Backup vs. Redundancy

Seras provides computer and information technology support throughout the greater Columbia, SC area including Lexington, Irmo, West Columbia, and even out to Camden, Newberry, and Sumter.  We help with everything from basic PC repair to setting up extensive continuity plans to keep you running at top speeds 24/7.

Everyone needs their files backed up in the case of a data loss, which could be the result of theft, damage, or other major loss from natural disaster.  These systems vary from external hard drives to cloud-based systems and they are often confused with continuity systems.

Backup systems keep copies of your data in a separate location so that it can be restored onto a new or repaired system following an emergent situation.  Many people believe that a RAID system is an adequate backup system when in reality, a RAID system is for redundancy purposes only.For more information on backup systems, check our Disaster Recovery article here.

Redundancy systems use RAID technology to maintain workplace continuity in the event of a hard drive failure.  RAID stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks, which consists of two or more hard drives working in parallel.  The simple explanation of how this system works is that data on a server is mirrored to both hard drives so that if one of them fails, the data is still on the other drive and normal operation can resume with no interruption to workflow.  Depending on the amount of data and users, the number of hard drives used in this mirroring system is in a sense, infinite.  Some of our customers have 100 or more drives in a RAID system.  However, they all have a separate backup system in place as well.

A Few Examples

If a file on your server becomes corrupt, the copy of that file within the RAID system is also corrupt.  The only way to restore that file to a usable format is to restore it from a backup server or other backup system.

If someone downloads a virus and damages the files on your network, the RAID system has simply copied the damaged files.  The backup system would have to be used to restore the undamaged files.

If the entire hardware system is damaged in a flood or fire, the RAID system is useless and the files would have to be restored from the backup system.

So Why RAID?

Depending on your business’ specific goals and requirements, a RAID system can link multiple drives together, enhancing what a single drive can do on its own.  It can increase system speed, reliability, or both – keeping your system running after a hard drive crash.  For example, one of our customers has a unit with 4 hard drives in it on a RAID system.  Just like everything else, hard drives that are in use on a constant basis have a shelf life.  If one of those customer’s hard drives fails, Seras is able to simply remove it and replace it with a new drive.  The best part is that the customer never even knew that they had a hard drive failure.

So, continuity/redundancy is important to keep you efficient, but a separate backup system is critical for protecting the integrity of your company, client, and employee information.