There is a data explosion taking place, with the company data stored on laptops, desktops, and servers doubling every year.
Add to the data burden the fact that every company, no matter how small, needs to back up its data.
According to a white paper from Breece Hill, SMBs are faced with the fragile balance of operating costs increasing while business continues to grow.

As companies grow, data management requirements also grow exponentially and the IT staff feels the strain. Each new server increases backup requirements; backup  windows shrink; and determining what to back up and how often quadruples in complexity and cost.
Once a business clears the financial hurdle and begins to plan their data protection strategy the choices can appear daunting.
Do they select tape or disk? Apply differential or incremental backups? How much will a new system cost and how much time will it take to implement? What data should be included in the backup?
In a traditional backup scenario, deciding what data to back up should be the first step. Businesses should identify files that change frequently, and any programs and files that keep the business up and running.
The next step is to perform a full backup of all these systems, applications and data files. A duplicate archive should be created and kept off-site for disaster recovery purposes.
If many system files contain unique user settings and passwords that change often, a daily backup schedule may be needed.
Unfortunately, the cost and time required to complete full backups each day is impractical, especially for a company with large amounts of data or limited backup windows.
Alternative backup methods, such as differential or incremental backups, conserve time and resources and minimise strain on the network. And this is where the simplicity typically ends, according to the Breece Hill white paper.
Differential backups record all new, updated or deleted files since the last full backup, capturing files at points in time.
Incremental backups remember which files were captured on the previous backup, regardless of whether that backup was full or partial. Using the same scenario, a full backup is again performed over the weekend. Incremental backups are then run for files that have changed during the week.
As backup and restore tasks become more complex, and data continues to grow, it is generally advisable to begin a standard tape rotation scheme. Tape rotation allows the backup media to be continually, strategically, and systematically recycled and updated with the most current data possible.
However, these schemes can be quite elaborate and require substantial amounts of time and expertise to manage. The two most common systems of tape rotation are "Grandfather-Father-Son" and "Tower of Hanoi".
The Grandfather-Father-Son scheme uses monthly (Grandfather), weekly (Father), and daily (Son) backup sets. “Son” tapes are labelled for each day backups are performed, for example, Monday through Thursday. This media is reused each week on the day matching its label.
Another set of up to five “Father” tape sets are labelled “Week 1,” “ Week 2,” “Week 3,” “Week 4,” and “Week 5.” Full backups are recorded weekly on a “Father” tape on the day that a “Son” media is not used. The “Father” tapes are reused monthly.
The final set of “Grandfather” tape sets are labelled “Month 1,” “Month 2,” “Month 3,” for each month of the quarter. This “Grandfather” media is used to make a full backup on the last business day of each month and is reused each quarter.
Each of these backups may fit on a single tape or a set of tapes depending on the amount of data, but a minimum of 12 tape sets are required for this basic rotation scheme.
In the Tower of Hanoi schedule, one tape set, “A,” is used every other day (day 1, day 3, day 5 and so on). The next tape set “B” starts on the first non-”A” backup day, and is re-used every fourth backup session. Tape set “C” is used on the first day that is not “A” or “B” and repeats every eighth session. Tape set “D” starts on the first day that is neither “A,” “B,” nor “C,” and repeats every sixteenth session. Tape set “E” alternates with set “D.”
This basic rotation scheme can be accomplished with no more than 16 tape sets. The most frequently-used media sets have the most recent copies of a file, while less frequently-used media retain older versions. This method minimises the system requirements, and can reduce cost, but management of the tape rotation schedule is far more complex.
The white paper suggest that complex tape rotation schemes do not meet the needs of SMBs where IT staff, budget and time is limited.
Similarly, choosing between full, differential and incremental backups forces an SMB to either waste media, management time, or money.
New solutions were needed to provide an “intelligent” backup and recovery approach to reduce the number of tape sets required, thus saving money, and eliminate complex tape rotation schemes.
Breece Hill’s BizGuardian appliance uses a patented method of managing data and tapes. It combines the server, hard disk and tape storage functions as well as backup and recovery software in a single unit for a fully-integrated backup and recovery solution custom fit for SMBs.
BizGuardian eliminates the need to perform full backups each week and instead runs continuous progressive incrementals that combine the efficiency of a partial backup with the reliability of a full backup.
The intelligence of the software eliminates redundancy by building a catalogue of data. After performing the initial full backup, “smart” incremental backups are run. The system scans the hard drive of each client computer and creates a list of its contents at that point in time. It then compares the list to what is already in the backup set and captures only the new data.
Each backup contains the initial full backup plus only the necessary incrementals.
BizGuardian dispenses with labor-intensive tape rotation policies in favor of a simple two tape set (A and B) rotation.
Because BizGuardian has a large-capacity internal hard disk, a snapshot of the data is stored on both sets for future use. This is the only full backup that should ever be needed.
For both tape sets A and B, the system builds an initial catalogue and copies the data on each. Tape set A is then kept in the appliance; tape set B is stored off-site for safekeeping.
Throughout the week, progressive incremental backups are added first to the internal disk mirror and also to tape set A. At the end of the week, tape set A is swapped with tape set B, tape A can be kept off-site, and the progressive incremental process begins for the next week using tape set B.
This provides a simple, easy-to-use rotation scheme that any SMB can follow, and results in far fewer tapes to rotate and manage. It also almost guarantees that an off-site backup set is always ready if data at the primary site is lost due to man-made or natural disaster.

BizGuardian is available in South Africa from Intellistor:  visit here at www.intellistor.co.za