Disaster recovery plans usually include the back-up of critical company data, which includes information contained on ERP software and other business applications, as well as data residing on a storage array (disk array or multiple disk drives).
However, an overlooked aspect of data protection is the thorough back-up of the storage array’s configuration and not just the residing data. Here is why you should put array configuration backup on the disaster recovery planning checklist.
What is a storage array?
Storage array, also called disk array, is a disk storage system which contains multiple disk drives (HDDs) with its cache memory and advanced functionality, such as virtualisation and RAID (redundant array of independent disks).
RAID is, in fact, the process of storing the same data in different places on multiple hard disks. The goal is to protect data in the case of a drive failure, but it does not necessarily guarantee or provide redundancy. Suffice to say that different RAID levels ensure various performance, redundancy and data loss tolerance.
An enterprise storage array typically includes hundreds of settings applied individually. Usually, the IT admin will configure the disk array in a time-consuming, complicated and tedious process. If the configuration is compromised, modified or accidentally reset, these settings are lost and need to be manually reapplied.
Backing up the array’s configuration helps system administrators to avoid this situation and quickly restore the settings when needed. Also, this backup can benefit the process of migrating the settings from one storage array to the other if your organisation wishes to keep the same configuration across its multiple data storage units.
Array configuration data usually includes licenses, device-level log files, and other applications that run on the array. For an adequate storage array configuration back-up, ensure that you can automate the process and avoid saving the configuration on the same array. It is also recommended to back-up the array’s firmware in addition to its configuration backup.
There are many practices to create configuration backups, from removable devices to the virtualisation of storage infrastructure and cloud back-ups. Virtualised infrastructure can help your business save substantial resources in IT admin, maintenance and associated costs, with the added advantage of automated processes and enforced data recovery.
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