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Designing a tape SAN for backup

We are in the process of designing a tape SAN that will be used for backup only using TSM on AIX and LAN-free for Solaris. We are planning on using McData 6064 directors but are going back and forth on whether to use one or two interfaces per tape drive (most likely IBM LTO or Jaguar) for redundancy and whether to ISL the directors into one fabric.

Our tape fabric(s) will be completely separate from our disk fabrics. Any thoughts or rules of thumb?

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There is no technical reason why you could not just plug the tape library into the existing fabric and create a zone for tape only. I haven't played with TSM LAN-free but I'll assume the application servers can back up directly to tape and the backup server handles the robotics and drive access. You can then split a number of tape drives between fabrics to load balance the I/O.

Use a separate dedicated HBA in the servers for backup streams only. Using a completely separate fabric will just make things simpler and keep tape traffic off the production SAN.


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The views and opinions expressed by Christopher L. Poelker are his alone and not necessarily shared by Hitachi Data Systems.

This was first published in April 2004

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