DLT vs Firewire and removable drives

Posted on 2003-03-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I have a Faststor 7000 DLT on my Novell server and it takes about 12 hours and 3 tapes to (full) backup 120gigs. I was looking for another solution to backup my 3 Win2k servers.  I have 2 Firewire drives (80-250GB)  I hooked both of these up to my server and using Arcserve I am able to do incrementals on the 80 and full on the 250.  It takes 3 hours to do full backup of 80GB.  This seems far better than buying another DLT at $8000 and $1500+ worth of tapes.  What are the down sides to this?  I intended to buy another set of drives to rotate and take offsite.  My other option is to buy a Promise IDE card and add 4 hot swap drives and add to spare server I have.  Ideas?
Question by:hbaber
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LVL 56

Expert Comment

ID: 8083022
Put an SDLT at 57.6GB/hour on the Novell server and re-use the DLT on the NT boxes? Your Novell backup fits on 3 * 35GB (native) tapes so full backup will fit on a single SDLT or Ultrium tape.

I just don't like the idea of backing up to hard disk in a business environment since the risk of them suffering a headcrash while being taken away for a far copy is much higher than the risk of a tape being unreadable if you drop it. It's not so much the daily backup but the monthly archives that some countries make you keep for years.

If I've guessed wrong and this is for private use and nobody ever asks you for a backup restore of their file from last week because they have accidentally deleted it then the removable disks would be OK.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 8086451
I think your best bet is a two-tiered approach.  Yes, tapes are slow.  They are also tried-and-true reliable.  So you have a spare disk attached to your network for fast backups but do incremental backups to tape and keep them offsite.  This way you can quickly get a recently deleted file back for someone.  At the same time you have the tapes off-site, etc, for the most reliable total recovery in the case of extreme emergencies.

"This seems far better than buying another DLT at $8000"

Umm, I have to wonder where you shop.  New 8 tape changers start at less than half this price, even at an expensive place like CDW:

Furthermore, the model you already have is discontinued so they sell for (relative) peanuts secondhand:

Is your full backup schedule too aggressive?  Perhaps you should consider using incremental backups more frequently.

Expert Comment

ID: 8088054
I think your whole backup strategy requires a rethink.

You talk about buying an additional set of drives 'to rotate and take offsite'.

From this I assume you will have 2 available backups - one on the first set of drives and another on the second set of drives. I guess you have no need to archive any data for longer than 24 hrs.

How do you recover from a file corruption that started 3 weeks ago before you noticed ?

Hot swap mechanisms were not really designed for this sort of frequency of use, and the cheap ones provide no buffering circuits to protect the drive - inserting or removal is going to be the most likely cause of drive failure due to static shock etc.

Would also like to hear more about what type of data you will be backing up and the proposed frequency of full/incremental backups.

Tape is good.
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Author Comment

ID: 8106208
What I am doing now is I am keeping my 80 gig online all the time and only performing daily (M-Th) incremental backups. I have 2 250GB drives that perform full backups once a week (Friday).  At the moment I can fit 2 full backups on each drive. This gives me a 3 weeks worth of full backups before overwriting.  The data I am backing up is mainly web pages, MS Office documents, PDFs, and SQL DBs.  

Thanks again for your help

Accepted Solution

compuphonic earned 400 total points
ID: 8107118
Thanks, makes it a bit clearer.

If you are taking the 250Gb drives offline after the backup then you might think you are safe.

I wouldn't feel confident with this setup. A nasty virus outbreak is all you need to cause havoc. I'm thinking of the situation where you think you've cleaned up and re-attach the drive to perform a restore, only to find it stikes your backup volume.

When you mention web pages, I'd be concerned if this was an internet facing server.

The other worry is that for any electrical device the most stressful time (and point of failure) is powering up.
There are some NAS and library devices on the market now specifically for backing up, but these tend to be raid protected and act as an intermediate stage in conjuction with tape.

At least with a tape device if it breaks, put the tapes in another drive.

The solution you propose is cheap (that is it attraction), but calculate the cost to your business if all the data on this server was lost, if this is less than the cost of the 250Mb drives, go for it, but make it very clear to your bosses why this solution is so much cheaper than tape drives.  

Author Comment

ID: 8107861
Thank you for your input.  Your virus scenario makes me rethink the drive option.

Thanks again.

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