A Backup and Disaster Recovery Server (BDR) is a virtualized server where you keep a copy of your main server, including all of your essential data so that in case of a hardware failure, you are fully backed up and ready to restore operations. A smart backup and disaster recovery plan can ensure that business continuity is not impacted by unexpected events such as network failures or natural disasters.

How does BDR work for today’s businesses?

A BDR server is a virtual server that has a direct connection to your main server. It usually takes a snapshot of your whole server on a regular basis, as often as 15 minutes apart in some situations. The system will then send this snapshot, and all the data on your server to another location, often on the cloud, so that you have a copy of your data accessible at all times, even if your hardware fails.

What are the alternatives to BDR?

Traditionally, companies would back up their data physically, onto hard drives or hard disks. This was done manually, and took a lot of time and effort. The copies were made slowly, and someone had to be responsible for remembering to backup the data at a regular cadence. No one was managing this every 15 minutes! In fact, this couldn’t practically be managed more than once a day, so if a critical failure happened at the end of a day, before backups could be made – it would be a normal occurrence for a whole day’s data to be lost.

On top of this, the recovery period for manual backup was very slow, and could often take multiple days of downtime before the data was restored and files could be accessed easily.

Cloud backup systems have dramatically improved the way that companies can backup and restore their data. First of all, data backup became an automated task that can happen behind the scenes. Second of all, it has become much faster to restore your data, although it could still take around two days.

The advantages of using a BDR server

The technology of a BDR server allows for almost instantaneous access to your data, with a virtualized copy of your main business server kept inside the BDR server. This means that in case of a disaster, you’re only a matter of hours away from running your environment. As the snapshot updates every 15 minutes, you will never lose more than a few minutes of data at worst, rather than relying on the previous backup which could be hours or days previously. There are a few reasons you might need a BDR server’s data, including:

Limiting the impact of a ransomware attack

With a BDR server, you have a clean copy of your data to hand, with very minimal gaps. This allows you to ensure business continuity without the need to pay a steep ransom or negotiate with terrorists.

Recovery from hardware failure

No matter how robust your technology, all hardware fails sometimes. Instead of waiting days to restore systems, a BDR server allows you to recover in hours.

Preventing data loss

Customers rely on you to protect their sensitive data, and your business relies on that data to continue their work as usual. A BDR server is the smartest route to keeping all of that data secure and protected.

Do businesses need to own a BDR server in-house?

Like most of today’s technology-related needs, the decision-making process comes down to the age-old question of Build vs Buy. Should customers build their own BDR server on-premises, or should they outsource BDR server responsibilities to an MSP?

As an MSP, a BDR server should be part of the standard offering, ensuring strong and robust incident response can occur in case of a hardware failure, a natural disaster or a cyberattack. This reduces the cost for the customer of maintaining the BDR server and also of recovering the data and fixing the hardware in case of an event. You can also explain to your colleagues or your customers that they might not have the physical space required to keep the equipment needed for a BDR server on-site. If you work in corporate IT, you will probably also be looking for a third-party vendor to provide this essential task.

Another benefit to outsourcing BDR responsibilities is that the backup processes won’t rely on the customers broadband availability. Backups are resource-intensive, and customers may experience a system slowdown while they are getting their data up and running again. In contrast, if you outsource BDR server maintenance and delivery, you will usually get a better level of service and availability.

Added benefits of backup disaster and recovery servers

If you’re an MSP or working in corporate IT, and you’re looking to provide your users with smart and robust BDR server solutions, shop around. They are not all created equally!

For example, AWS offers integration with smart Machine Learning and Big Data tools, so that data can be analyzed for insights and business intelligence, rather than just held dormant until it’s needed for recovery purposes. You might also want a BDR server that works according to your specific internal governance and SLA requirements, ensuring that you can keep to tight needs for recovery time objectives or backup windows.

Whichever option you choose, always consider your backup strategy in terms of recovery. While a backup strategy might ensure that all of your data is secure and there is a copy available if a disaster occurs – does it get the business back up and running quickly enough? A day or more of downtime is not manageable for most companies in today’s fast-paced environment, so it’s essential that as the IT team – you have a plan in place to limit the impact of a server failure. BDR could be the answer you’ve been looking for.

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