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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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Features in this issue

  • Use mainframes for backups

    You can put that big iron sitting in your data center to better use by using it to back up open-systems data, too. The net effect is a streamlined backup and disaster recovery operation.

  • Any-point-in-time backups

    by  Brad O'Neill

    Continuous data protection captures changes at a file- or block-level as they happen, and provides running recovery journals for all historical data states. This shifts data protection to a more flexible any-point-in-time framework.

  • 10 basic steps for better backup

    The most evident common denominator in well-functioning backup infrastructures is effective process and control. This checklist highlights 10 areas you should focus on to build a better backup practice.

  • Make tape libraries work with all platforms

    If tape libraries could share IT resources and data across all processing platforms, data center complexity and cost could be dramatically reduced.

  • Sizing up VTLs

    Virtual tape libraries present disk as tape, so backup apps can perform backups as usual, regardless of the physical backup infrastructure. Learn about hardware and software VTLs, the benefits of each and how they might fit into your backup operation.

  • Does host-based replication still make sense?

    Host-based replication is a mature technology, but it's often not considered an option for architectures that support quick recovery. But there are many cases where a host-based option may fit.

  • VTL remedies backup woes

    VTLs remedy tape bottlenecks...

  • Cisco's switch-based backup

    Serverless backup can take the load off servers and ease network traffic. Cisco uses Xcopy on its MDS 9000 switch for serverless backup; see how it compares to other methods and products.

  • Used tape sales on the rise

    by  Alex Barrett

    Pre-used tapes are becoming a popular and inexpensive trend among IT professionals. Become familiar with the possible risks of using used tape in your environment.

  • How disk has changed backup

    Inexpensive disk has spawned a variety of disk-based backup alternatives. But with more choices comes greater complexity compared to the days when you simply had to choose a backup application and tape library. Backup guru W. Curtis Preston explains the advantages of using disk for backup, including virtual tape libraries and disk-as-disk backup targets, and discusses the pros and cons of alternative disk-based backup methods.

Columns in this issue

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