Ask the Expert

Backing up with tapes and disks

Here is what I'm trying to accomplish. Each night we backup all our servers to two separate DLT tape drives equaling about 100gb total. Tapes rotate through a two-week cycle. I want to replace the tape backups each night with a backup to disk. I would then backup to tape from there. This would afford me faster backups at night plus quick easy access to files that need restored.

Every NAS vendor hints at this ability but never exactly spells it out clearly on how to accomplish this. We use Veritas backup and version 8.6 advertises the ability to backup to NAS devices. Here's how I see it from what I've pieced together from this and that NAS Web site. Please tell me if I'm going down the right road or if not where I'm messing up.

I would need a NAS with over a TB of available disk space. I want all two weeks of backup available on disk and at roughly 100gb a night for two weeks and for growth, I should probably look for over 2TB. After that I'm guessing that I would probably need a server with Veritas 8.6 loaded and also place the SuperDLT tape drive in that server. The server would act as the backup server and place the backups on the NAS. Am I right so far?

Then after the backup is finished I could copy them to the SDLT for off site storage. Maxtor sells NASs with SCSI ports on the back and the Windows 2000 OS lite. Could I attach the SDLT to the NAS itself and copy to tape then? Are these Windows 2000 lite NAS systems able to have the Veritas backup run directly off them?

Any help in this direction would be a great help. Thanks.

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There are a number of questions in your e-mail. Let me try to summarize.

1. How do I backup to a NAS device?
That's simple. Simply CIFS-mount the NAS device to the backup server, and create a disk-based backup device on the CIFS mount. Then you use that device as the destination.

2. Once I've done that, how do I get those backups to tape?
You need to COPY these disk images to tape, not back them up to tape. You need to copy them in such a way that once they are on tape, restores can be performed directly from tape without having to go through the NAS device first. WithVeritas NetBackup, this is done using bpduplicate or bpvault. I am unsure how (or if) this can be accomplished with Veritas Backup Exec.

3. Can the embedded Windows NAS servers use a regular Veritas client?
Yes, they can. That is one of their main selling points over filers from the likes of Network Appliance that must be backed up via NFS/CIFS or NDMP.

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This was first published in May 2002

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