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Easing the Pain of NAS Backup Headaches

Installing NAS device after NAS device may be as easy as pie, but backing them all up can be a royal pain.

Installing NAS device after NAS device may be as easy as pie, but backing them all up can be a royal pain.

Backing up multiple NAS devices can be simplified by a back-end SAN, a road that's reportedly taken by about 25% of Network Appliance filer customers. Alternately, you can back up to an Ethernet-connected tape library using NDMP, Quantum's P-Series GbE library being an example.

But these are expensive options, says Srini Sankaran - CEO of DinoStor, who's recently announced TapeServer targets IT shops with multiple NAS devices that want to save money backing them up.

In essence a standalone NDMP server, TapeServer enables high-performance Ethernet-based backup of multiple NAS devices to existing SCSI tape resources, Sankaran says. In contrast, "NDMP conduit" - the practice of dedicating a NAS device to managing NDMP for the remaining NAS devices - results in poor file serving performance. "You pay a lot of money for file services, but with NDMP conduit, you're not using [the NAS server] as much more than a backup server."

In the future, Sankaran concedes that more tape libraries will follow in the footsteps of Quantum's P-Series GbE library. But in the meantime, he argues, TapeServer can help extend the life of existing SCSI tape drives and libraries.

Small business users implementing NAS, meanwhile, shouldn't have to worry about how backup at all - file services and backup should be bundled as a complete, integrated package, says Bob Murray, vice president of sales and marketing at Merlin Technologies, which recently announced its entry-level NAS server, EssentialServer 3.0.

In addition to up to 1.2TB of space, RAID 0, 1 and 5 and a journaling file system for fast reboots, the 12" by 12" cube also comes with full-fledged backup and recovery capabilities in the form of software, a tape drive and a CD-RW drive. It also includes PerfectCopy, software for Windows and Macintosh clients that monitors desktops for changes to files, and copies the updated files automatically to EssentialServer. It starts at $2,000 for a 40GB model.

Similarly, Quantum has begun recommending NAS/tape bundles. One combines its new 1U NAS server, the Guardian 4400, with its SuperLoader library. A second - the Guardian 14000 with an M1500 library. The 4400 also comes with an embedded backup utility for backup of up to five NAS clients over the network - a great option for "customers that have not yet committed to an enterprise-wide network backup scheme," says Quantum's Vicki Vollmar, director of product marketing.

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