contents] [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy This content was adapted from Internet.com's Enterprise Storage Forum, Enterprise IT Planet, and InternetNews Web sites. Contributors: Drew Robb, Mike Harwood, Henry Newman, and Paul Shread. 2 Don't Let Backup Take a Backseat 2 Drew Robb 4 Getting Backup Right Henry Newman 7 Backup Strategies Mike Harwood 4 7 13 Finding a Disaster Recovery Solution That Won't Break the Bank Drew Robb 16 Small Businesses Turn to Online Backup 13 16 Drew Robb Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp. 1 [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy ] Don’t Let Backup Take a Backseat By Drew Robb “What people should do, but often don't, is start with W ith storage requirements moving into the tera-, peta- and exabyte ranges, companies need to the recovery requirements,” says W. Curtis Preston, vice refine their backup strategies to ensure availability president of Framingham, Mass., storage consultancy of their growing data stores. GlassHouse Technologies, Inc. “Many data centers still perform This means determining the backup operations the same they Recovery Time Objective (how have for decades – and it does quickly the data needs to be not work any more,” says Lauren restored) and Recovery Point Whitehouse, an analyst at Objective (how current the data Enterprise Strategy Group. “It is must be) for each class of data time to re-evaluate the capabili- and creating a plan that meets ties and requirements, and reset those requirements. expectations – just because a 4GB Oracle database could be 2. Save files to disk before recovered in three hours in 1987 migrating them to tape. doesn't mean it can be today when the database is 4TB.” “Disk staging makes a huge dif- ference, shrinking backup win- Accordingly, Enterprise IT Planet dows by as much as three quar- interviewed several storage ters,” says Ramon Kagan, manag- experts and gleaned the follow- er of UNIX services at York ing tips for improving your own University in Toronto. “We are backup and restoration proce- able to do backups much faster dures. from the server standpoint and Jupiterimages then cycle it to tape during the 1. Plan in Reverse. day, saving people and servers a lot of time.” figure out what needs to be restored, and how fast, 3. Eliminate excess. and then devise an appropriate backup plan. Do you need to store daily copies of a file that hasn't “ Many data centers still perform backup operations the same they have for decades – and it does not work any more 2 ” Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp. [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy ] changed in six months, or the personal copies of an e- up).” mail the CEO sent to all employees? Deduplicating files reduces the amount of storage needed and 8. Store a copy of the recovery plan with the backup speeds backup times. data. “We have commonly seen 20-to-1 capacity reduction Particularly when there is a major disaster, those who using data de-duplication,” says Whitehouse. normally handle backup/restoration may not be avail- able. Storing a copy of the plan with the tapes allows 4. Have backups stored outside the disaster impact someone else to take the necessary steps. zone. 9. Test the restoration process before it is needed, At a minimum, backup tapes should be stored off site. and test it on the actual equipment that will be Better yet, all data is mirrored to a disaster recovery used. facility far enough away that it is still on line when the flood/hurricane/earthquake/blackout brings down the This is particularly critical when you are planning on primary data center. using a disaster recovery site that contains different servers or a different network architecture. When talk- 5. Track down and eliminate any network bottle- ing about a multitiered service, it doesn't do any good necks. to restore only one part. Or, if the application is used to looking for a piece of code or a file on a particular serv- Bottlenecks will slow down backup and restoration. This er in order to complete an operation, what will happen is particularly an issue with server virtualization, where if it's on a different server? So test the entire system, multiple virtual servers are using the same network not just whether the files restore properly. interface card and network connection. 10. Set up routine file restoration as a help desk “Make sure that you walk through the whole chain from function. client, to network, to server, to tape drive to ID bottle- necks,” says Preston. “You may be surprised to find It doesn't take a high level of expertise to restore that the bottleneck is Gb Ethernet to the tape drive. someone's accidentally deleted Word file. Tape drives are often too fast for the network inter- face.” “It is important to push as much of the restoration func- tion to the help desk so storage professionals can work 6. Minimize the number of backup products. on improving levels of service,” says Robert L. Stevenson, Managing Director, Storage, for TheInfoPro, There can be advantages to using a best-of-breed Inc. in New York City. “That will give you more flexibility product for a particular type of server, but make sure to handle growth and address areas where there are those advantages outweigh the cost and time of sup- inadequate backups.” I porting multiple products. 7. Use multiple layers of protection, where appropri- ate. “Depending on the business value, time sensitivity, and criticality of the data involved we apply different back- up methods,” says Dan Funchion, senior manager of IT Infrastructure/Operations for SunGard Availability Services, who is responsible for backing up or replicat- ing 30TB of data daily. “In many cases we will imple- ment multiple solutions for the same data sets (for example, remote replication combined with tape back- 3 Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp. [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy ] Getting Backup Right By Henry Newman started to gather their backup requirements and then I was recently at a customer site working to architect a backup solution for a large environment that contained their restoration requirements. scientific data. At this site, a majority of the data is under hierarchical storage management (HSM) control, but depart- The discussion led to some detailed information on mental network-attached storage servers for home directo- which machines were critical servers and which ries and smaller site-specific tasks were not being backed machines were not. We determined that the service up. agreement with the hardware vendor determined whether a The customer and I started machine was critical or not. If talking, and I realized that they have four-hour hardware both of us were approaching response around the clock, the backup problem back- then it was a critical machine, wards. We were looking at the and if a machine was next-day problem from the reference hardware service on weekdays point of how to back up the only, then it was not critical. I data, which is the wrong asked what their service-level approach. The problem with agreements with the user looking at things from the community were for software backup side first is that you restoration, including the might wind up planning an operating system and user architecture that cannot sup- data in the event of a disaster. port your restoration policy. The customer had not thought Jupiterimages So let's explore the reasons about how fast they had to why I think restoration is the most important thing that restore the data. needs to be planned, and some of the issues involved in planning and creating a restore policy. It dawned on me that the issue was not backup time, but the time it would take to restore the data. Backup Gathering Requirements is pretty easy — you can buy software from a variety of companies that can deal with big and small backup and I'm a big believer in gathering requirements at the start restore problems, but the hardware and other software of the process. When I was visiting this customer, I that is needed to restore the environment and meet “ The problem with looking at things from the backup side first is that you might wind up planning an architecture that cannot support your restoration policy. 4 ” Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp. [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy ] the expectation of the organization for coming back The key to all of these network issues is bandwidth and after a disaster are far more difficult. We have all delet- latency. If you have a large amount of data, you are ed a file that we wanted to get back, so you need to going to need a large amount of bandwidth to support consider not only the restoration of the system, but the the backup process. If you have many users that are process within the software for restoring a single file. active when you are using large amounts of network Gathering requirements for restoring data should bandwidth, you have the potential for a significant address two issues: latency problem for the user community. Add to this what happens if a machine needs to be restored in the • How are you going to restore the operating system middle of the day, and you could affect the whole busi- and what are the expectations for how long this will ness by using up all of the available network bandwidth take? for the restore. • How much user data will need to be restored and what are the expectations for how long this will take? Understanding the network topology and usage pat- terns and the impact that both an inopportune restore I once worked with a customer that wanted to use and your standard backup will have must be consid- backup and restore for a critical system that required ered. Sooner or later you will have to do a restore at 99.995 percent uptime. I told them that it would be the worst possible time. If this is a critical business impossible to get the 4TB of data restored in the issue, then you need to consider an architecture con- required time frame without hundreds of tape drives. cept we often use called "Engineering to Peak." What Once they understood the technology issues, they this means is that you develop an architecture with a changed from backup/restore to HSM because it met set of worst-case scenarios in mind. These scenarios are their operational requirements better — with the HSM documented and agreed to by all parties. system, they could get back online faster even though all of the data was not available on the primary storage. A good example might be that you use four-trunked The customer determined that not all the data was GigE for your network interface to the backup/restore needed when the system was booted. A complete system to meet your required restoration time. As part understanding of the service-level agreements you of this architecture, you have a single GigE as a hot have with the users is one of the first and most impor- standby in case one of the four GigEs fails. If two GigEs tant steps for the architectural planning process. fail, you cannot meet your restore service-level agree- ment. Since the chance of two failing are very low, as Some of the areas that must be planned are: long as this is documented and you have "engineered • Network configuration to peak," you have met your service-level agreement • The number of incremental backups compared to with management because everyone agreed that the full backups failure of two GigEs was not planned. • The backup medium. Incremental and Full Backups Network Configuration Incremental backups allow the backup process to take As part of the architecture process, the architect must far less time, but they lengthen the restoration process. consider a numbers of areas of network architecture. I As part of the backup and restoration planning process, am assuming that you are not doing a backup for each you need to determine how much time you have to machine with a separate tape drive, but a network restore a machine. Given that information, you can plan backup for a group of machines. Some of the network how many incremental backups you can have before issues include: you have to do a full backup. Remember to include • How much data will be backed up and at what tape pick, load, position, rewind, unload, and robot intervals? placement of tape as part of this time calculation. • What is the current and planned network infrastruc- ture? Backup Medium • What is the current and expected excess capacity available for backups? What is the backup medium? For the most part, tape is still the backup medium of choice. MAID technology, 5 Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp. [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy ] or massive array of inactive disks, is being used more Conclusions and more in the large environment backup market. One of the tradeoffs with MAID is that the MAID ven- Architecting for backup correctly means basing your dors do not currently support hardware compression, architecture on your restore requirements. Those which tape drives support. Of course, your compres- requirements will often vary for each machine in an sion mileage may vary depending on data type. environment, depending on how critical they are for your business. What many organizations' IT depart- Whatever technology you use, it is important to ensure ments do is set up a set of services for all the machines that the technology is cost-effective and meets your in the environment. This is often based on the hard- performance requirements. Having lower-cost DLT ware maintenance plans for the machines, since this is drives, compared to higher-cost drives from the likes of often a very good measure of the criticality of a IBM and StorageTek, might not make sense when you machine. consider that the compression of the drive and the higher performance allow you to have fewer drives, Whatever you decide, it's important to look at the fewer tapes and potentially a smaller robot. restore requirements first before you consider the back- up issues. You will need to test your restoration time at There are no simple answers because without good least once a year to make sure that the process works as planned, but we'll save that topic for another col- umn. I knowledge of your requirements, your data and the compressibility of that data, making decisions in this area is difficult. Add to this that some backup packages have the option of compression within the backup soft- ware, and you have a very confusing situation. The only way to figure this out is through real-world data. 6 Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp. [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy ] Backup Strategies By Mike Harwood ing with the backup window. I t is certainly not news to say that the amount of electronically stored data is growing. It's because of this increase in storage space requirements and the Dealing with Shrinking Backup trend toward data centralization that our backup solu- tions must scale to SAN and NAS storage demands in Windows terms of speeds, reliability, and security. Because of A backup window refers to the time it takes to com- the importance backups plete a given backup. This play in the design and backup window is deter- implementation of a storage mined by both the amount strategy, they must be care- of data that must be backed fully considered. up and by the speed of the network infrastructure that As we know, a backup is handles the data. For some simply a copy of electronic organizations, the backup data that is used as a means window doesn't present any of recovery should the data real problems. Such organi- become lost, corrupted, or zations typically have the compromised. Though the ability to complete data definition of a backup may backups in the off hours be straightforward, the actu- without running into produc- al implementation of a stor- tion time. age backup solution can be a difficult task that encom- However, as the amount of passes many obvious and data grows, so too does the Jupiterimages not so obvious considera- time it takes to perform the tions. backup, and soon backups will run into production time. Further, many organizations today do not have Lets explore some of the factors to consider when an off hours period — they require network access implementing a backup solution for a storage area 24/7, leaving a very small or even nonexistent backup network, starting with one consideration that dates window. back to the origin of the Local Area Network — deal- “ Because of the importance backups play in the design and implementation of a storage strategy, they must be carefully considered. 7 ” Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp. [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy ] The Data Pileup: Save There are many ways to address the backup window Money or Save Data? issue, and the one chosen will depend on the needs of the organization, budgets, and of course the G amount of data that must be backed up. Some of the methods used for operating within a backup window By Judy Mottl include using differential and incremental backups, snapshots, hardware and infrastructure upgrades, and iven how cheap storage has become, it's potentially modifying the network backup design understandable enterprises are expanding arrays to house growing data. But stocking up on hardware and software to hold more and using server-free and LAN-free backups. more information is a costly misstep, according to a Backup Alternatives Gartner report. New regulations and legal concerns are likely Starting at the beginning, some of the oldest methods of dealing with the backup window are using incre- prompting IT to keep every bit and byte of data just mental or differential backups instead of regularly per- in case some litigation issue arises, and since stor- forming full backups. Before designing a backup solu- age costs are decreasing, the urge to push another tion with these methods, it's important to first have a box into play can be tempting. solid understanding of backups in general and what The problem is that data growth will very quickly outpace the savings in storage, according to Whit each of the alternatives is designed to do. Andrews, an analyst at Gartner. A full backup saves all directories and files, and while it might sound ideal to perform a full backup every "It's time for companies to modernize storage time we back up our data, the backup window often strategies and understand how information access prevents this. Because of the time and media space a technology can be a good tool for making sure they full backup can take, they are often restricted to a need what they're keeping," Andrews told weekly or monthly schedule, although the increasing InternetNews.com. According to Gartner, the highest reported price in speed and capacity of backup media is making nightly the first quarter of this year for managed storage full backups a much more realistic proposition, even for those with hundreds of gigabytes of data. was $12.50 per gigabyte per month, and the lowest was $0.29 per gigabyte per month for archive stor- Full backups, if you have the time to perform them, age needs. offer the ultimate in data protection. In effect, a single A recent survey of Gartner clients reported that none expected its storage budget to decrease this tape, or set of tapes, can provide the ability to com- year, and that 67 percent expected the budget for pletely resurrect a server to its current state. Full back- storage hardware to increase. Of those polled, 64 ups are not, however, without their drawbacks; one of which is security-related. Each tape contains an entire percent also expected storage software costs to copy of the data on a given server. If the tape were to increase as well. be stolen, the thief would then have an entire copy of the data. Just a quick look at backup storage provides a clear view of how storage costs are decreasing. Prices dropped by about 30 percent from 2006 to 2008, The Incremental Backup according to Gartner. But then cheap storage isn't really cheap when The incremental backup provides a much faster additional management costs and increased power method of backing up data than a full backup. During and cooling costs are factored in. an incremental backup only the files that have changed since the last full or incremental backup are included. Because of this, the time it takes to conduct Enterprises that choose to retain everything run the backup may be a fraction of the time it takes to the risk of significant future costs, Gartner report- perform a full backup. To determine whether a file has ed. Also, the longer information is saved, the hard- er it is to discern value, according to the survey. continued changed since the last full backup, the backup soft- ware checks a setting known as the 'archive bit.' 8 Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp. [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy ] Information-Access tools When a file is changed in any way or copied from one area of the disk to another, the archive bit is set to Companies need to create a clear distinction on indicate that, at the next scheduled backup, the file which data should be saved on primary storage and needs to be copied or archived. Full backups do not what data should be housed on cheaper secondary concern themselves with whether or not the archive storage, as the costs vary greatly in terms of hard- bit is set before backing a file up, but they do clear ware and software. Gartner provided a scenario, using a rough estimate the bit after the file has been copied to tape. Any files of $5 per gigabyte for backup storage and a genera- that then change have the archive bit set, indicating that they need to be backed up again. tion rate of 10 gigabytes per employee per year. A 5,000-worker company faces annual costs of $1.25 Unlike differential, which does not clear the archive bit million for five years of storage with those finan- after copying a file, incremental backups clear the bit cials. Cutting the amount of data by 80 percent could save about $1 million for five years and lower the organization's liability, noted the report. so that unless the file changes again, it does not get backed up unnecessarily. The use of the archive bit Information-access technologies include a wide also allows you to visually see which files do need to be backed up. range of tools such as enterprise search, content analytics, and social search. Integration and deploy- The convenience of quicker backup times comes with ment typically require some expertise, such as an a price — in this case, the restore time. When restor- information architect, to get the tools in place and ing from an incremental backup, you need the most working well, Andrews explained. And it's not cheap, either, as products can range from $10,000 to millions for advanced applications. recent full backup as well as every incremental backup since the last full backup. For example, if you were Still, companies can offset the costs through stor- doing a full backup Friday and incrementals on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and the server age savings, as well as benefits from improved busi- crashes Thursday morning, you would need four tapes ness processes. — Friday's full backup and the incremental backups for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The first step, according to Gartner, is to initiate and develop a content valuation process. "This is determining what's important to keep and how a The Differential Backup company decides what to keep," explained Andrews. "It means establishing criteria on what data is to be Differential and incremental backups often get con- stored, where and why," he added. "Cheap storage is fused, but there's a clear distinction between the two. expensive when it's storing data that doesn't need to Whereas incremental backs up all the modified files since the last full or incremental backup, differential be stored," he noted. backups offer a middle ground by backing up all the files that have changed since the last full backup. A good best practice is establishing a content-valua- Restoring differential backups is a faster process as tion policy on legacy data and making sure what's only two tapes are needed — the last full backup and stored requires that storage investment. While some enterprises are using information- the latest differential. access technologies, the majority isn't at this point, Differential backups work well in environments that according to the research firm. But sooner or later have a reasonably large window to conduct backups companies will realize the waste taking place in and that have the capacity to do so. In the case of dif- storage and the costs of retaining data that has no ferential backups, they work by looking for files that value, Andrews said. He adds, "Is what you're storing on tape valuable at have the archive bit set, and then back up only those this point, because if it's not, then you don't need it." files. I As stated above, because differential backups copy any data that has changed since the last full backup, which would have cleared the archive bit, it does not 9 Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp. [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy ] change the state of the bit. The upside of this (PITR) image as a read-only file system that you can approach is that only two tapes are needed to effect a then easily recover individual files from. According to complete restore. The downside is that at each differ- Darcy Buskermolen, a network administrator from ential backup, there's a high probability that some Wavefire Technologies: data (that which has changed since the last full back- up but not since the last differential) will be backed "The frozen point in time image is extremely useful up more than once. when it comes to being able to back up databases, allowing you to make a perfect backup of the data- Synthetic Full Backup base without needing any sort of maintenance win- dow, thereby increasing your product/application One final backup method worth mentioning is the accessibility uptime, as well as providing you with the synthetic full backup. Synthetic full backups are used reassurance that you are better protected from both when the backup window is too small for the other system failure and user mishaps. options. In a synthetic full backup, information is taken from a full backup and the differential or incre- "I recently used snapshots to recover from a botched mental to create a new full backup tape. This allows a system upgrade that without them would have result- full backup to be created offline, allowing the network ed in 100s of hours of customer downtime, a sleep- to continue to function without any performance less night spent restoring files from the full and incre- degradation or disruption to network users. mental backups, and the usual barrage of phone calls complaining of downtime," continues Buskermolen. File System Snapshots As data continues to grow and our backup windows Volume Shadow Copy Technology in continue to shrink, new technologies are needed to Windows Server 2003 augment what we can do with the previously men- tioned backup methods. In the latest UNIX versions, Windows Server 2003 introduced its own snapshot we have a strategy called file system snapshots. technology known as Volume Shadow Copy Technology (VSCT). The basic function of VSCT is A file system snapshot is a frozen image or picture of threefold: applications can continue to write data to a file system at a given instant of time. Snapshots the volume during a backup; files that are open are allow for many important features, including the abili- no longer omitted during a backup; and backups can ties to provide: be performed at any time, without locking out users or having to worry about the backup window. • Backups of the file system at several times during the day without needing large amounts of addition- VSCT allows you to create shadow copy backups of al storage media volumes — exact point-in-time copies of files, includ- ing all open files. For example, databases that are • A way to perform file system integrity checks on a continually held open and files that are open due to running and changing file system in an effort to operator or system activity are backed up during a reclaim lost blocks volume shadow copy backup. In this way, files that have changed during the backup window are copied •Perhaps most importantly, reliable off media back- correctly. ups without the need for long backup windows. LAN-Free and Server-Free Backups File system snapshots offer system administrators the Let's review two types of network designs and how freedom to create reliable backups of their systems they impact backup traffic. without needing to shut down running applications for fear of data on disk changing while the backup is hap- When designing a network, careful consideration must pening. Some vendor implementations of snapshots be given to the location of backup devices, as their have the ability to mount this Point In Time Recovery physical placement on a network has both perform- 10 Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp. [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy ] ance and security implications. In a traditional network cost and management. Maintaining a large number of design, a backup device is located on the same seg- decentralized tape drives and media became difficult ment as all of the other network devices. and inefficient. This lead to the development of soft- ware that allowed designated servers to act as central- As you might imagine, there are both advantages and ized storage devices. While this approach allowed disadvantages to this approach. When network backups to be managed from a central location, it devices are on the same segment as the backup also meant that all backup traffic had to travel over device, it's relatively easy to configure all network the LAN to the backup server. devices, including workstations, to back up to the backup device. It’s also a low-cost solution, as backup In many environments, this can still be an effective devices can be added to a segment without major backup design as long as the LAN can support the changes to the network infrastructure. amount of traffic that the backups generate. However, in many of today's modern environments, the amount However, because the backup device is on the same of backup traffic that must cross the LAN is simply too segment, there's a greater security risk, as worksta- great for the LAN regardless of the LAN technology tions may be able to directly access the backup serv- used. The solution in this case is to take the data off er. Furthermore, if backup devices are located on the of the LAN. same segment, the volume of backup data being transferred can negatively impact the speed of the The LAN-Free Backup Solution network. This is why backups are often performed in the off hours to prevent impacting network users. A LAN-free backup solution allows you to use a stor- age area network (SAN) to create a shared, central- ized backup and recovery point. It offers the manage- Removing Backup from the LAN ment capabilities of a centralized backup solution For those organizations that transfer huge amounts of while at the same time also delivering the perform- backup traffic, there is another option — physically ance of distributed backup solutions. LAN-free back- remove the backup device from the LAN. In this sce- ups take the backup traffic off of the LAN by using nario, the backup device is located on a dedicated dedicated links to network servers with centralized Fibre Channel segment. This network design is typi- storage devices. cally more secure, as access from Ethernet network devices can be limited and controlled by the storage Each server maintaining data that must be backed up or network administrator. requires a Fibre Channel adapter that connects to a Fibre Channel hub or switch. The hub or switch is con- Perhaps the greatest benefit of removing the backup nected to a tape library or disk array. device from the production LAN is in performance. LAN bandwidth is preserved for the production net- In this configuration, a single server or server cluster work, and backups can be performed at any time can act as the central backup point for all servers on without impacting users. the network. All backup traffic travels through dedicat- ed high-speed links, reducing the load on the regular On the downside, when backup traffic is taken off the LAN links and all but eliminating the limitations of the regular LAN and placed on a high-speed alternative, backup window. it can be costly in terms of both dollars and adminis- trative overhead. However, when in place, it provides The Server-Free Backup Solution the ability to provide two unique backup strategies: a LAN-free backup and a server-free backup. LAN-free backups increase backup speeds and cen- tralize management, but what if it were possible to In early storage development, a common backup take backups one step further and transfer backup strategy was to have backups performed to locally data directly from disk to tape without using a server? attached tape devices. For larger network environ- This option is known as a server-free backup. ments, this approach had two significant drawbacks — When we talk about a server-free backup, we are 11 Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp. [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy ] referring to a process where the backup data path there isn't the space in this article to fully explore the does not go through a server. While a server is need- tape vs. hard disk debate, we can say that in most ed to control the overall process and maintain the environments, tape is still the leader. While hard disks backup software, data is passed between disk and are able to store and retrieve data faster than tape backup library without requiring a server's CPU. This and provide real-time transmissions, tape media is the frees server resources to be used elsewhere on the clear choice in terms of better portability and security. production LAN. While hard disk transfers may be faster, newer tape devices are able to transfer large amounts of data at There are several advantages to implementing a serv- reasonable speeds. er-free backup solution, including offloading traffic from the LAN, reducing the load on server system Tape backups do have some drawbacks, including a resources, and high-speed data transfer. As with most shorter media and drive lifetime than their hard disk areas of technology, though, there are also a few counterparts. Hard disks, however, are often viewed drawbacks. A server-free backup solution is more cost- as a security vulnerability point, as data on the hard ly and complex to design and manage, and when disk can be live and accessible to the network. Still, if something goes wrong, they can be very difficult to the backup window for a network is a real concern troubleshoot. and time is critical, a combination of tape and hard disk backups may be the solution. Other Backup Alternatives In summary, coping with the issue of the backup win- While a LAN-free or server-free backup solution may dow can be a costly endeavor for an organization. As be the answer to eliminating the backup window the traffic generated by backups continues to grow, issue, they are often too costly for many organizations solutions will be needed that can handle the load to implement. This can lead to rather creative meth- without disruption to the production LAN. While some ods of increasing the speed of the backup process or band-aid solutions, such as hard disk backups, may working within limited backup windows. buy some time, the trend is certainly toward taking the backup traffic off of the LAN. I One method that keeps surfacing is replacing tape with hard disks, as backups to disks are faster. While 12 Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp. [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy ] Finding a Disaster Recovery Solution That Won’t Break the Bank By Drew Robb Cost or Complacency? I t's been observed throughout human history that you generally have to get kicked in the teeth before The situation isn't solely based on complacency. Many you see value in the art of self-defense. It certainly of the companies involved want to be able to recover seems to be true in the case of disaster recovery, rapidly in the face of an event. But they just can't afford where vendors experience far more interest in their it. Say you wanted to set up a large-scale back- DR wares immediately following events such as 9/11, up/recovery architecture such as that used by Hurricane Katrina, floods, and tornadoes. Salesforce.com. Salesforce has to have the type of backup and DR platform "We see spikes of interest that doesn't lose a single from time to time when an transaction no matter what event occurs, and that does happens. That takes a total drive more communication of nine copies of the data, with our customers," said each with different recovery Brian Regan of IBM's infor- points for failure. The com- mation protection services pany's complex array of unit. tape libraries, disk arrays, servers, and databases cost A recent study by around $20 million. Aberdeen Group found Continuous data protection that 34 percent of compa- (CDP) is achieved via regu- nies have yet to implement lar shadow images of pro- any kind of DR solution. Of duction data shared the remaining 66 percent, between mirrored SANs on 25 percent don't perform separate coasts. Oracle regular disaster plan tests. Jupiterimages databases are also continu- And when you get down into the SME sector, Jeffrey ously protected. Other scenarios are deployed ranging Hill, an analyst with Aberdeen Group, reported that from four hours to recover all the way to 48 hours for nearly half of those in the 100 to 1,000-employee cate- less critical systems. gory don't have a BC/DR plan in place. Of course, not everyone needs that level of protection. “ A recent study by Aberdeen Group found that 34 percent of companies have yet to implement any kind of DR solution. 13 ” Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp. [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy ] Accordingly, multiple degrees of DR have evolved, "Prior to the bunker, we had a lot of equipment for ranging from the "Remain live or die" category through component failure and documented plans for a site dis- more prioritized approaches on down to economy class. aster, although it would have been a lengthy process had we lost our data center," said Jim Thomas, Pella's Let's look at what may be considered basic -- some director of IT operations. kind of regular backups occurring along with a plan to recover systems and data within a reasonable time. It's HP supplied its StorageWorks XP24000 arrays, one at important to differentiate these two. each of the two data centers. Both systems are inter- connected using Fibre Channel to replicate continuous- "It's hard to imagine that a company wouldn't have a ly between the two locations. The bunker is hardened data backup system, but just backing up data alone to protect against tornadoes, and it has the ability to doesn't constitute a disaster recovery strategy," said run all vital systems if the primary data center is Hill. destroyed. Yet as the Aberdeen numbers prove, many don't make That effort took several years and multiple millions to it beyond backup to the point of instituting some kind establish. But you don't necessarily have to spend in of DR plan. And on the other extreme, you have those that order of magnitude to protect your systems. who are so fed up with the hassles of backup technolo- Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance LLC, based in Memphis, gy that they have implemented DR without any kind of went the appliance route. This type of solution fits best underlying backup setup. for SMBs or organizations that are shorthanded, or for larger organizations that don't want to bring in further The Department of Consumer Affairs of the City of DR/storage expertise. New York, for instance, uses StorageX from Brocade specifically for DR. Its main office in Manhattan stores Lipscomb & Pitts purchased the appliance from data on an EMC Celerra NS500 NAS box. Its other STORServer of Colorado Springs. The company's vice major site in Queens has another NAS filer. Users at president of finance, Mike Yates, said the move wasn't Queens actually write to the EMC box and then every- prompted by the experience of a particular event. thing at Manhattan is replicated to Queens using "You do not know when a disaster will happen, so you Microsoft DFS. Brocade StorageX aggregates the file have to make contingency arrangements," he said. "If data into one logical file system. If Manhattan goes you lose your data, your business shuts down and you down, users are directed to Queens automatically. cannot serve your clients." So confident was the IT department that it conducted The 100-employee company uses a combination of the ultimate test -- unplugging the EMC box in the EVault InfoStage and EVault InfoStage DualVault from middle of a workday. Even more surprisingly, the Seagate, all operated by masterIT, an IT managed serv- department does not even use a regular backup sys- ices firm from Tennessee. It looks after Lipscomb & tem. It relies on this DR set up to safeguard all its data. Pitts' backup/recovery and IT operations. Over 250 GB "When we tested it, everything worked beautifully," is backed up each night. said Matthew Miller, the department's LAN administra- tor. "The system failed over to the secondary location Yates says bunkers, massive automated tape libraries, and users didn't notice a thing." and expensive replication gear are fine for large enter- prises companies, but are out of the question for many Bunker Mentality SMEs. At the other end of the spectrum comes Pella Corp., a "For a fraction of that cost, we're just as prepared and manufacturer of windows and doors based in Iowa. It didn't have to pay an arm and a leg," he said. "It's a runs its business on Oracle E-Business Suite applica- comfort knowing the data is going out every night to a tions and Oracle Database 10g using a centralized different region in a way that is largely transparent to architecture. It also deployed a remote data center for our staff." recovery known as the bunker. 14 Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp. [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy ] No Time to Waste Schulz suggested that small and mid-sized businesses look to protect essential and time sensitive material There are many different strategies and technologies with the lowest RTO/RPO they can afford while looking that can be employed when it comes to DR, all at dif- at how to leverage different RPOs and RTOs for other ferent price points. The choices made are often based data. upon the cost of achieving various recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objectives (RTO). Whatever DR scheme is required, though, it should be deployed sooner rather than later. "If you have an unlimited budget and resources, an RTO and RPO of zero or close to it would be great," "SMBs cannot wait until a disaster of company-ending said Greg Schulz, senior analyst and founder of proportions occurs before allocating the resources to StorageIO Group. "But in reality land for many environ- do this right," said Aberdeen's Hill. I ments, implementing the right tier of protection to applicable threat risks is a means to maximize budgets and spending." 15 Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp. [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy ] Small Businesses Turn to Online Backup By Drew Robb O nline backup seems to be all the rage as of late. Vendors are springing up either catering "It's still a relatively smallish market, but with lots of to a specific niche or claiming to do every- opportunity for growth in the SMB space," she said. thing for next to nothing. While such services aren't "More vendors continue to enter this market." likely to attract enterprise users, they are certainly lur- ing many SMBs. All you have to do is sign up, decide What's Out There? which files to backup, set a schedule and your files are There are lots of online backup options out there. For automatically backed up daily. those with only a few staffers and a small amount of data to But the online backup market back up, a simple service like isn't just attracting small start- Backup.com (recently purchased ups. The big boys, too, are by Symantec) is sufficient. I use rolling out inexpensive services this and it costs about $50 a aimed squarely at the SMB year for my relatively modest market. needs. Any new files or changed files are backed up "Enterprise DR market growth each day. Any time I've needed is stalling, so vendors are look- something, I've been able to ing for ways to reach new mar- recover it in seconds. ket segments," said Laura DuBois, an analyst at Mozy.com from EMC is another International Data Corp. (IDC). such service. According to "Online backup services are Jupiterimages Vance Checketts, the company's particularly attractive to the SMB market, as this meets COO and vice president of products, it signed up more some of their unique needs." than 6,000 businesses customers in eight months. So sudden is the upsurge in online backup that IDC "Businesses are realizing the only way to ultimately pro- does not yet monitor it as a separate category. The tect corporate data from permanent loss is to store an analyst firm has no idea how much the of the $2.68 bil- additional copy off site," said Checketts. "They recog- lion data protection and recovery market is taken up by nize that it's more cost effective for them to outsource online backup. But DuBois said IDC is working right their backup and archive services than it is to build the now on sizing it. “ But the online backup market isn't just attracting small startups. The big boys, too, are rolling out inexpensive services aimed squarely at the SMB market. 16 ” Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp. [ Developing a Storage Backup Strategy ] infrastructure and hire the team to manage backups in- Kozma suggests several tips to help SMBs select an house." appropriate vendor: Mozy.com provides up to 2 GB free, and unlimited • The transferred data need to be encrypted and space for $4.95 per month. This allows business cus- compressed before transmission tomers to restore files by downloading them from the • The online backup and data recovery practices of Mozy Web site or by ordering a DVD with next-day air the online backup company should be verified to shipping. determine if they store SMB data securely • Recovery times must be rapid ThetaBackup.com, on the other hand, is focused mainly • On-site professional help should be available when- on mid-size SMBs. Online backup costs a little under ever requested at an affordable rate $50 per month. But the company prefers to offer more • Open files should be backed up sophistication to those that require it. • Many versions of files should be saved online, as opposed to only the last saved version "We provide general network planning, maintenance • The online backup client software should verify the and trouble-shooting for these businesses beside the sent data for its correctness. online backup service," said Attila Kozma, president of ThetaBackup.com. "It helps us to create the most accu- "SMBs are aware of the necessity of backing up their rate and efficient backup regimen for their needs that company data, but it is rarely done properly," said won't leave any chance for failure." Kozma. "The main thing that is usually missing is the understanding of what needs to be backed up and Remote Backup Systems (RBS) of Memphis, Tenn., where it is safe to store those data." boasts more than 1.5 million clients in 68 countries. Its Rbackup software has mirroring capabilities that can Cosgrove agrees with the above points, and stresses automatically back up RBS server data to a secondary reliability, security, file versioning, good scheduling, location, message-level support for live Microsoft automation, compression and strong encryption as nec- Exchange databases, multiple-instance support for live essary components of a good online backup solution SQL databases and automatic remote updates to the for any SMB, regardless of size. RBackup client software. RBS CEO Rob Cosgrove is dis- missive of lower-cost services. "Depending on the type of business, there may also be a need for assistance with compliance regulations like "Services like Carbonite and Mozy are inadequate for HIPAA, for archiving, and for data discovery," he said. SMBs because of several factors, including the slow I speed of backups, the cumbersome restore method, the lack of built-in agents to properly back up This content was adapted from Internet.com's Exchange, SQL Server and Lotus Notes," said Enterprise Storage Forum, Enterprise IT Planet, and Cosgrove. "Our RBackup software was designed from InternetNews Web sites. Contributors: Drew Robb, the ground up for SMBs. Other services that are ade- Mike Harwood, Henry Newman, and Paul Shread. quate for SMBs include Asigra and LiveVault." How Good Is Good Enough? How good a DR option is an online backup service for SMBs? DuBois believes many of these services are good enough in terms of general protection. But she cautions that online backup service providers should be required to serve as a partner in event of true disaster. That means asking for more than just backing up a few files each day. 17 Developing a Storage Backup Strategy, an Internet.com Storage eBook. © 2008, Jupitermedia Corp.
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