Monday, 26 September 2011

Virtualisation and Mirroring

Mirroring involves having a duplicate of your systems that acts as both a back-up and a means of providing continuity if your systems went down. There are several different methods of mirroring, ranging from a server with an identical configuration to your own but with no data on it (known as ‘bare metal’), to a full duplicate in real-time where everything is the same.

Service can be seamless with a full mirroring approach, providing location is not an issue. So you might have a mirrored server in a separate location with independent links into your system, so that you could switch over to it if needed.

Virtualisation is a form of mirroring that offers a significant extra benefit. It reduces the processing power needed on any one piece of equipment, therefore reducing the likelihood of its performance deteriorating. It does this because a separate, physical, identical server is not required as it is with other full mirroring approaches. Instead, a combination of hardware and software systems are used to create a ‘virtual’ server (hence the name), rather than a physical object duplicating what you already have. 

This combination of hardware and software brings with it an extra layer of complexity and cost that might not exist with other mirrored applications, so the cost-benefit equation needs to be looked at. But for organisations that need seamless continuity, it is a solution that provides additional benefits.

As with many other aspects of developing your IT, speak to a reliable IT Support organisation with expertise in the area, if seamless business continuity is an area you would like to investigate.

Monday, 12 September 2011


Many organisations and people think that backing up is complicated, tedious and expensive. But it doesn’t have to be - using the right tool can make it very easy to do. The trick is making sure you get the right tool and then applying it correctly.

You also have to think about what needs to be backed up. This could include individual computers or your servers. Many organisations have a shared drive on a server. If everything is saved here there is no need to back up the individual computers, but the server will need a regular back-up. However, if staff have laptops which are used remotely, then they will need to be backed-up.

So decide first of all exactly what needs backing-up. When you’ve identified this, you can start to look at the right solution. It may also involve a multiple approach, e.g. a daily back-up of the server, an automated routine to back-up laptops when they log on to the shared drive and a weekly back-up of desktop computers.

The level of backing-up can also be important. For example, servers might be backed-up locally using a hard drive and/or they may also be backed up over a connection to an off-site facility. This is like a back-up to a back-up, but if it’s vital that your data or programs are available without any downtime, then you may need it.

It’s also important to check that your back-up routine actually works. Your server crashing is not the time to find out that your back-up system hasn’t worked for the last 6 months. So check the back-up periodically to make sure it can be relied upon. A back-up that you cannot rely on is more than useless, because you will have spent time and possibly money on it, but the one time when it was really needed, it wasn’t there. So not only are you without the data you need, you’ve wasted your time and money too.

If you ever want to discuss your back-up routine and whether it is appropriate for your needs, speak to a reliable IT Support company. They should be more than happy to talk through your requirements.