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New backup strategies

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Veritas' NetBackup 6.0 works better with disk

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Veritas Software Corp.'s NetBackup 6.0 addresses a number of manageability limitations with its disk storage units (DSUs), Veritas' term for disk-as-disk backup targets. NetBackup 6.0 users will now be able to configure the size of each DSU, point backups to a group of DSUs, and have those backups failover to other DSUs based on a choice of usage algorithms. Disk-staging storage units (DSSUs) will be able to perform multiple, simultaneous de-staging processes.

It gets a lot more interesting, however, when a Network Appliance Inc. NearStore device is used as a NetBackup DSU. With a NetBackup 6.0 master/media server, NearStore will perform data reduction techniques on the incoming NetBackup data stream, significantly reducing the amount of actual disk it will take to store full and incremental backups, thus reducing the effective per-gigabyte cost of the total solution. The next version of NetBackup will present backups as NFS- and CIFS-mountable snapshots, allowing a user to browse through their backed up files without using the NetBackup GUI or bothering NetBackup administrators. While this is a great feature, storage administrators should consider its security implications before a company-wide implementation.

If you have a centralized data center with a four-hour recovery time objective (RTO), a 24-hour recovery point objective (RPO), a 24-hour synchronicity requirement and an eight-hour backup window, you can stop reading now. But if your backup requirements include remote, unattended data centers, a five-minute RTO, a 15-minute RPO or a non-existent backup window, keep reading.

This article is the final installment of a three-part series on disk-based data protection. The first two parts covered how to use disk to enhance traditional backup systems. The focus now turns to disk-based data protection options that could replace one or more parts of a backup system. The options include snapshots, replication, continuous data protection (CDP) and data reduction backup (DRB). These technologies will reduce backup and restore times, and help meet requirements such as RTO, RPO, backup window and synchronicity.

RTO--how long it takes to recover a system--can range from zero seconds to several days or even weeks. Each piece of information serves a business function, so the question is how long the business can live without that function. If the business can't live without it for one second, then the RTO is zero.

RPO is determined by how much data a business can afford to lose. If the business can lose three days' worth of a set of data, then the RPO is three days. If the data is real-time transactions essential to the business, the RPO is zero for that application.

There can also be an RPO for a group of machines. If several systems are related to each other, they may need to be recovered to the same point in time. This is the synchronicity requirement; to meet it, all related systems have to be backed up at exactly the same time.

This was first published in June 2005

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