Keeping Engineering Safe from Disaster

Many engineering firms do not back up their ongoing engineering data  because it has historically been cost prohibitive to protect 30-200 terabytes of engineering data that is generated.

Often these engineering departments have had to make due with one copy of their data, normally residing on RAID protected storage (which are not backups), and possibly a second limited copy on removable media devices like external hard drives which are subject to theft or loss. This level of protection doesn’t adequately  protect from historical random failures, user deletion error, or  new attacks like Ransomware viruses that encrypt all your data and hold the data for ransom.

TotalCAE is an advocate for the “3-2-1” backup philosophy. The 3-2-1 was coined by a photographer that wrote that there are two groups of people: those who have already had a storage failure and those who will have one in the future.

The philosophy of the 3-2-1 rule is:

1. Have at least three copies of your data.
2. Store the copies on two different media.
3. Keep one backup copy offsite.

TotalCAE StorageCamel is our offering that helps implement the 3-2-1 rule, specifically #2 and #3, costing only pennies per gigabyte.  Our solution pre-encrypts all data locally, snapshot it locally and remotely, and then uploads the data offsite.  StorageCamel involves no workflow change for the user, the entire protection process is automatic. The solution is also secure, no 3rd party with access to the remote data center, including TotalCAE, can read the protected data.

Let’s look a little closer at why following the 3-2-1 rule is important, and how StorageCamel is a key part of a 3-2-1 implementation.

1. Have at least three copies of data

The primary copy is typically a filer that is used to store the primary engineering data. Two more copies need to exist, on separate devices.

If you assume that the primary data store is around 24TB, and is protected with RAID-6 the probability of data loss is around


which is not very favorable odds for important data.

If you make a second copy of the data, on a similar different device with same odds of failure, the odds of complete data loss are now

(1/250) * (1/250) = 1/62,500.

Which is about the same odds of dying from a tornado, so much better but still conceivable to suffer complete data loss.

2. Store the copies on two different media

The previous analysis assumes the devices are completely independent, but often companies backup data onto the same storage device, just using a different storage area on the device. The issue with this is these are *not* independent copies;  a complete loss of the storage array loses both backup copies stored there.

Ransomware that encrypt all network devices with attached read/write media are also not independent copies, and can result in all backup copies being destroyed or held for ransom. For this reason, storing copies on completely different media, some of which are not read/write is important. StorageCamel keeps multiple geo-distributed read-only versioned copies to add this additional protection.

3. Keep one backup copy offsite

It is important to keep a copy offsite in a remote location 70-100 miles away from the primary data, to protect against a complete loss of your data center from a tornado, hurricane, or floods. It is also important to ensure this offsite copy prevents data deletion from a disgruntled employees or attacker from deleting all backup copies. TotalCAE StorageCamel enables you to protect against this scenario by keeping multiple copies across US data centers, and has multiple protection measures and policies to ensure a single rogue employee or attacker can’t delete all of your engineering data.

Bring in the Camel

Now let’s bring in TotalCAE StorageCamel offsite versioned copy with 99.999999999% durability, the odds of complete data loss are now

1/250 * 1/250 * 1/10000000000 =  1/625000000000000

which is effectively zero chance.

This is why having more copies  of your data on multiple media, in multiple locations including offsite, can reduce the risk of loss.

If you are interested in learning more check see Our StorageCamel whitepaper.