Christmastime is around the corner, and the season once again makes this columnist wax lyrical. Here, to the tune of "The twelve days of Christmas," is my Yuletide to my loyal readers.

On the first day of Christmas my vendor sold to me
A new-fangled backup strategy.

On the second day of Christmas my vendor sold to me
Dual-ported drives
And a new-fangled backup strategy.

On the third day of Christmas my vendor sold to me
Three mirrored arrays,
Dual-ported drives
And a new-fangled backup strategy

On the fourth day of Christmas my vendor sold to me
Four gateway/bridges,
Three mirrored arrays,
Dual-ported drives
And a new-fangled backup strategy.

On the fifth day of Christmas my vendor sold to me
A tape library,
Four gateway/bridges,
Three mirrored arrays,
Dual-ported drives
And a new-fangled backup strategy.

On the sixth day of Christmas my vendor sold to me
Six virtualization methods,
A tape library,
Four gateway/bridges,
Three mirrored arrays,
Dual-ported drives
And a new-fangled backup strategy.

On the seventh day of Christmas my vendor sold to me
Seven incompatible switches,
Six virtualization methods,
And a tape library,
Four gateway/bridges,
Three mirrored arrays,
Dual-ported drives
And a new-fangled backup strategy.

On the eighth day of Christmas my vendor sold to me
Eight SRM tools,
Seven

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incompatible switches,
Six virtualization methods,
A tape library,
Four gateway/bridges,
Three mirrored arrays,
Dual ported drives
And a new-fangled backup strategy.

On the ninth day of Christmas my vendor sold to me
Nine security servers,
Eight SRM tools,
Seven incompatible switches,
Six virtualization methods,
A tape library,
Four gateway/bridges,
Three mirrored arrays,
Dual-ported drives
And a new-fangled backup strategy.

On the tenth day of Christmas my vendor sold to me
Ten custom cables,
Nine security servers,
Eight SRM tools,
Seven incompatible switches,
Six virtualization methods,
A tape library,
Four gateway/bridges,
Three mirrored arrays,
Dual-ported drives
And a new-fangled backup strategy.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my vendor sold to me
Eleven firmware revisions,
Ten custom cables,
Nine security servers,
Eight SRM tools,
Seven incompatible switches,
Six virtualization methods,
A tape library,
Four gateway/bridges,
Three mirrored arrays,
Dual-ported drives
And a new-fangled backup strategy.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my vendor sold to me
A twelve-month maintenance contract,
Eleven firmware revisions,
Ten custom cables,
Nine security servers,
Eight SRM tools,
Seven incompatible switches,
Six virtualization methods,
A tape library,
Four gateway/bridges,
Three mirrored arrays,
Dual-ported drives
And a new-fangled backup strategy.

On the thirteenth day of Christmas my vendor gave to me
The bill for prior sales collectively.
And for what I found us paying for this backup strategy...

I could have bought a Porsche,
Or paid off my home mortgage,
Or hired some new faces,
(I have to now in any case)
To help me manage storage
And get backups all in order,
Oh, woe is me!

Instead I bought a SAN,
A half-baked
Solution to my pain
When instead I could have
Built a DDT.

Yes, disk-to-disk-to-tape would have met with all my needs,
if I'd only have thought the problem through.
If you are thinking about a SAN to address your backup speeds
Please consider this advice I offer you.

First, you take two tiers of disk arrays and connect them with IP
It's a cheap road to connectivity.
Make the tier 1 disk all SCSI if you think you need the speed,
But make tier 2 arrays all IDE.

Then use virtually any software to move data in between.

Mirror if you want to;
or use tape emulation;
HSM it if you're fancy;
Or script a simple copy;

(The point is just to) move it locally...

Then, use a third party
Backup driver,
Like good old NDMP,
To copy tier 2 data over to tier 3 (tape).

DDT configurations are much simpler than SANs
And tier 2 disk provides some added perks
While your data copy sits there, perform a virus scan...

And clean out all the stale stuff,
Delete the Britney Spears vids,
And all those MP3 files,
And maybe do some stubbing
(see Avamar's "commonality factoring")
To reduce the backup set size
And save yourself some tape cost...

Add some headers to your files!

Making data self describing
Will make your
Administrative hassles less:
Just a few things you can do with DDT.

Merry Christmas 2002, readers.


About the author: Jon William Toigo has authored hundreds of articles on storage and technology and authors the monthly SearchStorage.com "Toigo's Take on Storage" expert column. He is also a frequent site contributor on the subjects of storage management, disaster recovery and enterprise storage. Toigo has authored a number of storage books, including Disaster recovery planning: Preparing for the unthinkable, 3/e.

This was first published in December 2002

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