What are the newest and fastest Backup technologies?

I am looking for a faster way to back up my Exchange environment (Full Store and individual mailboxes) and file servers.  I currently run Dual LTO4 tape drives.  The amount of data can range from 300gb to 6TB
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andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
You won't get much faster than your current two LTO4s :- 80MB/s * 2 so you can backup at 160MB/s without compression currently. Of course you could use a single LTO5 at 140mbps and you could get a big library that took 12 tape drives or a disk array with 100 drives or an enormous pile of RAM but could you feed your backup system that fast?

Slow Exchange backup is down to the read speed from the Exchange server in 95% of cases, what type of speed do you get at the moment with your LTO4s?
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
I agree with andyalder, LTO should give fastest speed. As for technology, if you using full backup + increments approach of backup then it must be as fast as it possible for today.
Thomas RushCommented:
Minor correction -- LTO-4 is 120MB/second native.

Questions for the OP:
1) Do you know how fast your backup jobs are actually running?  That is, are they running as fast as 120MB/second?   Faster?   Slower?
2) For each of the backup jobs, do you know how compressible the data is?

The reason I ask these questions is: If you're not seeing at least 120MB/sec times the compressibility of your data, then your tape drives are not the bottleneck, and you can get better performance by identifying the bottleneck and optimizing *that*.  If you have HP drives, you can use their free TapeAssure, which will monitor performance and compression, as well as the health of your media and drives -- see http://www.hp.com/go/tapeassure .  I don't believe other vendors have anything equivalent yet.

If you're filling up your tapes and having to span tapes, LTO-5 tape drives are available.  at 1.5TB native, they are almost twice the capacity of your current drives.  Performance is a bit faster, at 140MB/sec native (but remember the questions above; if the tape drive is not the bottleneck, they won't be *any* faster for *you*).  LTO-5 tape drives will read and write LTO-4 media (at its native 800GB capacity and speed), and the encryption is interoperable between the two.

That said, if you have a limited number of tape drives and you're running into backup window issues, you might be able to get your backups done quicker by using a D2D backup system.  These appliances let you backup many simultaneous devices to disk to help you meet your backup window; the fact that the data is on disk makes it quick to restore; they store months worth of data in the space that would normally fill up in two weeks because of a technology called deduplication (single instance storage of duplicate blocks), and you can copy off to physical tape at your convenience.  HP makes one -- see http://www.hp.com/go/d2d , and there are many other vendors as well.    But if you're meeting your backup window and objectives today, this is probably an expense you don't need.

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Have you considered Avamar from EMC? The product will dedupe data at the source and send only the delta from the last backup. And you won't need to buy LTO4 tapes any more or pay maintenance on the drives and a library. The product comes as complete software and hardware solution where you only pay for storage consumed, the storage that is needed to keep deduplicated (unique) data only. I didn't want to point to a white paper on EMC and spare you from all the marketing crap. Here is an example I found (one of first links on Google).


These guys shrunk their backup window from 13 hours to 2 hours with Exchange.

There are other up sides with Avamar you can benefit from, like backing up your desktops and VMs (and it's all comes for free as long as you have capacity in the grid left).

Take a look at good luck!
Thomas RushCommented:
Someone else a few months back got a quote on a <10TB Avamar solution, and it was $300,000.  Wow!

Also be aware that holding data on disk, even deduplicated, is very expensive for both initial acquisition cost, and also the electricity needed to keep the disks active.   Tape is cheap.. when compared to disk (also consider density and data center real estate, where you can fit a lot more TB of tape in a square foot than you can disk).
To say "A backup of 10TB with Avamar costs $300K" is like to say "I paid $3,000 for gas this year". Is it cheap or expensive? Well, it depends how many miles you've driven. Likewise, the sizing of a backup solution depends on amount of data that is kept on the storage, which depends on data retentions. The solution can also be "replicated", which means it's 2 Avamar grids and a replication license, which sounds like the case here, assuming usual 90 days data retention.

Tape is cheap, you're right. Unless you need to buy 5000 cartridges every quarter. :) With $50 a piece you'll end up paying $1M/y.

My point is that ROI and TCO of the whole solution are necessary to say whether it's cheap or expensive. Comparing only separate pieces of the equation is not the right way to go.

In this case, the question was not a cheap solution, but fastest one. That's why I believe my suggestion was appropriate.

Not going quite as esoteric as some solutions, how about putting DPM between your Exchange server and your tape drives ?

By going D2D2T with a product that does "virtual full" backups, your Exchange backup window can dramatically shrink as once the initial full backup is complete, all of the rest are just block incremental backups that are recreated on the DPM server as a full.

The bigger issue is recovery time, but if you moved to CCR (Exchange 2007)  or DAG (Exchange 2010) both of which can be geo-split (providing sufficient bandwidth of a low enough latency is available), you can always "failover" to your alternate mailbox server.
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