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Linux Deduplication for Backup Server

Posted on 2011-03-08
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Ok I think the time (and budget) has come to give Linux a serious look on my network. I am currently in the process of building a new NAS storage point. The entire goal of this storage is to act as a backup location for Symantec Backup Exec. For hardware I am using an Intel SR2612URRNA server with 12 2TB drives in Raid 1+0. The hardware part is easy for me, but when it came time to choose an OS I ran into a bit of a conundrum. I'm comfortable within the MS environment, but I don't really need or want a full blown Server 2008 R2 install here. Also I'd really like OS level Deduplication. I now Backup Exec has a version with deduplication on the client side, but I cannot imagine that is a cost effective way to do it. Plus I'd like the hardware to be easily switched to whatever backup software we choose in the future.

So now my actual questions. First what is the best Linux build to use as a simple NAS? Since I've never even installed a Linux distro I'd prefer a consolidated  package. I've heard opensolaris supports is natively, but there are other projects out there. Any recommendations?

What I'd really like is something very easy to install that can be easily seen as a network share on my AD domain. Burn the ISO, hop through a wizard and good to go would b nice. However I just don't know if Linux is there yet.

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Question by:bhieb
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by:dlethe
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why not go solaris? it has built-in dedup and can do every bit of what you ask ... a lot better than LINUX can.
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by:bhieb
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That is where I'm leaning actually, just wanted to hear from the Linux guys if there are other options. Guess I will toss it on a box to see what the setup is like. Plus if I get in over my head I can buy a support plan from oracle for an extra safety net.
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by:farzanj
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If you are looking for scalable, free and stable, download CentOS.  It is the free version of Red Hat.

http://www.centos.org/

You want to implement Samba on it.  Then sharing would not be a problem.  
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mccracky earned 250 total points
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For a NAS (not talking about dedup, usually your options would be Openfiler (Linux based: http://www.openfiler.com) or FreeNAS (FreeBSD based: http://freenas.org/).  I just ran across another based on OpenSolaris: Nexenta. (http://www.nexenta.org/)

As for deduplication, it is provided in ZFS or I just saw OpenDedup (http://www.opendedup.org/)

You might want to read these:
http://krypted.com/ubuntu/goodbye-opensolarisopenstorage-hello-openfileropendedup/
http://mattgadient.com/2010/05/23/freenas-a-powerful-file-serving-solution-but-not-without-its-issues/
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by:dlethe
dlethe earned 250 total points
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Nexenta is opensource, but it is a commercial product, so you have to purchase a license if you have > 4TB of disk, BTW.

However, the price is reasonable and as long as your hardware is on their supported device list you will be fine.  This is important as you literally can not install the software if your disk controller is not on the supported list, even if solaris drivers are available.]
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by:bhieb
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Well thanks all for the input, I'm going to split the points. ZFS looks very promising but with the demise of OpenSolaris, I'm skeptical of implementing it for long term production use. Also I'm thinking that the memory and CPU requirements for dedupe would be large enough that simply adding more spindles would be a better option. Here is another link that was in one of yours mccraky, it does not address my need directly, but it does talk at length about ZFS (the comments section is helpful too).

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3963/zfs-building-testing-and-benchmarking/1
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by:dlethe
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use solaris.  not opensolaris.
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by:bhieb
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What version of ZFS is it currently on though? Dedupe (which was the point of looking to open source anyway) is not on earlier versions prior to 12 i think.
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