Backup strategy advice needed - NAS/SAN/Help !??!!

Posted on 2006-05-25
Last Modified: 2013-11-15
Hello there,

I'm looking for some friendly advice on what approach our company should be taking for the 'next level' of storage.

We are about 70 strong company, but very data intensive - Exchange, SQL Servers, etc ...

We run pretty damn good servers here - i've upgraded recently to rackmount DL380's with built-in DAT drives. We always tend to run the latest HP hardware, as a rule.

However, storage always presents a problem ... for example, soon I intend to implement Exchange 'live archiving' tools and I am finding myself shorter and shorter of storage space ... obviously keeping these on RAID5 live servers is going to prove quite expensive !

So what are people using as their big, scaleable, storage solutions for non-live (but accessable) ,archive data etc ... i'm baffled by all the SAN, NAS talk ... but I know that I want something pretty big (200gig+) and scalable. Also, what do you back that lot up on ??

I've had to swallow some pride to ask all these questions - I should know I guess ... but as a SME that's grown from 2 people, you just have to find out about these things as you go along !

So, if anyone here has got any links, advice and pointers, i'll split up the points accordingly.


Question by:SpencerSteel
    LVL 22

    Assisted Solution

    Until up to a little while ago I would say SAN is overkill and go with NAS. NetApp is my favorite tops in features and reliability.

    Howeve reciently there is a new breed of SAN out there, kind of a SAN in a box for smaller installations.

    What might make this a right fit for you is that you are a HP shop and HP has such an offering.
    StorageWorks solution center - my first SAN
    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    As far as i can c, u are big corporation and need u your data to be safe.
    and i think, that the right strategy is to back it up.
    u ll need backup server soft.
    we are using True Image Enterprise Server 9.1,

    LVL 44

    Assisted Solution

    "I've had to swallow some pride to ask all these questions"

    NOT AT ALL.  RAid 5 was last decades choice, and it turns out to be not able to handle failures very well.  Get bigger drives and make them RAID 0 for the first pair, then RAID 1 for the next 2 to mirror the first RAID 5 pair.  This is MUCH more stable and able to handle changes easier.  It is called RAID 10, and although an old spec, is better than RAID 5.

    Look into Acronis True Image backup (, it is the most recommended program for backing up totally bootable compressed images to a remote server.  So even though your server uses say 120 GB drives, you can backup several compressed images to a networked 250GB drive, which can now be gotten for under $100.  So although you can invest the money in SAN disk arrays and NAS architectures, there is no need to.  A simple "backup" server with two 250 GB drives (or more, as you need) can backup 1 TB of data on the servers, because it is compressed.  And also backup up the daily incrementals and diffs to tape, that is the most efficient daily backup.  Storage is now cheap, there is no need to invest in a pricy fiber optic arrray, that is for REAL-TIME, online storage, NOT for backup.  Just plain IDE drives and tapes work fine for backups.  They are reliable, and they work when you need them.
    LVL 30

    Assisted Solution

    by:Duncan Meyers
    A small iSCSI SAN such as EMC's AX150i might be just the ticket
    You get up to 6TB and iSCSI connectivity - so you cann connect your existing servers by simply adding Microsoft's iSCSI initiator to each server. You can then assign storage dynamically.

    For more comprehensive growth options, you'd need to look at a product like the CX300 or CX300i which will expand up to around 27TB - but this may be overkill for your organisation.
    LVL 30

    Accepted Solution

    Another thing you could consider is Network Appliance's NearStore appliance
    But this is more of an archival appliance.

    Author Comment

    Hello guys,

    The 'my first SAN' really cleared up some myths for me ... I wasn't even really sure what defined a SAN until that point.

    The rest of you all have valid points - especially scranthcyboy.

    I'm going  to spilt up the points for your efforts - thanks for your recommendations,

    Much appreciated.

    Have a good weeked/life.


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