Backup-to-disk performance tuning


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Disk advantages
Disk-based backup offers several advantages over tape:

  • Lower cost
  • Increased reliability and speed
  • Reduced complexity
  • Scalability
Because of this company's high rate of data growth, the scalability offered by disk was crucial. With its Unix backup server using Symantec's Veritas Storage Foundation, it could grow its backup storage on the fly with zero impact to backup operations. By analyzing existing level-zero and incremental backups, it was possible to size a backup system to accommodate data-retention requirements. The final system design included two 20TB Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) 9570V modular storage systems (one at each site), with McData Corp. Eclipse 1620 SAN routers (McData is in the process of being acquired by Brocade Communications Systems Inc.). The backup server, media servers and primary site backup storage were added to an existing SAN, while the McData Eclipse 1620 SAN routers connected the second array at the remote site to the primary production SAN. The existing tape resources will now be used for backups with retention past three months and for archiving (see "New disk-based backup system," below).

Because backup to disk was new technology for this company, it wanted to evaluate any proposed solutions before making a purchase. This was a particularly difficult requirement because most storage vendors

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won't allow customers to evaluate their disk systems in their data centers. But most vendors will offer the use of their integration labs, which are usually quite extensive. However, it's difficult to reproduce the customer environment exactly down to the block level. So HDS offered a "try and then buy" option.

This was first published in September 2006

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