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Good Backup solutions?

Posted on 2006-06-11
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I am having a problem with veritas and tapes, no matter what I seem to have problems with them, either failing, backup taking too long , having to backup on more than one tape etc.   I was wondering if anyone knows of any good backup solutions that would work better than tape ?  
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Question by:focusen
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by:r-k
ID: 16882945
It depends on the amount of data you're trying to backup, and whether you are looking at routine backups for disaster recovery, or archival backups for long-term storage.

For short-term backups for disaster recovery, done nightly, we use disk-to-disk backup, either local disk or over the network.

For long-term archival backups we use either CD or DVD. This works well if data sets to be backed up are ~5 GB or less each. Also, never store important archival data on just one DVD (or CD, or Tape). Always have at least 2 and maybe 3, copies, stored in different locations.
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Disorganise earned 500 total points
ID: 16883055
As r-k indicates, it's really matter of scale.  we back-up about 1TB a day and I couldn't imagine using anything OTHER than tape.

My observations over the past few years have been:  
Tape is capable of much higher throughput than most disk systems - eg, LTO2 sustains 30MB/s with ease, and LTO3 double that (native speed indicated - compression 'increases' it)
Windows reading from SCSI RAID volumes tend to peakout at about 12MB/s
I've just bought a HDS SAN that we're still testing - I've still yet to see a sustained throughput of much higher than 35MB/s, even with the fibre channel disks.

Slow back-ups tend to be the result of lots of small files - eg file servers.  One 'trick' is to split the data over multiple volumes on different spindles, and then join them back together with DFS if applicable.  Thus when the back-up runs it can read from several locations simultaneously, thus improving overal throughput and reducing the time taken.
The other option is to use some kind of raw disk read - eg Veritas has flashbackup for NetBackup which essentially reads the disk at a block level, rather than vis the OS's file system.  The disk is almost treated as one big file (like a database) and thus throughput increases dramatically.

You mention backing up to more than one tape as an issue - given that even travans can hold 10GB and DDS3 hols 12GB native, I'm guessing you have at least 15GB to back-up, probably more if you're talking DLT or whatever.  In this case, optical media would be even more frustrating thansk to their small capacities.
Your options are to go for a higher capacity tape format (eg, LTO2 is 200GB native, LTO3 is 400GB native), or consider a tape changer/robotic library.  Going higher capacity tape format will also reduce your back-up window thansk to the higher throughput, as long as the system you're backing up is able to keep up!

As for reliability, a lot comes down to the tech used, and a lot is in the tuning.  Most of my woes disappeared with the erradication of DLT's.  Now, most failures are due to network issues or someone forgettign to inform me of a server rebuild/decommission.

For the record, we use Veritas NetBackup, and back-up to disk first, and then send the images off to 2 tapes simultaneously.  1 tape then goes off-site for secure storage, the other remains in out tape library for restores (the tape library is in our disaster recovery site, geographically separate from the production servers).
The 2 main reasons for using disk first are: 1) I can run all jobs simultaneously without too much concern - the disk acts like a big sink.  As soon as one job finishes, I start copying off to tape, and the disk stage is tuned for reading to ensure the tape drives are kept busy. 2) I don't need as many tape drives.  
Additional benefits arise from the fact I can restore from disk even while the tapes are still being written too, and the disks act as another copy of the data should my library suffer catastrophic failure (we can hold about 1 weeks worth of data in the disk staging area, which is plenty of time to arrange a replacement library if need be)

hope this helps
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by:scrathcyboy
ID: 16883207
Solutions --
1. dump tapes completely.
2. sell the tapes and tape drives on EBay.
3. Use the money to buy 250-500 GB Hitachi drives -- they are IBM and much more reliable than others.
4.  Set up the big drives on a remote network backup computer.
5.  Use either acronis true image, or Symantec live state recovery, or any network backup program
6.  As an aside, I simply use -- xcopy C:\*.* \\backup\d\ /c/h/r/s/h/e/d -- to update the data to remote
7.  Use one remote HDD for full system backup, and the other for incrementals or differentials.
8.  All you need on the INC/DIFF hard drive is the latest full backup of the system.

In the end, remote network backup is FAR better than tape, and is the way of the future.
If you like image backups (I do not, personally), then Acronis true image is probably your best bet.
If you want real file-by-file backups, then xcopy seems to be your best bet at this stage.
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by:jonaslinden
ID: 16889274
I use Dantz Retrospect and it works great. It can write to CD/DVD's, disks and tapes.
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by:mluther223
ID: 16893644
again, I agree with Disorganise.... something guys tend to disagree with.... Size DOES matter...lol   But seriously,  how much data are you looking to backup?  I only have about 45 Gig's of data to back up everyday... so I went out and purchased a Buffalo Terastation (750 Gig of storage).  I backup the data Monday-Friday on this device, and use a tape backup for off site storage on Saturadays.  This works great for my application,  but dependant on how much data you need, you may need another solution.  I run Veritas backup software, and once configured correctly..it runs like a dream

Scrathchboy suggestion about using Acronis True Image.... I like it.... I use this program for my personal home computer and I love it.  I haven't tried it in my workplace yet (guess I never thought about it),  but I think I will look into it.
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