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Best Disk Based Backup Solutions for over 1.5TB of Data

Posted on 2009-05-18
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We have three servers we backup.  Currently we are running BESR (Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery) on these servers and taking a base backup once per month and incrementals about four times per day.  These backups are stored on a NAS and then every morning we copy them to a USB hard drive attached to the NAS for offsite purposes.  The data is growing to the point where we can only fit about a months worth of backups on the NAS and USB drives.  We need to be able to hold three months worth of data which is about 1.5TB, we want this data on both the offsite solution and in the in house solution.  We also need room to grow.  What I don't want is a tape backup solution, what I do want is a disk based backup solution, possibly a SAN.  My main question is about offsite, we don't have a big enough pipe to use an offsite backup service, we want the backups offsite and if they could be on disk that would be awesome.  So, I'm looking for recommendations as far as in house and offsite.  I do want to stick with an image based backup although not BESR, preferably Shadow Protect.  Please don't just send me a link to some page about a product.  I want to hear what people are using, what works and what doesn't.  Please don't respond to this as if it is a home user case either, and as if I'm only backing up 50GB of data vs. 1.5TB of data.  
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Question by:Squaretree
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garycase earned 500 total points
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First, I apologize for using links that aren't useful for you (e.g. Newegg) ... but I have no idea who your supplier might be in Tahiti.   The links are simply to show details of the products I mention.

I assume, since you say that "... every morning we copy them to a USB hard drive attached to the NAS for offsite purposes ...", that the USB interface is adequate for the amount of data you copy daily.

If that's the case, then for the offsite solution I'd simply get a 2.0TB external drive.   Western Digital makes a 2TB version of the "MyBook" series;  you could create your own with this case [http://www.usb-ware.com/esata-usb-raid-2-drive-ds3rpro.htm ] and a pair of 1TB drives in RAID-0 (or install a pair of 2TB drives and have built-in fault tolerance with RAID-1); or you could create your own with any USB external case and a single 2TB drive.

Depending on how often you swap the offsite drives; you could even consider using one of these units [http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817392022 ] and simply carrying the bare drives to/from the external storage location ... storing them in these:  http://www.wiebetech.com/products/cases.php  [That's how I back up my 12TB video server -- I use 1.5TB drives for cost purposes; but will switch to 2TB drives when the cost decreases a bit.]

For the in-house backup, you can simply buy a larger NAS (there are several 5TB offerings) or set up an in-house SAN.   I'd opt for a NAS -- the Buffalo or Princeton 5TB units would both be nice (You didn't say what size your current NAS is, but I assume 5TB would be a nice increase).
Alternatively, you could build a dedicated PC to act as your NAS, with a 5-in-3 cage (or 2) so you could easily add drives as your needs grow.
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by:andyalder
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Why don't you want tape for the offsite copy? It is the best solution.

You don't need a SAN, an external enclosure preferably SCSI or SAS attached connected to the backup server is cheaper and faster.

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by:Squaretree
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andyalder - I'm sure being the expert you are, you can think of a lot of reasons I wouldn't want to use tape anymore

garycase - Thanks for the info.  I should have been more clear.  I don't mind links like you provided.  I just didn't want someone to respond with a whole answer that consists of a link.  I like the idea of "a dedicated PC to act as your NAS, with a 5-in-3 cage (or 2) so you could easily add drives as your needs grow"  I guess the only problem lies in how to get offsite without tape and if our data grows beyond 2TB.

More information:

Right now we are at 1.5TB of data.  We need a backup solution to last three years.  My problem is if we get a 2TB USB drive(s) for offsite then we will probably grow beyond 2TB in three years.  I have been doing some research and found the idealstor backup solutions with ejectable disks (this is meant to replace tape for offsite backups).  The website is here:  http://www.idealstor.com/teralyte.html
I would be interested to hear if anyone has experience with this and how it has worked for them.
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by:andyalder
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Nope, can't think of any. Tape's still the best for off-site storage.
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Glad you like the PC-as-NAS concept.   I have a couple of these and they work very well (hopefully your supplier can get the IcyDocks or an equivalent):  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817994028

For an external non-tape solution (I agree that tape is still a good option; but you since you asked specifically for non-tape options, I'll stick to those), you could use the drive caddy and storage boxes I noted above until your needs approach the 2TB limit -- it's likely that by then you can buy a larger drive (and still use the same caddy);  or you could get one of the dual-drive enclosures I noted above [or one of these:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817707174&nm_mc=OTC-Froogle&cm_mmc=OTC-Froogle-_-External+Enclosure-_-STARTECH-_-17707174 ] and install two 1.5 or 2TB drives in RAID-0, giving you a 3 or 4TB "drive".



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by:SelfGovern
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two things to consider, depending on how much data you have...
1. RDX drives.  It's a ruggedized removable SATA drive.  I know that HP's come with a continuous data protection software, so that you attach it (internal or external mount, via USB), and it automatically backs up everything on that server, giving you restore points every 4-6 hours, and even better granularity per-file.  On a daily basis (or less often, if you want to put more data at risk), you swap cartridges, taking the old one to off-site storage in a two- or three-cartridge rotation (three better than two, of course).  
2. D2D Backup Appliance with deduplication: Creates one or more virtual tape libraries which you back up to as if they were real tape, in this range, over iSCSI, which uses standard Gb Ethernet.   Deduplication is a way of storing identical blocks of data only once, allowing you to store as much as six months' of data in the space it would take for two week's backups without deduplication (assuming weekly full backup, daily incremental).  You can even have a second system as a target for low-bandwidth replication at a remote location, allowing you to recover in the case of complete site failure/destruction.  This is probably more expensive... but with replication becomes a near-enterprise class solution at a fairly affordable price point..

Sorry for the late answer.
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by:Kurt4949
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Hi, I'm curious if you went with the idealstor disk backup solution.  I'm thinking about goin that route.
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