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Need your recommendations on Enterprise-level backup solution

Posted on 2007-04-09
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I have a VERY large medical practice client who has outgrown their single tape drive and Arcserv backup solution. I'm putting together several options for them and two options I'll be costing out are an offsite, over-the-internet backup solution like datapreserve, as well as an on-site software implementation with robust-enough features like Backup Exec.

It's been a while since I've implemented a fresh backup solution for a corporate infrastructure and, as most of you corporate IT types know, you don't have a need to know what the "latest and greatest" is until you are tasked with a problem that needs a solution. The last implementation I drove several years ago was Backup Exec 10-ish with a two drive, 24 slot IBM Ultrium tape library.

I can Google "backup software", but that doesn't really find me what people are using in the enterprise these days.

My questions is:

What's the latest-and-greatest for both over-the-Internet and locally driven enterprise back-up solutions.

Caveats:
I have experience with Backup Exec and fairly sizable hardware, but am looking for other solutions that require less daily "tweaking" and troubleshooting as BE does. (You BE administrators know exactly what I'm talking about here) I've recently been introduced to Convault with a newly implemented Dell SAN, but had no usable exposure to it. As for an over-the-Internet solution, my only immediate experience has been Data Preserve, but this solution is not even close to enterprise-level yet. Initial backup will be in the range of 600 - 1,000 Gb. Daily changes will be in the range of 200 to 400 Gb. Yes, there are many, many other considerations for my solution, but I just don't know what's out there that everyone is using. Local software will be installed and run from a Windows box.

Sadly, I believe the EE system here will only allow me to split points between two responses and I suspect I'll get more than a few recommendations. I hope you understand, but I'd really like your suggestions.
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Question by:in2ative1
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 150 total points
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You can split amongst as many people as you like - minimum 20 points per person.

You didn't say what version of ArcServe you are using because ArcServe in general, is the primary competition for Backup Exec - both products are roughly equal in terms of capability, it's really just a matter of preferences.  And if you have ArcServe, I wouldn't go spending $500-$1000+ on new backup software.

Unless you have a FAST internet Connection, internet based backups (except for some specific data, like perhaps, accounting data) will likely prove impractical.  Not only that, but quite expensive.  I would suggest you look into the newest LTO and SDLT tape systems for that kind of data.
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SanDiegoComputer earned 300 total points
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There are lots of different options.  I personally prefer backup exec 11.  However Microsoft DPM is a good choice here.  Lets examine the situation.

Due to the large amount of data storage requirements and the LARGE volume of data changed in a given day, we are really talking some SERIOUS storage.  With LTO tape drives and a fast array I'm typically getting 400-600 megs per minute throughput.  That's 120 Gigs per hour roughly.  Your full backup will take a minimum of 10-12 hours with verify.  Probably unacceptable.  You can add a secondary drive unit and double your throughput.  The Exabyte Magnum 448 with two LTO-3 tape drives would likely be a good choice for this.  It can hold up to 38 TB in 12-slot magazines allowing you to send a big chunk of data off-site.  

Another way to mitigate your backup time would be a Disk-2-Disk-2-Tape solution.  Most of the backup servers offer this as an option now.  You can effectively use either Symantec's Continuous replication server to replicate the data to a hard drive array on a backup server every 30 minutes or so (goes real fast once in sync) and then backup from there to tape with NO effect on network throughput, or use something like Microsoft's DPM which does the same thing roughly every 15-30 minutes.  Additionally, the Microsoft DPM server and likely the Symantec product will only send the CHANGES to the files.  So, you probably don't have 400 gigs that change.  You have 400 gigs of files that have some changes in them.  DPM sends just the changed pieces.  With that kind of copy, you might be able to locate the DPM off-site at another location and a T1 MIGHT be able to keep up with it.  

Off-site is probably impracticle for most backup services since they typically want to send the whole file.  You are talking up to 400 gigs of data changed per-day so we need a very, very FAT pipe to move that off-site.  Mimimum of a T3 to a data facility.
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by:Yuray
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hmm, take a look at True Image Corporate versions. In our company we use TI server for windows, and we are satisfied with this backup sollutions, it's quick and reliable. o think the best one.:

http://www.acronis.com/enterprise/products/ATISWin/
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by:in2ative1
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Leew, I'm not sure what version of Arcserve this client is using. I'm an external resource and have been asked to find something more robust than the current "bailing wire and ceiling wax" approach that's being used right now. Five-hundred to $1,000 on backup software would be easy. We may have room in this budget for as much as 30 to 40g's for the overall solution.

Yuray, I've used some Acronis products in the past and will certainly look into your recommendation. Thanks for the link.

SDC, It's funny, I was on the beta for DPM and can't remember installing it once.  :)  Yeah, we're talking about a lot of data, although, in my original caveats I was considering that many, many backup solutions are completely file-based. In other words, a 100Gb SQL data file (.mdf) would have to be backed up ever single night since the file would change all the time. However, if I can find a solution that does delta's for db changes, I would be all over it. Would save substantial time and space required for backups.

Thanks for the Exabyte recommendation. I've always been a big fan of their hardware.

D-2-D-2-tape is also very appealing. We were talking about this at length simply because of the critical nature of their medical apps and exactly how much business this institution looses if any system goes down half-way through the day. There's an adjoining building with a free Cat6 drop where we will probably connect with GigE and put the backup solution over there.

I'm going to look into the BE11 solutions and, in particular, the apps that can backup only delta's for changes. This is going to be interesting to see if it can be done with SQL db's though I am skeptical.

I'll leave this question open a few days to allow ya'll to respond. I appreciate the recommendations guys.
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