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January update issues again underlined need for backup, says Macrium

New Year 2022 heralded a slew of issues with regular Windows updates and patches, highlighting the need for correct backup and recovery policies and practice, according to Macrium.

Jack Mansfield, marketing manager for Macrium, suggested that Microsoft updates have regularly suffered issues in January — and with so many people working remotely, it has become more critical than ever to keep up.

“It is important to be protected, and creating regular backups before a disaster occurs can help mitigate the impact,” he says.

Critical parts of Windows such as file system drivers and patches themselves can be delivered with bugs — and when files have been corrupted, a fresh backup at workstation or server level can often used to restore files quickly and prevent data loss.

He said that, for example, Macrium viBoot can create a virtual machine with Macrium Image files used to back up the operating system, incorporating an image of the resilient file system (ReFS) disk.

“The end result is a virtual machine that takes the place of the physical machine while you troubleshoot the issue further, reducing the amount of downtime,” Mansfield said.

“Creating an incremental backup before performing a Windows update can give peace of mind that in the event of a disastrous update, the system can be restored to a point in time before the update was performed.”

Choosing backup and storage hardware

The choice of backup medium, such as type of SSD, can also matter, according to Mansfield.

“Some of these factors are well known, for example storage capacity and performance. However, there are many other factors that are not considered as often,” he said.

He said that organisations should consider their choice of host interface, which specifies the protocol for communications between the drive and the attached computer. For instance, older computers may not support NVMe drives, which were launched into the market in 2012.

Older drive types include Serial ATA (SATA) and Parallel ATA (PATA) or Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) interfaces.

“SATA 3 has a bandwidth of around 6Gb/s and a usable data rate of around 550MB/s or roughly 4.8Gb/s — this is the data rate that is application-usable and does not include overhead,” Mansfield says.

“PCIe Gen4 allows speeds of up to 2000MB/s (2GB/s) per lane. NVMe drives use 4 PCIe lanes, meaning a theoretical bandwidth of 8GB/s2.”

Also — assuming the form factor matches — older motherboards may not support M.2 NVMe drives, limiting users to SATA connected drives, and using an M.2 slot with an NVMe drive may also disable motherboard PCIe ports, affecting expansion cards for Wi-Fi, USB or audio, Mansfield said.

“Another commonly overlooked factor when purchasing an SSD is the bit density,” he added. “The higher the bit density, generally, the lower the price of the SSD per GB of storage. However, more bits per cell will also lead to lower write/erase speeds and a shorter SSD lifespan.”

Learn more about SSD choices on the Macrium blog.

( Photo by Rishabh Dharmani on Unsplash )

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