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Need Storage/Backup Solution Recommendations

Posted on 2004-09-22
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I have an Exchange server with a store that is close to 100GB in size. When backing it up, coupled with each individual mailbox "brick layer" backup, the job calculates to well over 200gb+ in size, and takes well over 30 hours to backup with the current backup solution that I have.

Along with this email server, I have a file server that is storing about 150gb+ of data, and growing every day.

I antipate the email store and the data file storage to double their size within the next 18 months.

I suppose I should be considering a small SAN solution, but I have absolutely no SAN experience. My questions are:

1) Does it sound like I can use a SAN?
2) I believe along with the SAN I will need a high capacity tape library to backup the SAN, correct?
3) I anticipate migrating the file server data to be easy enough, but my biggest concern is the email store. How easy/difficult is it to move an email store to a SAN? Is it even possible?

Any information that anyone has will be most appreciated. Thank you.
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Question by:RomualPiecyk
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plong earned 250 total points
ID: 12125138
We need a bit more information to really answer the question.  Is backup for disaster recovery or for higher availability?  Given 30+ hours you're using now, I'm guessing disaster recovery.  Does the backed up data need to stored off site?

Two solutions that you should think about are:

1) Just setting up a RAID array in the windows server with a few new disks (raid 0 to protect against a single hard drive failure, RAID-5 for higher availability. Then you don't "need" backups (if you are willing to accept the risk of the whole server being destroyed/being stolen, etc.)

2) If you need to store the data off site (a good policy), consider an external usb 2.0/firewire drive(s).  You should get sustained transfer rates in the range of 10 MB/second (say a GB per min).



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by:Duncan Meyers
Duncan Meyers earned 250 total points
ID: 12129331
1) Does it sound like I can use a SAN?
Yep. An EMC CX300 would fit the bill nicely. It'll give you plenty of scope for growth and excellent performance. You need to look at how many users you have. If you only have, say, 20 users, a SAN is a bit of overkill...

2) I believe along with the SAN I will need a high capacity tape library to backup the SAN, correct?
You could consider LTO or LTO 2 technolgy. DLT 320 is also a possibility. I have a personal prefernece for LTOs, and they can be blisteringly fast in a SAN environment.

3) I anticipate migrating the file server data to be easy enough, but my biggest concern is the email store. How easy/difficult is it to move an email store to a SAN? Is it even possible?

Easy! I did exactly that last weekend. The basic procedure is:
Stop the Exchange services
Copy the Exchange database and logfiles to the new SAN discs. If you can preserve drive letters it makes your job easier.
If you have preserved drive letters (ie Exchange database on D:, logs on E:) you can restart Exchange services and all's done.
If you haven't been been able to preserve drive letters, you'll need to go into System Manager Servers -> First Storage Group -> Mailbox Store. Right-click and select Properties. Select the Database tab and select the appropriate discs and folders for the database and log files. Once you've done that, you can start Exchange and you're done.

I have to correct this statement form plong: >(raid 0 to protect against a single hard drive failure, RAID-5 for higher availability) RAID 0 provides *zero* data protection. There is no protection against disc failure or corruption in a RAID 0 set. If you lose one disc, you lose *all* you data. Only the very brave or foolhardy use it in a production environment. See http://www.acnc.com/04_00.html for a quick tutorial on the different RAID levels.





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by:Jeff Rodgers
ID: 12129914
Have you considered a VXA2 Packet Loader... I have one which provides for 10 tapeds, upto 1.6 Terabytes (with compression) at a rate of 22GB per hour.  

I perform a 70 GB backup of Exchange 2003, a Files server, and SQL database in about 3 hours.  

I use Veritas Backup Exec 9.1 with the appropriate agents installed.

Works beautifully.  With such a large capacity I only change tapes once a week (with room to spare) on a Grandfather, Father, Son rotation.

Cost was only about $3000 CDN, plus media and software.


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by:gdekhayser
ID: 12182129
I would recommend a Network Appliance FAS250 solution.  I've done this with iSCSI, and the snapshot functionality works great for the info store.  They also give you a single mailbox restore option, which you can use to restore the mailbox from one of the snapshoted info stores.

Imagine being able to restore the entire 100GB infostore in about 30 seconds and be UP.  That's what this will do.

This solution also gives you a way to create a near-real-time, offsite replica of the Exchange infostore on another netapp in a remote location to which you can connectivity.  

Good news is that you can also use the same device for regular files, and add the whole thing to the DR situation.

You won't need any tape at all, unless you want it for archiving.

IMHO a much better solution than anything EMC's got to offer.

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by:gdekhayser
ID: 12182147
Also- to add to my previous point- the backup of the Exchange server, and the regular files, takes about 1 SECOND and doesn't interrupt the operation of Exchange or the users who have files open.
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by:Duncan Meyers
ID: 12395862
I liked my answer a lot :-)

Can I have teh points please? I like points. :-)
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