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Backup your data passively, or don’t backup at all

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A standard RJ45 Ethernet connector.
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I’ve finally come to realization that the idea of an end home/SoHO/SMB user being actively involved in backup of their data is a losing proposition.

Foundry Group just funded Cloud Engines, a company that makes a product (Pogoplug) which allows you to passively share data from your hard drive and make it available as a cloud-like service.  Certainly automated backups would be a logical next step.

There are also some other guys out there (whose names are escaping me – and by all means please add them to the comments) who take a similar approach of placing a device in the network path to perform backups with bare minimum user configuration or intervention.

If the backup service/software has to prompt a user for files and directories to be backed up, it has already failed.  The user will underutilize it, or won’t use it at all (sadly I’m in the latter bucket).

A device inline on the network will miss some stuff, but it’s certainly better than nothing (which is what you get with backup software which sits uninstalled/unconfigured).

I wonder if the network card makers could create a backup offload engine (BOE?) chip that would grab file related network I/O’s and replicate them into the cloud.  We have TCP offload engines (TOE), and iSCSI offload chips, so why not BOE?

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Written by John Gannon

May 13, 2009 at 5:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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  1. “…If the backup service/software has to prompt a user for files and directories to be backed up, it has already failed…”

    John,

    So true. So important. So rarely spoken.

    Thanks – John

    John Webster

    May 13, 2009 at 6:43 pm


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