Dell PowerVault DL2100 Powered By Symantec and Continuous Protection Server Setup and Best Practices

We currently have 1 SBS 2003 R2 Premium Server, acting as DC, Exchange and SQL Server with a Windows 2008 R2 standard server as a member server running SQL server for SAP business one. The SQL is part of the SAP business one. We have a Powervault DL2100 running Symantec BackupExec 2010 R2 with 750GB available for the backups on RAID5 and a PowerVault 124T with 2 magazines of 16 LTO-4 tapes capacity in total.

The idea was to have full backups done on the DL2100 every evening so they are done within the backup window and then copied to the tape overnight for offsite storage the next morning. The data to be backued are around 80GB (25GB images, 25GB emails, 25GB documents like pdf's, spreadsheets, word... and 5GB of SQL databases). Obviously there is the windows files and AD data to be backed up as well.

The full backup option on daily basis is the more preferable option for me because if something goes wrong directors will be breathing down my neck especially because the do not understand IT and they expect everything to be there at a click of a button.

I now want to integrate to the backup solution the Symantec Continuous Protection Server that came with the DL2100, to give me the ability to restore files / exchange data from snapshots during the day and not from the night before only.

Apologies for my ignorance with regards to the CPS but reading the admin guide of the CPS, it mentions that 4 seperate volumes are needed: system, journal, snapshots and backup volume.

The way I understand the concept of CPS is, that it backs up the business servers to the backup volume, and then the backed up data are snapshoted hence the snapshots volumes. The system volume I assume is the holding area for System State and
Shadow Copy Components to be backed up. Finally the journal volume is used to hold the journals for the dynamic data changes. Further down the same admin guide it mentions about the indexing directory that needs to be installed on a separate volume. Do I need 5 volumes in total and not 4?

If not, then is the above 4 volumes assumption correct? Am I right to think that for performance purpose the 4 volumes need to be on 4 diferrent physical hard drives? Can and/or should the hard drives be in RAID configuration? And if in RAID, would a RAID 5 be suitable at least for the backup and snapshot volumes? Would the Shadow and Journal and possibly the Index volumes need to be in RAID 5 or RAID 1 or 0 is enough or even no RAID at all?

The DL2100 has a H800 raid card and to one of its ports a DELL MD1200 is connected with 12 x 300GB 6Gbps SAS hard drives which gives me the ability to create 4 x RAID 5 volumes with 3 Hard drives each, or 2 x RAID 5 with 3 hard drives and the rest of the drives can be configured on RAID 0 or 1.

Please advise me if my thinking of how the CPS works is correct and also for the volumes/disks configurations.

Many thanks in advance

Kojak UK
Kojak_UKAsked:
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DavidPresidentCommented:
(I posted this in the request-for-attention, sorry, and it did not have all additional info, but will leave it here and append at bottom because there is still some good stuff ;)
CPS is RAID agnostic, just like SQL Server, iTunes, or your web browser.  But due to the nature of what this system is designed to do, I'll make a suggestion

You MUST get quality, enterprise-class disks, and an appropriate RAID controller.  I have no idea how may users or terabytes of data you need , so will make this rather generic.
 
1. Bottlenecks will be the network & write speed.  If you DON'T go with a quality RAID controller with a battery backed up write cache, and you are doing RAID5 / RAID6 then you could very well end up with write speeds in the 20-30 MB/sec area.  

2. Last thing you want to lose is the backup, so you better go RAID6, which provides 2 redundant disks.   If you have say 4 x 2TB consumer class disks then a rebuild at 40MB/sec might take a week. That will be a long, stressful week.  Just ONE bad block in the surviving disks means partial data loss.  With a cheesy low-end RAID controller, it means 100% data loss on just a bad block.   All because you tried to save a few hundred dollars.

3. RAID6 is a must as far as I am concerned. Remember you can lose a disk or just have an unreadable block.  RAID6 covers you even in event of a drive failure.  You do NOT want to have to worry during the 100% inevitable, drop-dead, bet-your-life drive failure scenario that all the data will be lost if you go with RAID5.

4. A battery-backup for the write cache in a controller (check out LSIs 920x family)  provides protection, but also covers you against data corruption if you get an I/O error in the middle of a write or a disk fails.  Low-end controllers won't protect you.

5. Enterprise disks are a must.  Not open for discussion.  Make sure the disks are qualified for RAID5/6 and not the "desktop" class.  There is a real difference because enterprise drives have timing changes designed for use behind RAID controllers, and 24x7x365 duty cycle.  

6. If you just need a few TB, then just get yourself a pair of enterprise class disks, and you can just use software-based RAID1, but since this IS a backup, then I would still go with a RAID controller, and do a 3-drive RAID6.   Losing data is not an option, I would think

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Additional:
 * Go RAID6, not RAID5.  This is not going to be profoundly I/O intensive, as you will be mostly doing sequential writes.  The H800 supports RAID6.  Use it that way. I would go with a 6-drive RAID6 configuration so you can balance I/O.  Set block size to 256MB.  Then whenever you write data, all disks will have equal amount of load for maximum efficiency).  Sorry RAID5 is unacceptable, as rebuilds could still take over a day.   Better to go RAID1 then RAID5, because both offer same level of protection, but a RAID1 rebuild will be done in a few hours, vs. overnight, so you have lower exposure.

* If you did not buy the battery backup, option, do so.
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