If there is one thing that my wife is, it’s a picture fanatic. She literally takes hundreds of pictures a month! If you don’t believe me, ask my family, friends, and Facebook contacts.

My job of course is to keep these pictures safe! This job is considerably harder though because she stores her pictures everywhere. I can never seem to figure out why it’s such a hard concept to simply store all pictures in one place, the most obvious place, being the My Pictures folder.

Keeping pictures stored everywhere on a computer makes my backup job a littler harder, but there are a few different ways I can go about getting this done.

I could backup the entire PC, including files I don’t need to protect. This strategy is pretty simple but the consequences are high. Most users would avoid backing up the whole computer just to capture the images for the following reasons:

– Bandwidth is being used backing up things you don’t need.
– Extra offsite storage space is needed, and hence the costs associated with storing so much data, is high.
– Backup time is longer.
– Restoration becomes difficult since the pictures are still hidden like a needle in a haystack.
– Restoration time is longer.

I could also spend hours manually selecting all of the picture folders. But this method is prone to problems because:

– It is a waste of my time.
– I will probably end up forgetting some locations.

– It won’t backup newly added files my wife adds at a later date. There is a better way than the full PC backup though. The answer is a technology included in ROBOBAK called Smart Crawl Template Backup. Smart Crawl Template backup utilizes file type template search to selectively find what to backup based on the type of the file. Think of it like an automatic picture search engine for backup. Template backups don’t end at pictures though; common patterns include office documents, music, and source code to name a few. Each template can be applied to backup:

– All files matching the template.
– All files except for the files matching the template.The best part about these Smart Crawl Template Backups is that you can specify a Template at the entire network level, effectively backing up all computers no matter which computer my wife happens to be on when she’s downloading her photos!

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Most people can easily associate compression and deduplication in their mind, after all they have 2 common goals:

1.To reduce bandwidth going from the client to the backup server
2. To reduce storage space once the data resides on the backup server’s storage volume

Both deduplication and compression work alongside each other to accomplish the same goals, but both of them are also independent. Compression does not affect your deduplication ratios, and deduplication does not effect your compression ratios. Backup providers will often combine both ratios for an overall “benefit ratio” for your convenience.

Encryption and deduplication on the other hand hold an even tighter bond. A bond which directly effects your deduplication protected to storage ratio. To understand this bond though, one must first understand how deduplication works in general.

Deduplication works by creating a hash (or checksum) on each block of data being backed up, before encryption and compression is performed. Existence of a block of data on a backup server can be checked by doing a lookup to see if the hash already exists on the storage server. If a particular hash already exists on a storage server, the block of data does not need to be re-transferred nor re-stored to disk. Instead a reference to that data will simply be created instead.

Each company that backs up has access to only the files they backup; however, some companies require extra security. These companies want to hold the encryption key themselves, and never communicate it across their computer to the backup server. The files on the backup server storage disk must be encrypted with an encryption key that only that particular customer knows of. Since the server storage does not know the encryption key, this makes deduplication impossible for that particular block of data across customers.

,The Intimate Relationship of Data Deduplication and Encryption

ROBOBAK by default allows vault wide deduplication. Vault wide deduplication means that your deduplication ratios of protected vs. stored can be huge. We accomplish this by randomly encrypting each block of data being backed up with a unique encryption key, and then associating each user access to each of these unique keys.

ROBOBAK also recognizes that some companies require that the encryption key used to encrypt the files being backed up is only known to them. This gives a customer extra piece of mind, because by definition, only they can restore from these files because the backup server does not even know what the encryption key is.

In the preferences of the backup client a user can change the default to use a customer and user encryption key which is only known to them. When using these encryption keys though, deduplication ratios will not be vault wide. ROBOBAK also allows you to allow and disallow subsets of this functionality and fill defaults via its free customization kit utility.

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When most people think of cloud storage, they imagine an infinite horizon of bits and bytes, a vast, limitless space in which to store their data. But cloud storage is sometimes not the avarice that people imagine. For applications that have heavy disk I/O activities or transfer a lot of data, cloud storage can become a significant cost and inherently limiting.

But there is a solution to reducing high I/O activities and unnecessary use of bandwidth with cloud storage—data de-duplication which is described as the process of reducing duplication in data transfers prior to transfer. This technology works by comparing differential changes in data or files before transferring the data to its destination. By employing a data de-duplication method, companies can significantly reduce costs associated with application storage in the cloud; first, by transferring only files that have changed thereby saving on bandwidth costs; second, by reducing I/O on the storage cluster and storing only what is changed.

What is Source Based Data De-Duplication?

 

Yet not all data de-duplication solutions are created equal. In fact, in many cases, the implementation of the technology is far from efficient. Although there is some benefit gained in only transferring files that have changed, if those files are significantly large such as with geographic survey images that may be 100s of gigabytes in size, there is little gained from file level de-duplication.

That’s what makes a solution such as ROBOBAK so powerful. Rather than transferring whole files with any sort of change, ROBOBAK focus on actual blocks of data, merging the incremental blocks back into a file only at restore time. For example, let’s say there was a 1MB file that needed to be transferred because it had changed. ROBOBAK would reduce the file to four ~250KB blocks and look for differential changes within the blocks, transferring only those blocks that have changed rather than the whole file. This provides an even greater efficiency over other data de-duplication technologies by enabling further savings on bandwidth and disk I/O. ![alt text][1]

Data de-duplication is a perfect technology for companies wanting to utilize the cloud for data storage because its inherent operation is meant to save on bandwidth and storage by transferring or storing only those files that have changed. But the savings are only as good as the solution and none are better than ROBOBAK…block-level data de-duplication technology for your business cloud based backup strategy.

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Welcome to the official ROBOBAK blog! After being in the backup business for almost 10 years and having over 200,000 copies of our software sold worldwide, the VisionWorks Solutions team has decided to get our heads out of the clouds and work towards being a more social company by launching an official company blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and a Linkedin company page. 

ROBOBAK Gets Its Head Out of the Clouds and Launches a Blog

 

It will be our mission to be keep our customers, VAR’s and the public more aware of the what is going on in our market and within our company.

We look forward to sharing with you!

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