Calling It: When to Perform a Bare Metal Recovery

You've been trying to fix it, but nothing's working. Sometimes, it's time to just wipe the slate clean and recover the whole system from a backup.

Bare metal recoveries – the nuclear option of your backup arsenal. When the battle to recover your data seems completely lost, that’s when it’s time to break out your backups and perform a BMR.

But how do you know when to go to all that effort? Here’s what a BMR is, and what circumstances you should perform one.

What is a Bare Metal Recovery?

Bare metal recovery, also known as BMR or bare metal restore, is a data recovery technique where you use a backup to restore your computer system from “bare metal”. All you need is the hardware – there is no need for a previously installed piece of software or operating system.

If you’ve got an image backup of your full system volume, you can perform a BMR any time. This is why you should make sure your first backup is one of your entire system, and that you perform full image backups regularly, as opposed to just file level backups.

Being able to perform a BMR is also one of the major reasons you don’t want to go with a copy-paste solution for your data, and why you want to spend time considering the reliability of your backup solution. Software that allows you to perform a BMR is no good if, when push comes to shove, it can’t reliably deliver.

When Should I Perform a Bare Metal Recovery?

Your server is destroyed: Your server has been completely ruined by something like flooding, fire, or severe physical damage. In this scenario, you need to replace the physical server and recover to the new machine. BMR is pretty much the best and only option for recovering your entire server.

Your server or its location is inaccessible: Again, this could occur due to things like natural disasters. Even though the server may be fine, you may want to perform a BMR so you can access it in another location.

O/S Corruption: Something has corrupted your O/S in an irreversible way. Rather than reinstall everything, sometimes it’s better to just clean the system and wind back the clock with a bare-metal recovery.

System drive failure: Sometimes when a crucial system drive fails and there is no successful failover solution, you might want to perform a BMR to save time and effort.

O/S has a virus or malware: Viruses and malware can be a real pain to get off your system, and sometimes it’s hard to know if you ever really got rid of it. That’s why finding a clean backup and performing a BMR can give you a lot of peace of mind.

User sabotage: Users, particularly those with too much admin access, can cause a lot of damage. When the damage is too great, or you don’t know what was done to the system, it is sometimes better to play it safe and start over from a trusted backup.

Legal Request:  Typically, if you’re asked for data for legal reasons, they’re asking for a backup or a copy of specific data. However, there can be times when to access that data, you need to perform a full system recovery.

Ransomware: Similar to having your O/S infected, if your data is being held to ransom, you’ll often want to clear the entire system and start from scratch rather than pay for it back.

Using Backup Software for Bare Metal Recovery

BackupAssist is the #1 ranked backup and DR solution for Windows Servers. It includes a wide host of features, including the ability to perform bare metal recoveries. You can try out the free 30-day trial here.

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