A number of vendors have now demonstrated the ability to back up large databases at rates approaching a terabyte per hour. Many of these demonstrations have been done using real-world hardware configurations of the sort that could be installed in any (well-financed) enterprise.
For example Sun's demonstration of backup rates of between 940 (online) and 1036 (raw device) megabytes per hour on an Oracle database were done with an array of standard hardware. It used a Sun Enterprise 6000 server with 17 Sun Model 112 storage arrays configured with a total of 30 2.1G Byte disk drives connected to the server by dual Fibre Channel interfaces. The arrays were configured with mirroring and striping. Basic backup devices were 24 Storage Technology SD-3 tape drives. The server was configured with 12 250 MHZ CPUs on six processor boards with a total of 2G Bytes of RAM. The remaining 10 slots on the server were populated with I/O cards and interfaces to the disk and tape drives. For the raw device demonstration an additional five Sun StorEdge DLT 7000 drives were added to the system.
Sun describes the demonstration in some detail in a white paper titled "High-Speed Database Backup on Sun Systems".
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.
Architectures and technologies for data protection and data backup will be discussed in detail at the upcoming free Storage Decisions Conference, to be held September 17 to 19 in Chicago. You can click here to register for the conference.