Cloud Backup Survey - Investigating Solutions

Posted on 2015-02-02
Last Modified: 2016-06-26
Greetings.  We have a nice HP SAN that is currently backed up using Symantec Backup Exec 2014 to a Western Digital NAS box.  Good redundancy, but not offsite.

I'm curious what other small businesses are using for offsite backup these days ?  One of our IT consultants mentioned a Barracuda solution with an onsite appliance.

We have a 40Mb/s pipe (up and down) and about 1TB of user data.  I have no problem with an archive type of storage (i.e. once a week or every two weeks, an upload of incremental changes).  The data would not need to be accessed unless a total disaster struck our organization.  We're a non-profit, so I know some discounts are available out there.

Ideas ? Suggestions ?
Question by:lapavoni
LVL 78

Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 40585905
I use Azure server backup
LVL 36

Expert Comment

by:Jian An Lim
ID: 40585908
that really depends on country you are in as well so it very subjective to the answer.

I will contact some reseller or ask for sponsorship since it is non-profit.
almost every solution has discount on non-profit

for example, storagecraft

and more to go
LVL 38

Assisted Solution

by:Philip Elder
Philip Elder earned 250 total points
ID: 40586197
How big is the WD NAS?

In some cases we have two or three identically configured NAS devices being rotated off-site.

The drawback to Cloud, even with 40/40, is the recovery speed. If the main site goes offline and a secondary is required then it is better to have a physical box to bring in with the needed data.

We use ShadowProtect exclusively for all of our standalone and clustered Hyper-V environments. We are looking to Veeam for the more complex environments.
LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 40587039
As Philip Elder points out, a key question about cloud-based backup solutions is whether the ones you're considering can get your business back up and running fast enough when a rebuild is needed.  Remember that in the case of a disaster, it may be more than just your server room that's affected; how will the networking and telephone infrastructure hold up in your metro area?

A consideration for physical offsite disks or cloud storage is how long you have to retain your backups.   If your backup target uses deduplication and compression, even a 2% daily change rate will work out to be adding something like 4-5x your primary storage to the backup store each year.   For that reason, for data that needs to be kept more than a year, many people consider the old standby, physical tape.  Once written, the cartridges need no more than basic environmental control (something like 50 - 90 degrees F), and retain data for decades with no other electrical use (unlike disks, which need to be kept online to retain data reliably).

One suggestion for a high-availability solution is DoubleTake, which mirrors your data to a second server (possibly many-to-one) and can run off the second server seamlessly from the user perspective.  But remember that this is not backup; with almost any storage mirroring solution, corruption, virus activity, deletes, and accidental overwrites get replicated just like the good data.

Or, if you want a true backup solution with replication, and have access to a site where you can have a second array, HP's StoreOnce VSA runs as a VM under VMware or Hyper-V, and provides a very efficient backup target with low-bandwidth replication of your backup jobs.   You will need a supported backup application.

As with any "what should I do for backups?" question, you will get a more accurate answer if you can provide the following key information (I do note that you've answered some of these questions already):
1) How long do I need to retain my data?  (days, weeks, months, years, decades?)
2) How much data can I afford to lose? (a transaction, second's worth, minute's worth, hour's worth, day's worth?)
3) How long can I afford to be down?  (seconds, minutes, hours, days, a week or more?)
4) What's my budget?
5) How much is the business worth (annual profit, or annual revenue stream to the owner, etc.)?
6) You're kidding, right?  The business is worth that much, and that's all the owner is willing to spend on keeping the business running if a server goes down (or worse)?
7) Do you have access to a secondary data center or site you can place a backup target/replication system?
8) How much data do you have to backup, and how is it growing?  Tell us the configuration of your primary storage (vendor and model number, physical connectivity to it (direct connect SAS, iSCSI, Fibre Channel SAN, NAS, etc.).
9) What is your current backup solution (list all HW, SW, and processes used)?
10) What are your current upstream and downstream speeds available for backup traffic?
11) If your current backup methodology has particular pain points or you have particular concerns, describe them.
12) Are there legal or business process requirements that indicate you need to encrypt your backup data?
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Author Comment

ID: 40587077
David, I'm considering Azure. However, I'm not a programmer, so I don't know if there's a native GUI to manage backups with Azure storage or if a third-party backup app we already use will work with an Azure target (Symantec Backup Exec 2014)

Philip, I presume you're asking how large is the physical WD NAS ?  A square 15 pound box, which I really don't wish to disconnect regularly.  It runs Windows Storage Server 2008.

Self, I appreciate your numerous questions.  Here goes:
1. We're talking about user and organization data on our SAN file server (files, videos, images, etc.).  I would say permanent storage.

2. None of this data is transactional.  We use Salesforce for that.  We will be using Office 365 shortly for e-mail. The only "critical" server where the OS and data reside on the same box is our Finance server, which runs SQL Server and uses a relatively small database.  We'll be moving this to a cloud based solution shortly.  I run a backup server, AV server, Print server, and one DC inside a MS HyperV host.  I have backups of these, as well as snapshots. I am thinking they can be relatively easy to restore in the event of Total Disaster.

3. We don't have a stream of income like a retail business or bank, so it's hard to tell how long we can "afford" to be down.  Suffice to say, our business will not cease to exist or "lose money" if we are down for days or a week or two. Obviously, no one plans to be down that long, but this is not an extreme worry for us.

4. Not sure about budget until I get a range of costs.

5. We do not use a secondary data center and do not have plans to do so.  Technically, our Salesforce data and Office 365 data are always redundant.

6. At this time, we have about 1TB on the SAN.  I've run duplicate file/folder checks and have cleaned up much of it, but I'm sure de-duplication is always helpful.  It' s an HP MSA-P2000 SAN with an iSCSI connection to a Windows Server 2008R2.

7. We have 40Mb/s upstream and downstream, so an initial backup would take a while, but incrementals would be pretty quick.  We're looking at more bandwidth later this year.

8. Our current backup (Symantec Backup Exec 2014) to the WD NAS is very reliable, if a bit slow - a full backup once a month takes 20+ hours including verification.

9. Encryption is not a legal or business requirement.
LVL 78

Accepted Solution

David Johnson, CD, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 40587120
azure has its own backup agent for server backup.. some client operating systems are also supported.. i.e. windows 8.1

Author Comment

ID: 40587130
David, if I install the agent on a server hosting the SAN through mapped iSCSI drives, that works ?  Thanks.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 40589996
Some good suggestions and advice. Thanks.

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