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What is the best method of backing up 300-400GB of data on a Windows 2003 server

Posted on 2006-11-06
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The current 80GB / 160GB tape backup device is now exceeding it's compressed capacity, even with the data split into two alternate daily backup jobs.

Is the best way forward to purchase a fairly expensive high capacity 400GB / 800GB tape backup device, or is there either a better, or more cost effective way, of backing up this amount of data. At present the standard edition of Symantec Backup Exec 10d is in use and there is no need to backup anything other than 'files and folders'
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Question by:itcroydon
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by:inbarasan
ID: 17880411
Dear itcroydon,
You can do Monday to Friday -- Daily Differential Backup and Saturday Weekly Full backup.

This way you require only two tapes to restore the data any time.
Daily Incremental backup will be quickest to complete the backup but you require more tapes to restore the backup and % of success is lesser than differential + Full Backup Restores

Cheers!
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by:itcroydon
ID: 17880681
The tape cost is not really an issue. We are just questioning at this stage whether to outlay a significant amount for a large tape backup device, or whether to consider an alternative solution.
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by:inbarasan
ID: 17880763
I was talking about two Key differance between Daily Incremental and Daily Diffrential

Daily Incremental                                          
Backup window to complte backup is Lesser than Daily differentials where  Restore time is more.
Since It depends on more no of tapes(Last fullbackup + one or more Incremental Tapes) The probability of success restore is lesser than Differential Backup.

Daily Differential
Backup window to complte backup is more than Daily Incremental where  Restore time is less.
Since It depends on more less of tapes(Only last full backup + Last differential Tape) The probability of success retsore is more than Incremental Backup.

The choice between Daily incremental or differential is normally choosen on the basis of Backup Window. So whichever backup can be completed within Backup windows you can choose the same.

My choice would be Daily Differential and Weekly Fullbackup

Hope it helps
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by:AdamRobinson
ID: 17880976
Switch to backup drives.  I did so recently, and I have nothing but good to say about them.  I didn't realize how much time and money we were wasting on trying to maintain tape drives and the rotations for the sake of "a physical backup."

Backup hard drives are so inexpensive now that you can do off-site storage and account for some failover without much worry.

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by:mcp_jon
ID: 17881566
This one looks quite impressive : " http://h18006.www1.hp.com/products/storageworks/ultrium920/specs.html "

Best Regards !
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by:AdamRobinson
ID: 17881603
For the same price as the above, you could buy yourself 3 fancy terabyte external hard drives, or literally dozens of smaller external hard drives.  

I may have to open another question soon as to why people are so stuck on tapes.  It seems to me the external hard-drives have improved so much recently, and become so much smaller, that the tapes aren't worth the hassle anymore.

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by:mcp_jon
ID: 17881743
I agree with you !

But he asked for Tapes, off course that the price is high. For that price I guess you could buy a Lacie 1TB Solution, e.g. !

Best Regards !
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by:AdamRobinson
ID: 17881963
MCP:

Oh, I know.  I wasn't meaning to sound as if you were incorrect.  I've just been trying to find an answer to the question, so I hoped someone would know.  I've had quite a few people tell me "Tapes!" in my own search, and when I asked for a reason why, I'd get blank stares.  

I personally am about to take my new backup hard drives out to dinner and a movie for all the love they've shown me ;)

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by:mcp_jon
ID: 17882270
No probelm, Adam !

I understand your point of view, as you sure understand mine !

Best Regards !
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by:andyalder
andyalder earned 300 total points
ID: 17884111
Tapes are more reliable than disks when restoring in as much as you're suggesting 3 disk units Vs a normal rotation of tapes which can be anything from 20 tapes upwards. It all depends on the nature of your business of course.

If you think you ought to have a month's worth of daily tapes and additional monthly and yearly archives in case you don't realise immediately that someone's run amoc on the company database a couple of weeks ago buy tape.

If you want fast restore then get removable disk unit.

If you want the best of both worlds then get both disk and tape, and setup D2D2T. Offsite the tapes and have the disk local for quick restores.

Half height LTO3 that Jon highlighted above is a good choice, wouldn't use the full height one without a dedicated backup server since its throughput is too high to feed with just a couple of disk server but the half height one is fine, it can normally slow down enough to take the data from any midrange server.
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by:itcroydon
ID: 17884274
No, I didn't specify that the solution has to be a tape drive; however the solution does need to be a fairly simple one, for a non technical user to operate on a daily basis.
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by:AdamRobinson
AdamRobinson earned 100 total points
ID: 17884310
Andy:

Does your disk unit vs normal rotation of tapes take into account Backup Exec?  What do you mean "more reliable" when restoring?  I've set up separate partitions on this drive, created multiple disk folders, and am doing full and incremental backups to them with successful restores.

What exactly is "more reliable."  I keep hearing that -- I've never gotten an answer.

How does a month's worth of backups or monthly or yearly archives mean you should go with a tape, either?  You can do the exact same things, and quicker, with a tape drive.

Again, not trying to say you're wrong, but those statements don't have any explicit reasoning behind them, and after two months of talking to people about it, I've only heard reasons that only applied to hardware from 2 - 3 years ago.

Thanks!

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by:AdamRobinson
ID: 17884322
"and quicker, with a tape drive" should say "and quicker, with an external hard drive."  Shouldn't let my fingers do the thinking ;)

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by:rindi
rindi earned 50 total points
ID: 17884398
It depends on the backup requirements. IF you need to archive the backed up files for a long time, tape is what you need, and then you will also be better off investing in a larger tape capacity, or get a tape library.

If there is no need for archiving your data, or if you can manage with only archiving a certain amount that may fit onto the current tapes, then I would uses a disk to disk solution, and then only archive what is necessary to tape. If you will be using a disk to disk solution, don't go for USB or firewire disks, but rather add a eSATA card to the server (if it doesn't already have one), and then use an external SATA disk to backup to.
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andyalder earned 300 total points
ID: 17884890
Adam,

Yes Backup Exec 10d is taken into account since it supports disk to disk to tape with restore direct from tape.

More reliable since the above LTO writes 20 tracks at once and there is CRC accross these tracks as well as along them - horizontal and verticle parity.
 
Tapes store better since they have far fewer mechanical parts. No chance of stiction friction sticking the head to the platter.

Tapes are more likely to survive being dropped.

For the same price you've got more of them than you have disks so there's more chance that one will be working.

You don't have to mess about with incrementals or differentials if you do a full backup every day and with tapes that's affordable but not with disks.

Incrementals can be a pain to restore, ever had the situation when you delete a big file to allow the server space to create more files on? Consider a restore in that situation, with full backup just restore current system, with differential restore full backup, try to restore diff or inc but there's not room since that big file is there and nobody knows to delete it. You do of course but you've died in the fire in the computer room along with the server. Sorry old mate but in a DR situation you have to assume some of the IT staff are dead ;-/

Your fingers were right first time with quicker backing up to tape drive, you get 160MB/s with HP LTO3 assuming 2:1 compression, you'll not get anywhere near that sustained transfer rate to a disk drive.

LTO4 is really going to be a problem on the speed front, how can you read data off your server at 320MB/s to feed the tape drive at full speed? you can't even connect to it with U320 cable since there's a SCSI protocol overhead so you have to use 4Gb native fibrechannel. Of course there is a mechanism to slow the tape drive down to match your data and that's where the half height drives come in since they're slower than the full height ones.

That's also where D2D2T comes in, we have 14 disk RAID0 array to feed the two LTO2s in our library, the disks can cope with backing up slow servers and the 14 disks are fast enough to feed the library.

A month's worth of tapes plus the drive costs £50*31 for the media and £2000 for the drive, total £3350. How much do 31 500GB disks cost? £6000. So for the £2500 difference you can afford a rackmount disk shelf for intermediate backup and quick restore.

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by:AdamRobinson
AdamRobinson earned 100 total points
ID: 17886796
Hrm.  Thank you for the info.

Perhaps it's a method of scale here.  

In researching our tape drive (we lost two drives simultaneously, one week out of warranty) situation, I found that the tapes were more expensive than our drives.  The drives were also cheap enough that dropping/etc. really wasn't an issue.  We also never attained anywhere close to the specs you gave above.  I know they were theoretically possible, but the only systems I found that were able to do it were incredibly highly priced.  

Our backup-to-disk is working at approximately 3x the tape drives ever did in their peak.  Assuming it wasn't a misconfiguration since the consulting service who originated the system and my own setup achieved the exact same rate.  

I'll research a bit more of what you've typed and think on it.  Definitely the best and most well fleshed out response I've received (this includes my responses from tape drive manufacturers).

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by:joshmdill
joshmdill earned 50 total points
ID: 17889837
Switching gears for a moment, has anyone asked: what data really needs to be backed up at all?  You may want to audit your data and see if there's anything that could be archived.  I'm sure in a dataset that large there must be at least a percentage of the data that hasn't changed in months and won't change in the foreseeable future.  Identify that data, archive it to tape and take it out of the backup job selections.  Before you go investing in new hardware to backup all this data, you should be sure that you actually need it.  
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