This past week I got the worst possible call. A lab system had two hard drives fail. The lab manager was frantic. “No worries” I assured him. I knew the system was regularly backed up. This is when I learned that the lab manager didn’t understand the 3-2-1 backup rule. Backups were on the same drive array that had two failed disks. As a result, they lost two years of work. If they had just heeded the tenants of the 3-2-1 backup rule, this situation could have been avoided altogether.

What is the 3-2-1 Backup Rule?

The 3-2-1 backup rule has withstood the test of time and will help you overcome nearly any failure scenario.

3 – copies of data: This includes the original copy and two backups. More copies of your backup mean lower risk of losing everything.

2 – different types of media: Backing up to the same physical disk as the system (or to the same storage array) is not logical. Common hardware failures could take all of your data offline, making it unrecoverable. The same media in different physical locations also satisfies this rule. Backup to disk, tape, and cloud!

1 – copy offsite (as far away as possible): Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy have shown us that keeping backups in a nearby storage facility just doesn’t cut it. Is your data center in Florida? Your backup needs to be in Oklahoma. Worried about San Francisco falling into the Pacific? Keep a copy of your data in Michigan.

How does Azure Backup follow the 3-2-1 rule?

3 – copies of your data are stored in the Azure region of your choosing. If you add your production data, you are superior to 3-2-1 rule. Within an Azure Region, Locally Redundant Storage (LRS) replicates your data three times. These three replicas each reside in separate fault and upgrade domains.

2 – Azure Storage coupled with your on-premises production disks meet the two types of media rule. Instead of switching backup copies from disk to tape (which slowly degrades over time), backup to Azure.

1 – secondary region paired with your primary region. Geo-redundant storage (GRS) replicates your data to a secondary region located hundreds of miles away from the primary region. Azure replicates your data asynchronously to a secondary region, where LRS takes over and replicates it three more times.

Azure Backup protects you with 7-3-2 coverage–seven copies of your data with three different media types in two offsite locations.

Implement your 3-2-1 rule today?

Getting started with Azure Backup is as easy as 1-2-3-4:

1 – Create and configure Recovery Services Vault

2 – Install and register the Backup Agent

3 – Backup your files and folders

4 – Rest easy knowing that your data is protected

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