By Dr. Marc M. Batschkus
There is a saying that access to files is only as secure as the backup is. This is true, especially for video production, where time pressure is high, as well as the risks to accidentally lose or delete data.
The backup is the safety net for the reduction files. Therefore, it needs to be built and configured to provide the required safety and reliability. Since there are multiple ways to protect data, it is worthwhile taking a closer look to find the best method for a specific situation.
Consider these video backup methods
Method #1: Cloning/Replication/Failover
For time-critical data and production, shared storage, and similar scenarios, a replication of all files to secondary storage is the best way to protect data. This way, all files from the primary storage get cloned or replicated to the secondary storage. In case something goes wrong, one can switch over to this secondary storage to have all files available immediately.
P5 Synchronize offers replication/cloning, including file versions. In this case, no run-time for restore is needed. This is also called a failover solution. The limitation of this method is that it only works for disk to disk. Cloud or tape storage is not an option in this case.
Method #2: Backup to Disk
The most popular and very flexible method for video backup is an automated routine backup of all production files to disk storage. The automated process needs to take into account the production workload and tolerance for file loss. The lower the tolerance, the higher the frequency of the backup has to be.
Lower tier disk storage is relatively cheap and often already available in the setup. With P5 Backup, users can restore their files via the browser interface. The caveat: a RAID is no backup, but protects only against disk failure.
Therefore, if a NAS/RAID is used as production storage, there is a need for a secondary system to back it up. If the secondary system is a NAS by Synology, QNAP, or NetGear, Archiware P5 is available in the respective App Centers and can run directly on these devices.
If virtualised servers are used in production, they also need to be backed up automatically. Archiware Pure is the specialised solution for VMware and offers quick installation and simple browser interface.
Method #3: Backup to Tape
The backup to LTO tape offers some specific advantages. Tape can easily be taken offsite for maximum security and disaster recovery.
Of all professional media, LTO tape is the cheapest option to scale, with the lowest price per TB of about 10€/USD per TB. Adding tapes is easier to scale than any other storage in terms of setup since there are no changes to the installation.
P5 Backup can use tape as target storage and offers additional cloning and parallelisation for maximum security and performance.
Method #4: Backup to Cloud
There are situations where local, on-premise installation needs to be kept at a minimum. For this requirement, Cloud storage is ideal.
Additionally, switching to Cloud storage can take place at any time with very little preparation. The pay-as-you-go model allows for flexible growth without upfront investment and local storage management.
Cloud storage is always offsite. Thus, it includes disaster recovery as a feature. As a limitation, local access speed needs to be considered, especially under less favourable conditions, like network congestion.
Method #5: Special Case – Ingest Archive
With increasing resolution of media files, file sets can become so big that existing production storage might not be able to hold them. If production storage is too small to keep all files of the current ingest, archiving those files to LTO tape immediately at ingest is a viable solution. Editing can take place with the reduced size proxy clips. Final conform restores only the used files for the ingest archive.
All benefits of LTO tape, like the lowest cost per TB, multiple security layers, and long shelf-life, are part of this solution. P5 Archive has additional MAM features that offer browsing previews and proxy clips, as well as customisable metadata fields and combined searching.
Method #6: Disk-to-Disk-to-Tape
With P5 Backup, one can use disk, tape, and cloud storage as a target. Cloud and tape storage offer added security through offsite storage. P5 Synchronize offers availability without restore.
If used in combination with P5 Synchronize and P5 Backup, the modules together offer a disk-to-disk-to-tape solution that combines the best of both worlds: immediate availability for present files and maximum security through offsite storage on tape for any older files. The outpoint between them can be defined based on the requirements at hand.
Without the proper video backup method, you put yourself at risk of losing your work. As a media professional consider these video backup checklist items:
- Centralize and automate as many operations as possible
- Use 3-2-1 rule (3 copies on 2 different media, 1 copy offsite)
- Backup operations run without negatively impacting production
- Maintenance is run regularly, and logs are checked daily
- Operators have clear assignments of their duties—backup, maintenance, restoring
- Regular training of users for the current workflow and documentation up to date
- Equipment covers present needs and is scalable enough for future requirements
- The workflow has been fully tested and documented before deployment
- Restore is tested regularly (e.g., monthly) to ensure the complete data chain works as expected
Additionally, include Archiware P5 Backup into your video backup strategy. P5 stores your information, protecting your data against ransomware attacks, disaster, and more. After all, your media project is only as good as your backup strategy.