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What is Real Time and How Does It Apply to Data Recovery?

When it comes to computing, “real time” has several definitions. It can mean a process that projects a hypothetical event, such as a rocket launch, as it would occur in real time; such data could be used to project consequences or results. It can also mean an application considered to be “mission critical”; that is, it must complete before a stated deadline, or else to be considered to have failed. An example of this second definition is the computer operation of anti-lock breaks in automobiles–there is a short time during emergency braking in which the brakes must be released to prevent wheel locking.

That second definition of “Real time” could also be applied to an application such as data protection. Most data protection schemes, such as backups, are non-real-time. While data is protected weekly or every several days when backups occur, data is not always protected. For example, if a file is lost between backups that did not exist at the last backup, that file is lost forever and must be reconstructed. Or, if it has been substantially modified since the last backup, considerable time and effort has to go into redoing those modifications.

Real time data protection could certainly be considered to be “mission critical.” While a call to the help desk of “Help! I’ve accidentally deleted my file!” can seem simply annoying, it moves quickly outside that category when it’s revealed that the file was a report that is vitally needed for a client presentation and that it’s going to take several hours for IT personnel to search through backups for the last saved version. Accidental file deletions can cost companies thousands or even tens of thousands in lost income, depending on the situation.

A real time data protection solution is exactly that: it allows real time recovery, with an instant click of the mouse, of any accidentally deleted file. While the Windows Recycle Bin will allow recovery of any file saved on a local hard drive, it will not recover files saved across a network to a server–as most files are in today’s enterprises. Real time data protection replaces the Windows Recycle Bin with one of its own, allowing recovery of files even if they were saved across a network.

This relatively small investment in the latest “real time” solution will save a company tremendously in lost time and money.

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