Wednesday, 20 May 2015 00:00

A note on data protection

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Andrei Ivanov has written a remarkable article on data protection (Would you prefer tea with sugar or washing your hands with soap?).
The topic is of interest to me and I have been thinking about writing something similar for a long time.
To make a long story short, there are several levels of data protection and security:
- hardware;
- software;
- and organizational level.

Generally speaking, the division is fairly conventional and later I will provide examples of cross-level solutions.

Hardware level

To prevent hardware malfunctions any component at the hardware level is duplicated. The most common solution for this level is to have two power units and RAID group of several hard drives (arbitrary level, except zero level). This level solutions only help reducing or ruling out downtime caused by server hardware malfunction. That is:
- failure of hard drive ~ RAID controller rebuilds RAID group independently, no need of system administrator involvement. Service users won’t even notice anything.
- a user has deleted file or record in info. system ~ End of story! Hardware level is helpless here.
Solutions like VMware HA or VMware FT entirely refer to this level (especially HA).

Software level

It contains software tools extending the lifetime of information. It includes all possible integrity-control tools (for instance, transaction journals) and preventive monitoring (except hardware monitoring).

Organizational level

Here, physical and program access is divided into several levels. I would also refer to this level the Active Directory-based access to resources. This level determines who has to/allowed to do what.

If you need to protect your systems against software failure, human errors and other risks, there is nothing better than backup copy. No matter how super secure your system is, even if you have an XP Storageworks 24000, you risk a lot without regular backups. Surely there is no doubt that the probability of failure in the previous case is MUCH lower than if you would keep files on an ordinary file server. But, I suspect that the COST of such data is MUCH higher.

Backup systems can be referred to the software and organizational cross-levels. Clearly you can set up necessary for YOU (i.e. IT specialists) backup, but do businesses or users really need it? Would you be able to salvage necessary information from backups as and when required? Do you have a recovery plan in case of system failure? Is the plan drawn on paper and will it be available in case of emergency? Do you have answers to these questions?

Cluster service – hardware and software cross-level (as well as other replication systems). Distributed cluster – cross-level of all three levels (as well as any other disaster-proof system).

Any questions?

Last modified on Wednesday, 20 May 2015 13:31
Data Recovery Expert

Viktor S., Ph.D. (Electrical/Computer Engineering), was hired by DataRecoup, the international data recovery corporation, in 2012. Promoted to Engineering Senior Manager in 2010 and then to his current position, as C.I.O. of DataRecoup, in 2014. Responsible for the management of critical, high-priority RAID data recovery cases and the application of his expert, comprehensive knowledge in database data retrieval. He is also responsible for planning and implementing SEO/SEM and other internet-based marketing strategies. Currently, Viktor S., Ph.D., is focusing on the further development and expansion of DataRecoup’s major internet marketing campaign for their already successful proprietary software application “Data Recovery for Windows” (an application which he developed).

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