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Backup Server Design

By PSX ·
I am looking for a backup solution to consolidate my various backup jobs into one backup server.

I currently have 3 servers, each with its own backup system (2 are using Veritas BackupExec and 1 using a proprietary backup software. All are using DDS3 tapes). 3 sets of backup tapes are made for each server, 1 set per week. So now, I have 15 tapes per week to rotate. This backup system is getting too cumbersome. I am planning to move to a single-server solution with a couple of high capacity hard drives and a high capacity tape drive. The new system will run Veritas BackupExec 9.0 and will back up the other servers over the current 10/100 LAN. The nighttime jobs will backup data from the various servers to disk while the daytime job will dump the data from disk to tape.

Advantages:
1) Quick restores from last backup
2) Still able to keep a 3-week off-site archive via tape
3) Cut down on the amount of tapes in rotation
4) Central (thus more manageable) storage system

Disadvantages:
1) Cost
2) Backups done over 10/100 switched network will increase backup window and may interferre with nighttime operations.

My question is: Is this plan feasible? Is it a good plan? Which HD should I use? Which tape drive should I use? Should I use RAID 0(temporary storage)?

Please provide your comments and/or alternate solutions.

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

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by CG IT In reply to Backup Server Design

backups are a pain in the butt. Always have been and most likely always will be. The more servers you got the worse it gets and no matter what media you use, it costs a freaking fortune and takes a heck of a long time to do.

cant' see much wrong with your plan. Yeah it costs but then backups always cost and the finance suits moan and groan [but then they lose something and we get it back for em they think we're gold].

Disk to disk use SCSI. Do disk to disk at the least amount of network traffic. I would make up a big disk rack that doesn't run anything on the network, stuff it full of SCSI drives, and do the network disk to disk dump at 2am to 5am. Then the tape backup off the disk rack whenever. Maybe get one of those hideously expensive tape changers, hook the bugger up to the disk rack and have someone you particularly dislike sit there and watch it while it dumps to tape.

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by CG IT In reply to

oh the SCSI thing is assuming your servers also run SCSI. The disk to disk runs at the slowest drive transfer rate so if you've got ATAs using SCSI isn't gonna speed up the dump.

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by PSX In reply to

Thanks for the response. This "question" should actually be posted as a discussion. I will stop posting questions and start creating new discussion threads.

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by rindi1 In reply to Backup Server Design

I'd say the idea is reasonable. I would add a 1GB network card to each server, get a corresponding switch and backup using that backbone. Otherwise, depending on the size of your backup you may run out of time, and considering the extra cost, it won't make that much difference.

The HD you should use depends once more on the amount of data. I'd go for something based on SATA. This is relativley new but promising technology, single HD sizes are usually larger than SCSI (200GB), it is a lot cheaper than SCSI, you can make all types of raid arrays (0, 1, 5, 10), you can add many disks to an array if the controller allows, because of the thin cabling there is much less restriction to airflow, guaranteeing better cooling. I'd use raid 5, this is the easiest to upgrade. Raid 0 doesn't make any sense, you don't need that speed on disks which get their data from a relativly slow network connection. I'd not use the fastest disks (7200rpm should be more than enough), that should get the disks to last longer.

The same goes for the tape drive it depends on the data size and your budget.

Probably Ultrium isn't bad, the tapes aren't that expensive either. Just don't get anything DAT, those tapes don't last long at all.

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by PSX In reply to

I added a 24-port Gigabit switch for use as the backbone for the server segement of my network to speed up both backup speed and inter-server communication. A gigabit fiberoptic link connects this switch to the rest of the network.

My backups are running at a blistering 860MB/min. My nightly backups take about 5 hours and the total, uncompressed size of the backed up data is about 46GB. The dump to tape takes about half an hour (because the data is compressed then dumped to tape).

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by PSX In reply to Backup Server Design

Disk speed is of minor importance since we are backing up from a 10/100 backbone, however, I'd like to have the extra speed just in case I upgrade to a Megabit backbone. A 5-port Megabit switch can be had for less than $100 nowadays and 2 of my 3 servers already have Megabit NICs in them. I think I'll upgrade the backbone for my servers before I do anything else. As for HD type, I'll go with SATA in 200GB capacity each. RAID5 introduces too much overhead for this application but it IS flexible...hrmm... My only remaining question concerns tape technology. I haven't done that much research into tape technologies. I will start but I'm sure TechRepublic members will surely have some suggestions. Please provide your input regarding tape technologies. I'm looking for something that can store about 50GB native (possibly 150GB compressed).

Also, Ultrium sounds good as the cartridges are reliable and tough.

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by PSX In reply to Backup Server Design

I've found a very promising disk-to-disk-to-tape product by Certance: CP 3100 Rack (model CP3101R1-160-S)
http://www.certance.com/products/disk-based/cp3100/CP3101R1-160-S

This unit is a 1U device that has a built-in 160GB HD and will emulate a DDS4 or DAT 72 (DDS5?) tape drive. Your tape software will dump its data to this device's HD then the device will dump that data to DDS4 or DAT72 tape. The only problem I see with this is that, even with DAT 72 cartridges, I am only allowed to swap out 1 72GB (compressed) tape per day. I only need to backup about 60GB right now but I'd appreciate a little more head room if I am to invest in a new backup system.

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by ippirate In reply to Backup Server Design

For what its worth, my two cents...

On your tapes I would recommend LTO/SDLT. I've used both and performance is good. Also they provide the space and growth room you indicate toward. I concur, stay away from DAT, it's trash and slooooooowwwwwwww.

As to the rest, RAID 5 over Gigabit. You can use existing cabling at cat5 and still see increases in throughput over shorter distances. RAID 5 is going to give you the easiest maintnenance/update/etc. to data integrity. SATA is new, fast and cheap but being completely biased I would still go SCSI if you can afford it. The pricing today is going to be effected more by vendor and you can leverage that to pricing. A good play on that side is playing the Dell/HP/CDW Delta. Those three are willing to take out all the stops against each other.

Overall, if I read your question correctly you should be able to implement relatively cheaply, especially when you ROI old vs. new. The one thing that you do need to put at the forefront is how valuable is the data. This is always the primary consideration for any backup project and it will give you the best foundation for the decisions involved.

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by PSX In reply to

While my company can live without the most recent (last 3 days) backup of the data mentioned here, it is nonetheless important to us (45Gigs worth of data is no joke). I do have a 3-week backup rotation in place so worst comes to worst we'll always have the backups for the last 13 or 14 days. Costs, however, is an important factor to us as our IT budget has been stretched thin this year. Also, there really isn't anything wrong with our current backup system (aside from the large amount of tapes in rotation and the use of DDS3 technology) so I'm really looking for the best bang for the buck D2D2T solution, as applicable to a small business environment.

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by razz2 In reply to Backup Server Design

I like your solution but agree with the others on the technology.
I would just as easily use SATA or SCSI. 7200 RPM or 10,000
RPM disk would both be fine. The question of tape space is
tough though. I found this article which is interesting:

http://www.esj.com/news/article.aspx?EditorialsID=784

razz

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