A backup strategy defines what we get to keep or lose when an unforeseen event occurs. In this blog series, I am going to focus on individual strategies for your disk backup, tape backup, and cloud backup. Each category can be run individually or used to complement the other. Depending on the size of your organization, you might decide to implement one or more. If you want to learn more about backup strategies and what they entail, click here. Without further ado, let’s dive in.
Backup to Disk
Disk is the most popular and simplest way to keep your data backups. You can backup to any type of disk, removable media, NAS or SAN devices, hardware dedupe appliances, you name it. Anything that is hard and can store data could be used. This type of backup provides the right balance between cost, complexity, speed, availability, recoverability, and retention. Does this mean that you can just buy a few hard drives in the computer shop across the street and toss your backup files in there? Well, that depends on how critical the data is for you. In this article, I am going to focus on the right way to backup to disk. I will only look at SME and enterprise solutions.
Option 1 – Backup to NAS
Network Attached Storage (NAS) appliances are the cheapest on the market when it comes to $/TB in a consolidated device. They provide you with a very easy way to start, and most of the time can take on-the-shelf drives. They are very easy to set up and you could be up and running in minutes, literally.
There is a catch though. The typical ones do not always scale very well, meaning as your data keeps on growing you may have to keep buying more NAS devices, creating management silos that can rapidly become a nightmare. Another thing is they do not inherently provide any form of deduplication (the process of eliminating duplicate copies of repeating data on the disk), so every time you perform a backup, redundant data consumes additional space.
To solve the data redundancy problems associated with using traditional NAS, choose a backup software that will perform periodic deduplication of data at rest to ensure optimal space utilization. That said, this form of backup is the most popular and if your data is not that much and does not grow so fast, this could be the right fit for your organization.
I recommend you go with Veeam Backup and Replication, or Veritas Backup Exec for your backup software and lookup HPE StoreEasy (Scalable), QNAP or Synology devices for the NAS system.
Option 2 – Backup to SAN
Few organizations are ready to use their existing SAN (Storage Attached Network) devices as a backup repository. This practice, although not cost effective, is valid and could be the right fit for you. The advantage is that most SAN solutions are highly scalable, and some will even support compression and deduplication of data at rest.
I recommend you go with Veeam Backup and Replication, or Veritas Backup Exec for your backup software and lookup Dell EMC Unity, HPE MSA or 3PAR for the storage appliance. Your choice of drives should be NL-SAS drives (7.2k rpm) which will give you the best capacity $/TB rate.
Option 3 – Backup to Dedupe Appliances
This is the recommended option. This is simply because dedupe appliances are specifically built for this type of workload. These appliances provide hardware-based deduplication up to 60:1 ratio (this means that 60TB backup of redundant data would only consume 1TB on disk). Even further, you can optimize the bandwidth and time it takes to complete a backup job by leveraging source-based deduplication which provides an option for the system being backed up to only transfer data that does not already exist on the target backup appliance.
These appliances can also provide you with Virtual Tape Library (VTL) which emulates tape backup behavior on disk.
I recommend Dell EMC Data Domain and HPE StoreOnce. These are enterprise-grade, highly scalable and highly resilient. They provide source-based dedupe solutions such as Dell EMC DDBoost and HPE Catalyst as well as data-at-rest and in-flight encryption.
Backup to disk is the easiest way to store backups. You may look at it for the online backup and fast recoverability part of your strategy. Remember that deduplication is a key component since backup data is often redundant.
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