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A Primer on Data Backup for Small- to Medium-Sized Companies (Video) 76

Posted by Roblimo
from the prepare-for-the-worst-days-and-the-best-days-will-take-care-of-themselves dept.
This is a conversation with Jeff Whitehead and Lou Montulli, respectively Vice President of Technical Operations/CTO and Chief Scientist for, a company that specializes in online backup and disaster recovery service. Also, while this interview was arranged without his help, in the interest of full disclosure we'd like to tell you that Zetta's CEO is Ali Jenab, who used to be CEO of Slashdot's parent company. But this discussion isn't about Ali or, but about data backup, and what methods are best and most cost-effective for companies ranging from home-based businesses up to enterprise operations with thousands of employees. Among other things, we discussed the importance of multiple-site storage for important data, a factor that was drilled in to us yesterday by an article titled Another Iron Mountain Fire Points Up Shortcomings of Physical Storage by long-time tech journalist Sharon Fisher. And never forget: You don't know how effective your backup and data storage arrangements are until you try to retrieve your data -- and if you don't try to retrieve data until you need it, and things don't work, you are in big trouble. (Don't see the video? Here's a link.)

Robin Miller:
I am Robin Miller for Slashdot. And looking at Lou and Jeff and the titling tells you more about them. They work for a company called Zetta. And we’re talking about, what you do when you backup and how should you backup and the difference between archiving and smart backups for things you need right away. So let’s start with Lou. Lou, just give us some idea of what different sized businesses you might think about as far as backup for instance?

Lou Montulli:So we generally look at in three different size business segments. We got the very small SOHO businesses, might be a drycleaner, anywhere up to several tens of people who don’t have that much data. And you’ve got some medium size folks who might have between 2 and 50 terabytes of data and range anywhere from as small as 10 people up to a few hundred people. And then you have kind of the large enterprise folks which are hundreds of terabytes in general and range from hundreds of people up to tens of thousands of people.

And the needs for each of these companies is usually defined by how much data that they have, because when you have more data, the kinds of problems that you have dealing with the data size and how to offsite it are different. In very small companies, there are lots of tools available, anywhere from just: buy a USB drive, take it home with you up to very small tape systems. The medium size business is what we tend to address which is the 2 to 50 terabyte range and we feel that’s a perfect size to employ Internet based backup.

It’s small enough that it can travel over the wire efficiently and it’s big enough that it’s really important data, not that any data isn’t important but it’s big enough that the problems of backing it up are actually reasonably substantial. So you want a real company that understands enterprise IT helping you do it. And the other segment which we don’t address, which is the very large enterprise tends to deal with multiple datacenters, have massive robotic tape libraries and/or massive on-disk backup and other highly complex systems.

Robin Miller:Okay. Jeff, so you just realized with your small but growing business that you have to do some data backup or else, I live in Florida and we haven’t had a hurricane hit us for a while but one could any time, so what should I do with my small but growing business as far as data backup?

Jeff Whitehead:Basically what you are describing is a geographic risk that’s specific to Florida and so what you would like to do is make sure that your data is offsite. So that if a disaster occurs in one location, it’s very unlikely to happen in another location, like fires can happen anywhere but it’s very unlikely that two or perhaps three depending on how many times you make copies of your data based on the sensitivity or burn down all on the same day, that’s just not going to happen.

Robin Miller:What about the difference between data you need now and archive data? Lou, what about the difference, do we store them differently?

Lou Montulli:Well, that’s a great question. I would say that all data is important and you never want to lose any of your data. Obviously if you put it in the archive, there is a reason why you’re keeping it. So it’s not really a case where you’d say I want to increase my risk or archive data, but generally what you want to do is say, I am willing to take a penalty in terms of access speed in order to gain a better price in your archived data.

So you can look at different types of media or different types of lower performance spinning disk to gain advantages and price on archived data. But I definitely don’t recommend that people ever take a chance in terms of data integrity on any of their data. That should never be something you sacrifice.

Jeff Whitehead:I think there really is two different kinds of archive data. One is where you have the data and could possibly reconstruct it, say off of a tape drive, or off of disk for computers that are sort of spread out or data that’s been crypt down and you could re-crypt that in some way and archived data where you transfer it of some place because that was the only copy of data and it’s got to be really protected and stay there forever.

Robin Miller:Okay, yeah, I was thinking actually in terms of____4:54. I haven’t had an active business for some years, but my wife sold art, and we still have credit card receipts which were supposed to hold for seven years, and we have bank safe deposits. That’s all you need I think for a small business. What’s the next stage in the electronic stage beyond that?

Lou Montulli:Well, lot of people are scanning them now and putting them into some sort of either database or just putting them on a file system, you are off-siting them somewhere and the type of data you’re talking about is actually really important to be able to get to that data and find it and search it because it becomes a needle-in-the-haystack problem, but the most important thing is that you have at least one or more copies of it somewhere and being able to get to it when you need to.

Robin Miller:Okay. So how do we search for it?

Lou Montulli:Well, searching is a complicated thing. It’s very much dependent on – it’s a good question for Google. It very much depends on the media type, right, obviously it’s very difficult to searching photos, but it’s really easy to search within a text document. So I think it’s very much depends on your particular application type and that you make a decision based on the type of data.

Robin Miller:So we get up into terabytes, yottabytes, and zettabytes, so how do we search that?

Jeff Whitehead:It’s tricky, I think that in many cases, it’s sort of an old tradition of the data I’m looking for was on Server 23 and it was on the C-drive/My Documents, and people kind of have a recollection of that. If you’re a very small business, it’s often fairly simple, you know that your credit card receipts were in a given folder and go and look in that place. If you’ve got a very large data set that all looks the same, then you really need some sort of specialized application that will give you an index and someway of searching those things, like a great example for photos is the Picasas of the world or the Windows’ thumbnails, so you have a way of looking through those things.

Robin Miller:What else should I know that I don’t know?

Jeff Whitehead:Not all backups are of the same quality. I like to tell people a backup isn’t a backup until you have restored it. So, I personally have run into tapes that I thought were good and have then corrupted or trying to restore a system that relied on a particular type of a RAID card being in the system____7:29after you restored it. So really you need to think about what could happen for my data. If it’s a Word document, there’s not a whole lot of risk there. You can get versions of Word that go way back and open that up. If it’s an application, there is the whole – all the pieces of the applications stack you need to protect so you can restore and reinstall.

Lou Montulli:I had a few items as well. I think especially in the world of Internet-based backups, there are specific problems related to going over the Internet that are not there if you’re backing over the LAN within your enterprise. And they get harder and harder as the data sizes get bigger. One of them is just the reliability and security of the internet, so making sure that you choose a vendor that is well versed in security and is always using encryption technologies to make sure that the un-trusted WAN connections are always encrypted.

The other one is the ability to get large amounts of data over the Internet. It’s still a very difficult process especially when dealing with terabytes and petabytes. It’s a particular question that we focused a lot of our time on it and how to make high bandwidth connections really efficient for very large file transfers. And then one other item is not transferring all your data all the time, so in LAN-based backups, it’s common to take full copies of your server everyday or at least every week and maybe do incrementals in between.

If you’re doing full copies of your entire dataset over the Internet, you’d quickly find that you need massive amounts of bandwidth. So, having an “Incremental forever” technology is really, really important and then the reverse of that if you are “Incremental forever”, how long will your restores takes. So we always recommend “Incremental forever” with reverse incremental technology, so you also have full backups available for restores and quick restores.

Part of any good data integrity strategy and disaster coverage strategy is one, getting your data off-site, get it out of your enterprise, and two, making sure it’s far enough away from where you are looking and so that any particular regional disaster zone is not going to affect all of your copies of data.

Initially if you really want full data protection such that you can sleep at night and never have to worry about data losses, we recommend that customers not just make one off-site copy, but make multiple off-site copies, either across the country or in very different regional zones. And of course each of those copies ought to have fantastic data protection such that you’re not worried about standard failures like single disk failures or network failures or other things like that causing the entire copy to get corrupted because if you go down to a single copy, then you are again not sleeping great at night.

So the entire chain ought to be you are getting your data backed up least every day if not more common than that, it’s off-site, it’s in multiple locations and it’s with data provider that’s providing absolutely top-tier data protection and data integrity along with all the other security and ease-of-use concerns that go along with it, because we could talk about an entirely other subject which is backups have been notoriously difficult to keep running on a regular basis.

Robin Miller:Lets

Lou Montulli:Jeff, you want to take that one or you want me to

Jeff Whitehead:Sure. Backup reliability is another case where different solutions have wildly different performance characteristics. And for a lot of IT administrators, backups is a job they really just don’t like, they get up in the morning, they look at their backup status, and there is 70 exceptions they got to run down and meanwhile the pager starts going off and the printer won’t print and the CEO needs his new laptop, and so backups tend to be sort of at the bottom of the pile because they’re important, but they’re not pressing in the same way as a customer darkening your doorway and needing some help or a solution right now.

So really it is important and it’s tricky to get this data ahead of time because everyone says, yes, our backups are great, never having issues, but it’s really important to talk to the user communities of an existing product and find out what is your daily life driving this backup solution like. And it’s got to be like-for-like in terms of hardware and software and the whole solution because what may work for someone that’s got a very high-end data center and a high performance storage or a network may not work for someone with a windows, small business server, it’s got a entirely different set of characteristics with it.

Robin Miller:Okay, let me give you the word, Lou with question mark after it, cloud?

Lou Montulli:Cloud, I love the cloud. The cloud has the potential to make everyone’s job easier, and make things cheaper and better, now that’s potential, not every cloud provider actually delivers. The potential there is that you can have a complete end-to-end service that actually makes your life as an IT administrator actually easier, because they are either single vendor or multiple vendor integrated solutions that solve one thing very well, they have a support staff behind them and ideally they work virtually all the time without any problem, and when you do have a problem you have one number to call, and they can solve it because they’re an end-to-end service. So it’s like having the world’s best expert hired on to your team just managing your particular system. And that’s what you should look for in a cloud vendor is, the absolute best in that particular space specialized to do what you want it to do and when that works, and always try it before you buy it.

Robin Miller:What about backing up your cloud, or is it inherently backed up?

Lou Montulli:That depends on your cloud vendor. So many vendors provide their own backup solution, whether it be____13:32specialized within their own type of cloud or they layer on another kind of backup product. Now some customers do choose to not trust in a single vendor and layer on an additional layer and back it up to another cloud or bring it back into their enterprise, that’s kind of a popular thing to do and say, hey, I’m going to trust this cloud vendor to do this one thing for me, but I also always want to have a copy within my enterprise if anything happens to that vendor or if I just want to move my data out of____14:04different vendors, so having it within your own enterprise can be useful.

Jeff Whitehead:I think there is a distinction between the application as a service vendors like the Salesforces, Office 365s, the Google Apps of the world, people tend to not want to back those up, infrastructure of the service like Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure, the Rackspace offerings, I think that those you need to backup and I’d also go out on a limb and say that I think that while the application-as-a-service providers are a new and better thing and have made IT easier and better for everyone, the infrastructure-as-a-service guys are a little bit newer and I think they’re not quite to where straight hosting was or is today. And so it’s really hosting with dynamic characteristics that are bolted on to it, but you still have to do all the things you do a traditional hosting, which includes____15:00taking your own backups hopefully through different providers.

Robin Miller:I have learned personally, I won’t say the hard way, but I do know that even when you are using a “cloud service provider,” you should have some backups, there is one, I will not use their name, it starts with G, ‘Giggle’ or something and last week I was conducting an interview just like this on their hangout service and it stopped, now since it’s hangout service that meant that some of my information for writing a story on Google Drive was not accessible to me, I’m just one little freelance writer in Florida cursing them. How many millions of people were shut-off, so yes I had on a USB hard drive, I had a copy of the story I was working on. So, should we not even with Cloud have a backup from our stuff on Salesforce or whatever?

Jeff Whitehead:Well, I think that’s a good example and with a – again it depends on the application. With a Word document or an article you’re writing, you can open it in some kind of editor. If you did have a backup of Salesforce, I’d sort of question what would you do with it, do you have a way of standing up your own Salesforce stack? I think most people don’t.

Robin Miller:So basically, if I use the application service provider, I’m placing full faith and trust in them?

Jeff Whitehead:That’s true.

Robin Miller:That’s a good thing to talk about another time, right now that’s I think enough food for thought, do you have anything you’d like throw in here, Lou?

Lou Montulli:Yes I do. One more topic would be to appliance or not to appliance?

Robin Miller:Okay.

Lou Montulli:We find some customers having in their mind that they want an appliance and a lot of customers come to the door saying I don’t want any appliance and it’s an interesting question. And often it comes down to pure functionality. If you had the choice and you could do the same thing with or without an appliance, I think most of us would choose not to buy the appliance because if the functionality is the same, why would you want to manage yet another server in your infrastructure and why would you pay for that hardware if you don’t have to. There are a few cases where an appliance makes life easier, but it’s great if you can have a service infrastructure provider who can do it all entirely in software. It just makes the process of upgrading easier, it makes the process of handling multiple office deployments a lot easier and it removes one more device from your data centers.

Robin Miller:You guys, could you provide an appliance if I wanted?

Lou Montulli:We could provide an appliance like experience, but we don’t sell any appliances, so we have a full software stack and if you want to run something that looks like an appliance, like a backup appliance and export your data to that appliance, then we work quite well in that environment, but we don’t require nor do we sell any specific hardware that is labeled as an appliance.

Robin Miller:Could we not in fact get a generic server and then get a plaque that says appliance and put it on the front?

Lou Montulli:Exactly, which is exactly what a lot of folks do is, they are buying a generic server and throwing their software in it and then marking it up 5x and selling it to you. We consider ourselves more of a pure software play in our service infrastructure and we find the convenience there is tremendous and we can bring customers on the same day. We don’t have to wait for an appliance to be delivered and installed.

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A Primer on Data Backup for Small- to Medium-Sized Companies (Video)

Comments Filter:
  • used SDLT for years with almost no problems
    used disk to disk backup for a year as well. very nice except the PHB gets a heart attack every time you ask for more disk. at least for database backups
    been on LTO-4 for 4 years. tapes are cheap. its fairly fast. and haven't had any problems with data corruption or tapes breaking

    looking at LTO-6 but the tapes are still fairly expensive

    • used SDLT for years with almost no problems
      used disk to disk backup for a year as well. very nice except the PHB gets a heart attack every time you ask for more disk. at least for database backups
      been on LTO-4 for 4 years. tapes are cheap. its fairly fast. and haven't had any problems with data corruption or tapes breaking

      looking at LTO-6 but the tapes are still fairly expensive

      Hey, now, don't go mucking up a perfectly good Slashvertisement by pointing out how unnecessary the product being slashvertized might be!

    • by mlts (1038732)

      LTO-4 is the minimum I'd probably go with these days, because it is the first generation to have hardware based AES encryption via SCSI SPIN/SPOUT commands. Most sane backup software (NetBackup for example) can use this, so to protect media, one just makes a password, makes sure the CTO and CIO not just know it, but have it stashed in a folder somewhere, and then maybe change it once a year (leaving the older passwords in the silo's memory for easy reading of older tapes.)

      PHBs love the concept of deduplica

      • by alen (225700)

        LTO-4 i'm buying for like $30 a tape these days and have some tapes hold 4TB or more of data

        disk is good and fairly cheap but you need a server and/or JBOD to hold that disk which adds to the cost. and then you need a second DR server and another license for your backup software, etc.

        had to take a lot of shit pushing LTO instead of D2D a few years back, but now i'm not the one having to justify $200,000 disk purchases to the CIO and my tape purchases are a blip on the budget

        • by mlts (1038732)

          To me, it is simple: A LTO-4 tape native capacity is 800GB, each tape $30. That's $375 for 10 terabytes. If I wanted to move to LTO-6, that's $75-$80 a tape, so that's $320 for 10 terabytes uncompressed for four tapes.

          Ten TB of VNX space or Avamar space is going to cost you seven digits minimum, probably eight once EMC is done making you pay for all the options. Yes, there is "magic" with deduplication, but even that will fill up shortly.

          To boot, unlike Avamar or disk storage, the energy cost of having

          • by alen (225700)

            LTo-4 is 800gb uncompressed and 1.6TB compressed, but i have LTO-4 tapes with 5TB
            asked about it years ago and people with more experience said that its normal for some tapes to hold a lot more than what they are rated for. most of my tapes are closer to 2TB of data

            compared to disk where the sales people quote raw unformatted numbers with no RAID and no server and no nothing

            • by Grishnakh (216268)

              Um, unless I'm missing something, a tape is only going to be able to store its native capacity, and that's it. It's not like they're accidentally going to put twice as much footage in there on some of them. If the native capacity is 800GB, that's it.

              If you're storing up to 5TB on a tape, that surely must be because the you're availing yourself of the compression feature (rather than storing pre-compressed data), and some of your data is highly compressible. This isn't usual; different data is differently

              • The drives apply compression that achieves 2:1 on a Reference data sample []. Considering that the tapes are usually NOT backing up video / audio / binaries (user data is usually more important than executable content), such compression rates are commonly seen in real-world scenarios.

                This isn't usual; different data is differently compressible. I

                This is true, but it IS usual. LTO compression also selectively applies compression; it will not attempt to compress JPEGs. Luckily JPEGs dont tend to get backed up.

                • by Grishnakh (216268)

                  Luckily JPEGs dont tend to get backed up.

                  I guess that depends on what kind of business you're running....

                  • Anyone whose business depends on images is almost certainly not backing up lossily compressed data. PNG, maybe.

                    • by Grishnakh (216268)

                      Anyone whose business depends on images is almost certainly not backing up lossily compressed data. PNG, maybe.

                      Porn sites don't distribute their images in PNG form.

                    • 90 to 1 they dont store their backups as jpegs. The licensed originals are stored by someone, and they surely are not using lossy compression.

                    • by Grishnakh (216268)

                      They distribute them solely as JPGs; if they some massive drive crash, why on earth would they want to regenerate all that data from the lossless originals, rather than just getting a copy of the website back online immediately using the data they normally distribute?

              • by dave562 (969951)

                I agree and until I see proof, I am calling BS. I have been working with tape backups since the mid-1990s and at best you usually get 1.5 to (maybe) 2 times compression. On LTO-4 that works out to about 1200GB per tape. It is rare to see the a tape achieve the full, vendor stated compressed figure in real world environments.

                • by 1s44c (552956)

                  How about a backup of an email store where the data is almost entirely text?

                  • by dave562 (969951)

                    Depends on the email application. In Exchange, the email is kept in a database and includes things like attachments, indexes, etc.

              • by scsirob (246572)

                You are definitely missing something. Tape drives have built-in hardware compression since the mid-nineties. See for example: []
                The EXB-8500C had hardware compression in 1992 or so.

            • by 1s44c (552956)

              What the hell are you talking about? The variations in storage capacity are a product of how compressible your data is.

          • by dave562 (969951)

            Tape is good until you have SLAs that need to be met. Often times you cannot meet the kind of SLAs that SaaS customers expect with a tape library.

            Where I work we use tape for long term cold archival storage, and Avamar or Netbackup to Data Domain. The Data Domains are then duplicated to a mirror site. We currently have 28 day retention of nearly 4PB of data. EMC loves us.

        • by swb (14022)

          I think you need both.

          Disk is a lot less headache for short-to-medium term backups and most decent backup software does enough dedupe, compression and intelligent incrementals that you can keep weeks or even a month or more of backups online for easy retrieval. Plus disk for backup is one of those places where you can get away with "good enough" cheap SAN-ish storage and not pay the freight for high-dollar SAN.

          Tape makes it easy and reliable to get it off site or if you need more retention than you can aff

          • Disk is "easier" until you start having to juggle more and more data, and want longer retetntion periods, and realize what a PITA it is to have to have all of your storage online at once. Then you realize what a liability it is to have your backups always online to begin with (malicious users, surges, EMF pulses from lightning strikes, someone drops the server), and all of a sudden tape sounds really really good. Need more retention? Buy another pallet of tapes at under $20/TB. Server room went up in fl

            • by swb (14022)

              Storage capacity is the easy part. You can get a perfectly serviceable 24TB of RAID-10 with dual 10G ethernet in a single 3U rackmount for $10k or less. You could always restripe to RAID 5 if your speed demands aren't great and have 40TB of storage. With dedupe and smart incrementals that could represent months of 5 TB production storage.

              I think the bigger headache is tape writes. If you have repository sizes you want to dump that exceed LTO-6 capacity you have to decide if you want to deal with a chan

              • I can get 150TB of LTO5 storage (native capacity) with 2:1 compression and built in AES for $2000, and an 8-bay tape library for another $3k. I dont have to worry about array rebuilds, power, disk crashes, power surges, or uptime.\

                You could always restripe to RAID 5

                Please tell me you arent in charge of anyone's backup. You're suggesting a whitebox build with software RAID 5 with consumer SATA hardware (has to be at those prices)-- did i mention RAID 5 on 12 drives? You might as well go RAID 0 for all the redunancy youve bought yourself.

                • Edit: Im actually calling complete BS on your statement. You can do it with consumer drives, maybe, but at 2TB / drive youre probably hitting $4500 in storage alone, plus $2000 for a card that can drive 20 disks, plus dual massive 700w+ PSUs, plus ~$1000+ to hold your storage array online long enough to shut down, and $1000 in 10gigE cards. That doesnt include RAM, motherboard, processor, chassis, and backplane for all of those disks.

                  You might hit that mark with bottom of the barrel SATA drives rather t

        • I find that the cost of auxiliary equipment, servers, is far LESS for spindles. I just bought a 16 bay SAS jbod for $350. That's up to 64TB raw. A tape library would have cost $3,500.

          Sure you CAN have a human switch tapes, just as you can have a human hotswap drives from any old server you want to use for backup storage. At least at the level of about 80 TBs, spindles are a lot less expensive as well as more convenient.

          If you already have humans sitting around the datacenter who have nothing better to th

          • " I just bought a 16 bay SAS jbod for $350. That's up to 64TB raw."
            1. With disks? Did you get that used on eBay? That seems really cheap to me.
            2. Are you suggesting JBOD as a means of backup?

            • It's one of the SGI units. Used, they sell for half that, so I misspoke. The storage SERVERS, with motherboard and processor, are $350. So for $700 you can get the backup controller server with 16 bays plus two more 16 bay jbods to daisy chain to it. Not bad for backup. That's not what I'd use for my main enterprise storage SAN, but for backup yeah it works real well.

              That is without the disks themselves, of course. Starting with four or six 3TB drives in RAID 10, you get 150-200 MB/s actual for several

              • I meant to say, something like that, a SuperMicro chassis with SAS expander backplane, does of course cost a lot more if you don't buy on eBay. A new one from Provantage is around $700 or so. Still, compared to a $3,500 tape library ...

                That's not say tapes don't have their place. Tape was good enough to back up my grandpa's data in 1954 and it's still good enough, sometimes. Other times, large capacity disks really do make more sense.

      • by 1s44c (552956)

        LTO-4 is the minimum I'd probably go with these days, because it is the first generation to have hardware based AES encryption via SCSI SPIN/SPOUT commands.

        Call me paranoid but how can you be sure what the hardware is actually doing? The NSA has forced various companies to do very bad things, and backups are one of the easiest ways to get data out of a company.

    • by riverat1 (1048260)

      We just switched from LTO-4 to LTO-6. When I calculated the price per MB the cost of LTO-4 and LTO-6 tapes was about the same. But if you never fill up the 2.5 TB of an LTO-6 tape then that might not be the most economical. So far I am pleased with the switch to LTO-6. Our full backups went from 8 or 9 tapes down to three tapes (really 2.5 tapes) although the speed isn't that much better.

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      They are preaching this message to the wrong audience. We know how to do backups. We know they have to be stored off site. We know they have to be tested. We know you have to keep them secure either with encryption or physical security or both. We know there are very many ways to do store backup data all with various pros and cons.

      The problem is the CEO's and the PHB types of the world don't see anything but the cost of backups.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @05:50PM (#46280071)
    Why am I seeing this adert?
    • This.

      Expecting to get an objective view of backups from someone who works for a backup service isn't very reasonable.

      I could be wrong, but it seems to me we've been seeing more of these "ads disguised as news" things lately. Is Slashdot trying to prime us for Slashdot 2, the "new improved" version?
  • by Netdoctor (95217) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @05:53PM (#46280103)

    Rob, lots of genuine, honest respect here. But with the dice acquisition and beta debacle, a lot of effort needs to be made by the editors here to avoid any appearance of using the readers as targeted customers. This interview doesn't help in that regard.

    • by Draknor (745036) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @06:06PM (#46280217) Homepage

      You make the assumption the editor's goal is NOT to use the readers as targeted customers.

      I'm not sure that's a valid assumption.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      I'm kinda surprised they keep trying. These stories never get many comments and they are always mostly along the lines of "get this shit off Slashdot". Personally I make sure I avoid any company advertised this way, on principal.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @06:53PM (#46280585)

      The thing is, if we talk to people who have skills or whose company does something useful to some Slashdot people, others assume it's an ad. But it's not. These are serious experts. We're going to do another interview with Lou one day, too, about the early days at Netscape, a company he cofounded.

      What I find amusing is that videos or other stories where we've been totally negative toward what the people are doing still get called "Slashvertisements" by some.

      Believe it or not, Slashdot editors have friends, and we even have products we like. For example, I like my Asus MemoPad tablet, my Samsung Victory Android phone, my Marlin 795 rifle, and my 1996 Jeep Cherokee. Does this mean I shouldn't say anything about them, but only about products I don't like?

      I won't talk about Dice except to say they get me my checks on time, and they just put somebody new in charge of Slashdot who seems like she's smart and wants to make Slashdot better, not worse. Slashdot Beta? There's a link to "Slashdot Classic" at the bottom of every Beta page. I'm back on "Slashdot Classic" myself because IMO Beta is nowhere near ready for broadcast at *any* time.

      But I'm no longer a boss, but an old retired guy who makes Slashdot videos and does a little writing here and there for side money. I often agree with readers more than management (the story of my life as a writer & editor), and I tell management what I think you want and generally get ignored. Example: I have said over and over that video preroll ads over 15 seconds are a bad idea, and that 30 seconds should be the dead maximum, ever. And still...

      • by Roblimo (357) on Tuesday February 18, 2014 @06:59PM (#46280635) Homepage Journal

        Whoops - I wrote the above comment without logging in. That makes me a cowardly anon, doesn't it? :)

        • by Netdoctor (95217)

          Well, I never want to get in the way of a man doing a good job, and the articles really are appreciated.

          I guess it's about transparancy. Hearing from you, from /. and knowing what /. is up to causes us to engage more. Without that communication, we -as nerds- get paranoid and suspicious.

          Come to think of it, a /. editor blog would be nice.

          Thanks again.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        My apologies Rob, I over-reacted it seems. Unfortunately this is the atmosphere we have here now. The number of blatant advertising stories has definitely increased since Dice took over, and now everything is treated with suspicion.

    • Indeed, blatant slashvertisement. The video DID mention some key points. For those who didn't feel like watching the video or reading the transcript, aside from pure advertising, they did hit four points which I refer to as the golden rules of backup:

      Backups must be:
      Off site: fires, thefts happen, and they happen in datacenters too.
      Automated: people will stop manually copying and swapping, probably at the worst possible time.
      Rotated: Not just one backup overwritten daily. If you were hacked at 11:00 PM, t

  • The last place I worked had five DATs. At any given time, four of them were in a safe-deposit box at the bank branch across the street.

    At the end of every evening, one of the partners walked across the street and swapped today's tape for tomorrow's, and brought it back.

    The tapes themselves were replaced once a year.

    • by unimacs (597299)
      We qualify as small to medium business and we had an audit of our IT systems done last year by a subcontractor of the firm that audits our books (As part of our business we offer financing).

      Their recommendation was that to qualify as "offsite", the backups should be kept at least 7 miles away. The reason being that a natural (or manmade) disaster that would destroy or render inaccessible our primary backups could also do the same to our offsite backups if they were kept in the same general area.
  • Please tell me the browser cache is screwing with me. Please tell me that my wife wants to have sex more often ( ok that isn't going to happen, I have a 12 and 15 year old) Do we really have back?
  • "So [outsourcing to the cloud is] like having the worldâ(TM)s best expert hired on to your team just managing your particular system. "

    No, its more like having the cheapest possible person from the cheapest possible country, reading scripts and excerpts from manuals back to you while being oh so polite about it. And then after your 2 hour phone call, blaming any other vendor or technology you are using which *must* be the cause of all the problems.
    Surely its not their flawless product, which even thoug

  • It starts with one premise: If backups (or drive images) aren't made automatically, they will eventually never get made.

    I have three drives, call them A, B and C. We have two servers, two desktops, two notebooks, each of which make a DAILY full-image backup to a separate partition on the same computer, which is then copied to a common, external drive (say "A") on one of the servers. Typically, each system has two or three days' worth of local backup images, and the external drive has about the same.
  • Hello,

    My day job is at a security software company (anti-malware). We don't do anything in the backup space (either develop software, resell someone else's software, etc.) but I did write a paper on the subject of backups for them, because not every computer problem is a virus. It is more geared towards home users or home-based businesses than the video, above, because I figured that businesses already have some idea about backups—whether or not they are doing them properly is entirely another qu

Your fault -- core dumped