Server-free backup, which uses a copy device rather than a server to move data, can offer significant savings and flexibility. However it is more complex than a conventional approach to backup and getting a payoff depends on identifying and avoiding other bottlenecks that slow data flow in backup. To minimize risks and maximize returns,

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ATTO Technology recommends going from a conventional non-shared tape backup system to server-free backup in two steps.

The first step is to upgrade existing backup systems to LAN-free backup using a high-speed connection, such as Fibre Channel between the devices to be backed up and the pool of backup devices. This provides an immediate performance improvement by replacing the LAN as the data moving channel for backups with something faster as well as identifying other possible bottlenecks and proving out the basic backup architecture.

Once the LAN-free backup is successfully implemented, you then can add a copy device and bring the system up to full server-free backup.

ATTO discusses this option in a white paper titled "Implementing a Fibre Channel Strategy For Tape Backup Systems" on its Web site.

Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

This was first published in March 2003

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