Windows SERVER 2012 Backups -- DISK retention solution ?

Posted on 2014-08-19
Last Modified: 2014-09-24
What solution do you recommend so
I can do the below "Weekly Friday"
and "Weekly Friday" retention ?
I currently use BackupExec 2012,
which is not realistic for the
below FULL 50 TB+ backups to TAPE.

 ** 10 Windows 2012 SERVERS
 ** 2 EqualLogic SANS, one at each location,
    NIGHTLY replicatation between locations
    for easy disaster recovery
 ** need 45 days worth of easy RESTORES for DISK
 ** FULL 50 TB+ backup to DISK
      ** Weekly Friday
           --> keep last 6 Friday SETS
               i.e. 45 days
      ** Monthly Friday
           --> keep last 84 Friday SETS
               i.e. 7 years
Question by:finance_teacher
    LVL 20

    Accepted Solution

    That's a tall order for disk.

    Let's suppose you're using a solution that deduplicates your data (such as HP StoreOnce or EMC Data Domain), so that you only have to store unique blocks once.

    We know your desired retention policies, the next question is "How much does your data change at the block level between backups?"  For many customers, that's around 2%/day (but some go up to 5% or even more).  Over the course of a week, some of the blocks in Monday's 2% will change again on some other day, so you might see a total of 10% of blocks change between two weekly backups.   Likewise, over the course of a month, you might see 25% of the blocks change (these are just very rough guesses, and will vary considerably depending on your business and data access patterns, as well as how 'mature' your applications are).

    So with deduplication, you'll need to keep
    one full data set.................................................................. 45 TB
    six sets of weekly changed blocks @10% of 45TB each = 27 TB
    84 sets of monthly changed blocks @25%
    which is 84 x .25 x 45..........................................................945 TB

    Which adds up to just over 1PB of disk -- and don't forget that you'll
    also need to account for data growth over that period.

    The hard math above is why I recommend that customers keep data on disk for some amount of time that makes sense for their business -- 3-6 months, say, after which they'll rarely need to perform "lost file" type restores), and copy data which may be needed for audit or legal reasons off to tape.  Physical tape, while out of fashion in some circles, si still the cheapest way to store backup data, both in acquisition cost, as well as electricity and data center real estate costs (a petabyte of disks uses a heck of a lot of electricity for power and cooling!).   HP has tape libraries that will store your data on tape inexpensively (see , for instance the MSL 2024) and has an inexpensive MSL Encryption Kit that will make sure the data on tape is encrypted and safe from prying eyes should a tape be lost or stolen.

    A petabyte of tapes uses almost no electricity -- only the basic HVAC environmental controls -- once written.

    If Backup Exec can't manage that amount of data or tapes, perhaps you need a more capable backup application.  HP's Data Protector can certainly do what you need to do here.
    LVL 28

    Assisted Solution

    by:Ryan McCauley
    You don't mention how large your databases are or where the "Full 50 TB+" total is coming from, so I'm not sure if that's the total volume of all your backups combined or if it's the volume of a single backup (ouch if you want 45 days and one day is 50TB). However, it can be done.

    1. That's a ton of storage space, but it's affordable if you're going to low-speed storage - make sure you're using SAS or SATA drives in your SAN and not pushing that type of backup volume to FC drives, which would be insanely expensive. Since it's only warm storage and not supporting a production application, the performance should be fine when you need to copy files.
    2. Are you doing only full backups? Have you considered differentials to shrink the retention needs? It introduces a bit of complexity - you need a full backup and a differential backup in order to restore successfully, but the size of the diff is significantly smaller than a full and it might still meet your needs.

    Aside from that, I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for - you can perform the backups you're asking about to disk without an issue, but it's a lot of storage. At that point, most people choose to go to tape just for the cost, but that does mean that you're a few hours our from performing a required restore because you've got to load and wind the tape to the right location, so the extra cost of disk storage results in lower MTTR.
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    by:Jonathan Woods
    Depending on your current solution and the money you have invested it may be of interest to look into Novastor Backup enterprise to do that amount of data/retention. The software is fairly cheap and when you combine that with a Drobo Enterprise solution I find it very very unbeatable when comparing to a EMC or Netapp solution.

    The Novastor backup gives you the ability to backup to disk, tape and even the cloud while the Drobo system allows you to easily expand your storage on the fly with as little downtime as compared to traditional SAN solutions. Drobo uses what is called "Beyond Raid Technology" which I find unmatched.

    Check it out

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