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Best practices for backup server configuration

What is the average system configuration of backup servers in midrange companies? Are they the company's best-performing servers? Average? Worst-performing? Do these servers typically do perform function or many?

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Best practices tell us that a backup server should never be the worst-performing server in your environment and should always be a dedicated system. Traditional backups can be very I/O-intensive since the backup server essentially copies all the data from various clients to storage devices.

Some backup software products also buffer a lot of transactions and information about those transactions, which means you also want to be generous with memory. The last thing you want is an I/O-intensive system that also needs to swap memory to disk. If your backup software is capable of CRC, uses an extensive index or catalog, you also want to ensure sufficient processing (CPU) capacity.

Depending on the interpretation of the term midrange company and most importantly, the volume of daily backup data, an average backup server could look like this: Dual CPU, 4-8 GB of memory and sufficient bus capacity to accommodate multiple network cards and Fibre Channel or SCSI adapters for storage devices. Most importantly, you must build your server for massive restores, not backups.



This was first published in March 2005

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