Editor’s Note: This post is the third in a series outlining the StorageCraft Recover-Ability solution. Last week’s post focused on the need to Replicate backups offsite.
The job of an IT administrator can often feel like a juggling act. There are all kinds of tasks requiring your immediate attention, and very little help to manage them. That’s why it’s extremely important that your backup plan includes a way to manage your backup environment– to prevent backups from getting out of control. It’s why StorageCraft includes Manage as the third tier of the StorageCraft Recover-Ability solution.
There are several ways you can manage and monitor your backups with StorageCraft solutions. The first way is with StorageCraft ShadowControl CMD, which is a relatively new tool for monitoring your StorageCraft ShadowProtect backups. We designed ShadowControl CMD with managed service providers (MSPs) in mind, but backup administrators will find it extremely helpful to manage any backup environment.
The problem is that most businesses have many systems to make the business run, and each of those systems requires a backup. Even for small businesses, the ability to manage and monitor all those backups can get away from you quickly. ShadowControl CMD has a web-based console that acts as a central monitoring station. When you install ShadowControl CMD agents on every system running ShadowProtect, the agent reports back to the console everything that’s happening with the backups. Did the backup run without a problem? Check. Do you have enough disk space for upcoming backups? Check. If there are any problems, you can set it up to email you with warnings. You can even configure it to let you know before trouble hits. If you’re managing backups on many machines and several different locations—or even many different companies—ShadowControl CMD lets you monitor it all from one central interface. The best part about ShadowControl CMD is that it’s absolutely free.
Knowing what’s happening is just the start. StorageCraft gives you another way to manage your backups with StorageCraft ImageManager. StorageCraft ImageManager helps you collapse and consolidate your backup images so you can keep a handle on them and limit the amount of storage space you’re using. It includes a feature called Rolling Consolidation, which creates a special +RC file which allows you to consolidate daily, weekly, and monthly incremental backups into a single file that’s appended to your base (full) backup image.
StorageCraft ImageManager includes some verification features that check and recheck backup images to make sure they’re still working, even if you have long incremental backup chains for the systems that you manage. An added benefit is that ShadowControl CMD will also monitor StorageCraft ImageManager installations.
Finally, the best way to know if you’re managing your backups well is to test your disaster recovery plan regularly. The StorageCraft Recover-Ability solution has several ways to test recovery:
- Ensure that backups are 100% recoverable by using StorageCraft VirtualBoot technology, found in ShadowProtect. With VirtualBoot, you can right click on any ShadowProtect backup and run that backup as a virtual machine.
- Begin recovery ahead of time with StorageCraft HeadStart Restore technology. StorageCraft won a patent for this feature in StorageCraft ImageManager, which allows you to pre-stage your backup as a virtual machine. Whenever you’d like to test your backup, just finalize HeadStart Restore and you’re certain you can recover when you need to.
- Virtualize your backup in the StorageCraft Cloud. At the Premium level with StorageCraft Cloud Services, you can virtualize your server and know that you can recover in an instant.
Being able to manage, monitor, and test your backups is essential to having a recovery plan that will work when you really need it. Next week, I’ll take a look at the many ways StorageCraft helps you Recover with the StorageCraft Recover-Ability solution.