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Vol. 4 No. 7 September 2005

VTL remedies backup woes

A backup environment is a delicate thing whose overall fitness depends on the health of its individual members. At Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), a consortium of Boston-area hospitals, the backup ecosystem was grossly out of balance. Throwing it out of sync was the tape library--an aging six-drive, 60-slot LTO-1 model that was responsible for backing up approximately 100 Windows and Linux servers with about 20TB of data among them. Because much of CHA's data is sensitive patient records, many of the systems require daily full backups. That meant CHA was doing backup 24/7, leaving no time for upgrades, much less unplanned downtime. When it came time to do a restore, CHA would have to pause its backups altogether. The system was generating so many tapes that CHA didn't have room in its data center to store them all, forcing them to ship the tapes to an alternate data center a few city blocks away where they could also perform restores. Furthermore, because primary backups were being performed 24 hours a day, CHA couldn't ...

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