Ask the Expert

Setting up a centralized backup in a NAS and SAN, part 1

We're new to NAS and SAN but need to set up a centralized backup possibly, using Veritas Backup Exec.

What is the difference and best option in setting them up to back up about 10 servers in one location and three in another? Also, we're implementing Fibre for all locations.

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The backup software you choose, the servers you run it on and the type of backup you choose all depends on:

  • How many servers you need to back up
  • The total amount of data you back up daily
  • The speed of your network
  • The time you have for backup

All of these issues affect your backup decisions.

For your environment, I would use a backup application that can span both sites using media servers. I would install the backup software on one server at each location and have the ability to control the backup from either location. If you can take your applications down during backup or have the ability to do online backup by using application agents, then use that approach. Backup is a very interesting topic and one that needs to be covered in depth since it can make a huge difference in your budget and ability to restore when things go wrong. I have included an excerpt from Chapter 9 in my book, "Storage area networks for dummies."

Understanding backup:

Backup is the process of saving your data so that it can be restored in case of problems like such as system failure or data corruption. The process of backing up data is also known as data archiving. The most prevalent method used today for archiving your data is to move the data to tape drives for long-term storage. Tape media is cheap and you can store large amounts of data on a single tape. Tape drives are not the only media used though. You can also use optical media such as CDs or DVDs that are normally used for storing documents or music files.

Using disk drives for backup is becoming more prevalent these days as disks are becoming cheap enough to use as a media for archiving data.

You can choose from these different backup designs for backing up the servers that run your business.

Click here for part 2.

This was first published in April 2003

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