  This is also referred to as continuous data protection.  It is a replication process which incrementally transfers new blocks of data to the data center; however it also stores a log of changes so the system can be restored to any point in time.  It is also a block-level, incremental-forever technology.

It will be quite some time before there is a standard method used in data centers to back up mobile devices.  Mobile devices will continue to create problems which do not affect local devices; however flexible data centers have proven options do exist within the current infrastructure.

1 comment:

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