Backup Bandwidth Requirements

When backing up your data, it is essential to bear in mind the transfer rate at which the data is being saved to your backup device.  Even if you have a device with plenty of storage space, your data will not transfer quickly unless your bandwidth has adequate capacity to deliver the appropriate transfer rate.

The other common confusion is the specification of bits or Bytes.  Transmission speeds are stated in bits (always with a lower case b), i.e., 20Mbps.  On the other hand, storage is stated in Bytes (always with an upper case B), i.e., 20MB.

As an example, let’s assume that you have a 1 Terabyte device (1TB) and you need to transfer the data to another device. Let’s compare how long this will take with two different bandwidths (10Mbps per second and 100 Mbps).

Case 1: Transfer Rate of 10 Mbps

First, let’s convert all the numbers to bytes:

1TB = 1 000 000 000 000 bytes

10Mbps = 1 250 000 bytes per second

Therefore transferring 1TB over a 10Mbps connection would take approximately 240 hours.

Case 2: Transfer rate of 100 Mbps

Again, let’s convert the numbers to bytes:

1 TB = 1 000 000 000 000 bytes

100 Mbps = 12 500 000 bytes per second

Therefore transferring 1TB over a 100 Mbps connection would take approximately 24 hours.

Obviously, Case 2 is a much better option.  Make sure to pay attention to the units and suffixes involved when discussing bandwidth.  Hearing ‘ten megs per second’ can be very misleading because it doesn’t tell you whether or not it’s bits or bytes of data.  Remember that 1 Byte = 8 bits, so a transfer rate of 10 Mbps is equivalent to 1.25 MBps, where capital B represents bytes and lowercase b represents bits.

By increasing your bandwidth, you decrease the time it takes to back up your data. Think of it as if you needed to empty a swimming pool; Would you rather drain it with an industrial hose or a drinking straw?

It is not always possible to access an industrial hose when it comes to your data requirements – infrastructure can be costly and resource sensitive. This is why IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service – is an advantageous option for SMB.


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