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Back up NAS over SAN

NAS can be hard to back up. This tip recommends backing up the NAS filers over the SAN.

Back up NAS over SAN
Rick Cook

Network Attached Storage (NAS) provides a fast, flexible method of adding more storage, but it presents problems when you are backing up. The most common solutions are to attach a backup system, such as a tape library, directly to the NAS filer, which requires a separate backup device for each filer, or to back up over the LAN to a central backup system, which can severely degrade network performance during backup.

Another solution for enterprises that have both a Storage Area Network (SAN) and NAS filers is to back up the NAS filers over the SAN, providing "LAN-free" backup for the NAS filers. This is becoming more attractive as the number of enterprises using both storage solutions grows and more NAS filers offer Fibre Channel backup capability. In addition, SAN and NAS manufacturers have started cooperating to offer SAN/NAS backup solutions.

For example, Brocade Communications Systems Inc. ( and Network Appliance Inc. ( recently announced a cooperative effort to allow users of Network Appliance NAS filers to back up over Brocade SANs using Network Appliance's FC Fabric Tape SAN backup software. In this system the SAN is used to move the data to centralized storage, such as a tape library, for backup, while the LAN is used only for communication between the NAS filers and the backup devices.

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.

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Related Book

Unix Backup and Recovery
Author : W. Curtis Preston
Publisher : O'Reilly & Associates
Summary :
Unix Backup and Recovery provides a complete overview of all facets of Unix backup and recovery, and offers practical, affordable backup and recovery solutions for environments of all sizes and budgets. The book begins with detailed explanations of the native backup utilities available to the Unix administrator, and ends with practical advice on choosing a commercial backup utility.

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