Ask the Expert

Taking a look at the new generation of serial ATA arrays

We're about to implement a our Managed Enterprise Storage Strategy (or M.E.S.S) to its friends! We currently have many disparate stovepipe type systems and each with its own backup schedule, media and device.

I want to consolidate all of this and come up with some ideas. However, I absolutely loathe tape and all the problems that it brings and I'm looking for an alternative.

Obviously, with the introduction of a SAN, we can hold say 24 hours worth of backup on disk either the SAN or cheap (really cheap) disk arrays hung off the back of backup servers. Bu, we do have requirements to keep backups for long periods of time although this may well change.

I've looked at Thinking Safe, i.e. offsite storage, and this looks quite promising but it's not cheap and obviously there are implications on bandwidth, etc. Any other ideas?


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Well, here's another suggestion. Have you looked at the new generation of serial ATA arrays that save data on the cheap? If performance isn't crucial, then these systems can provide a great alternative to more expense high-speed disk. I've already heard of a number of customers that have deployed serial ATA systems to do remote site replication. And, a number of vendors have pretty good management tools to go along with systems so it's worth a look.

Regardless of what you end up doing, look at the longer term operational and maintenance costs associated with doing a backup service vs. trying to host your own. And, in a number of cases it just makes sense to do it yourself when you can.

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This was first published in March 2003

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