Ask the Expert

Five backup options to consider when implementing a SAN/NAS solution - Part 2

I have just presented a storage strategy for my organization that has been very well received based on a SAN/NAS solution. I have, however, been asked if I can review the options of getting rid of tapes all together so I would have to backup to disk or something else like optical storage. I need to ensure compliance to both backup/restore and archiving polices so is this practical? I have about 2TB of data presently on DAS growing at about 600GB a year. Backups at the moment go onto 10 tape devices.

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4. Use remote tape backup

One easy method to provide off-site archive requirements is to connect to a tape drive at the remote location over an extended SAN network, or over an iSCSI IP network. Your backup jobs remain exactly the same except you move the tape library off-site. You can use DWDM to extend the Fibre Channel fabric or use iSCSI over fast Ethernet to connect to the remote library.

5. Snapshots in the local SAN, then backup snapshot to tape

This is the fastest backup method available today. You use the advanced storage array functionality to instantly "snap" a picture of your data volumes. That's your backup window. The time it takes to quiesce writes to disk, snap the image and resume writes. This process usually takes only seconds with any good snapshot firmware. You may have to pre-allocate these volumes with some storage arrays and some arrays do not support RAID for the snapshots, or if they do, may not support RAID5, only RAID1. (You want to waste the least space as possible). Once the snapshot is taken, you mount the snapshot to the backup server. This removes the production volumes from the backup process, which virtually eliminates your backup window. The snapshots can also be used to instantly recover your data in case of primary disk failure, viruses, or data corruption.

Hope this helps.

Chris

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This was first published in December 2002

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