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The Future of the Data Selection Process

The Future of the Data Selection Process

posted in Backup & Recovery ● 16 Sep 2015

When using any software application, at some point some form of data selection is done so that a user or program may interact with it. And as such, when it comes to selecting data for backup it is usually the user’s responsibility to decide which data is included or not.

To make this more applicable to cloud backup, selection is the process by which you add the files that you would like to back up by using the graphical user interface of the backup software.

Types of Data Selection

When you’re presented with the task of selecting data, the simplest and most basic method is including or excluding files and folders based on your business’s operational requirements, in this instance for cloud backup.

But software engineers and user experience designers have since improved and detailed the manner in which backup software allows you to select the relevant data. Here are a few examples of more specialised data selection options:

1.      Profession- and industry-specific. Depending on your profession or the industry in which you work, you are likely to back up certain types of files more than others. For instance, a graphic designer would back up their design application files and exports more than writers, who would mostly back up text based applications. To simplify the selection process, the user can utilise “filters” and specify the importance of relevant file formats.

2.      Newly created files and updated or edited files. By using this selection tool, backup software gives you the option to scan your hard drive and check for files that were created after the last backup ran. These files are automatically included in the next scheduled backup. These files can also be prioritised for the next backup. A scheduler in your backup software will be able to automate this selection process in order to simplify it for the user.

3.      Data selection for bare-metal restore. In order to perform a bare-metal restore you have to schedule a bare-metal backup. This means backing up everything, really everything needed to restore an entire computer system from “bare metal” without needing an operating system or installed software and applications. Bare-metal restore backups differ from simple data backups: the applications and operating system are included in the initial backup. So, the selection process is simplified: include EVERYTHING.

Future Ideals in Data Selection for Backups

1.      Selection automation. Removing the human element in the selection process of data for online backup would be a great step forward. A wonderful idea would be to use artificial intelligence and telemetry to determine which data is used most often and is therefore most important, then automatically adding that to the backup schedule.

2.      Selection suggestions. Again, by making use of AI and telemetry, the backup software application could chronicle previous favourite file formats that were backed up and suggest these to be added to the backup schedule. This could be particularly useful with larger files that wouldn’t necessarily be added by basic selection automation.

3.      Automated archiving. Backup software applications could detect files that have not been accessed for a significant period of time, say, 3 months or longer, and automatically move them to an archive during the backup process. This could be a cost-effective manner to store data without using premium space. This type of selection process will also minimise human overhead spent sorting through files in order to determine their access rate. 


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