Ask the Expert

Best practices for backup from SAN

I am in the process of redesigning a client's network. To give you a brief description, I will be using Intel Blade servers with a SAN for clustering on a Windows environment. What would be the best practice for backup of data? Would it be possible to install dedicated drives on the SAN for VTL backup? Like everyone else, I am looking for a cheap solution but with out losing performance and dependability.

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Depending on the number of servers, the least expensive (and incidentally a very good practice for backup) is Microsoft's Data Protection Server (disk-to-disk backup.) Others that are very good and reasonably priced with the additional functionality of CDP (continuous data protection) are Storactive, Asempra, Asigra and SonicWall/LassoLogic. CDP is incredibly useful today for Exchange data protection.

Disk-to-disk backup is a lot more dependable than tape and some of these software products are so effective at de-duplication, that they are a lot less expensive than tape and much easier/faster on the restore.

VTL is a stop-gap solution for users who have already invested in backup to tape, don't want to change any of their procedures or reconfigure their software. For a new design, I do not recommend it.

This was first published in December 2005

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