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Fast Guide: Advanced backup

Trying to make your backups run more smoothly, or thinking about swapping out your existing system for something more current? Our Fast Guide to advanced backup is the place to get started. We'll give you tips on strategy, help you compare your hardware, software and media options, and illustrate the ins and outs of mirroring, replication and snapshots. You'll be an expert in no time.

Dana Brundage, Managine EditorTrying to make your backups run more smoothly, or thinking about swapping out your existing system for something more current? Our Fast Guide to advanced backup is the place to get started. We'll give you tips on strategy, help you compare your hardware, software and media options, and illustrate the ins and outs of mirroring, replication and snapshots. You'll be an expert in no time.

   Hardware and software
   Additional information

  Strategy  Return to Table of Contents
  • Microsoft joins continuous data protection party Microsoft has changed the name of Data Protection Server and is jumping on the continuous data protection bandwagon, but it still doesn't have a product.

  • Checklist: How to stretch backup windows on a budget
    In these days of double-mirrored storage and disk-to-disk systems, it's fairly easy to finish backups quickly. Less easy is staying within your backup window without going over-budget.

  • Do you still need to do full backups?
    If you choose synthetic full backups, make sure that the benefits (less time spent doing fulls, faster restores) outweigh the costs (more time and expense on the hardware side).

  • Forget Atkins: Effective SAN extension strategies need CARBS
    The protection of data is no longer a matter of choice for many companies, but one of necessity. Between regulatory mandates in some business sectors and common sense business requirements in most others, data protection has become a front-burner issue that most companies have begun to take very seriously.

  • How to ease into archiving through backup
    Whether you are building out your archive storage because you must comply with federal regulations, or simply because you believe it's the right thing to do, it may make sense to explore what your backup software vendor has to offer for archival software.

  • Lack of DR could be hazardous to your company's health
    Getting some organizations to take action on disaster recovery and data protection might be compared to the challenge of cajoling a long-time cigarette smoker to quit the cancer sticks.

  • Think small to avert big disasters
    There are several approaches to dealing with the prospect of the loss of a single critical file. Here are three.

  • Design critical in data compression backups
    Compressing data for tape backup can produce significant savings in time, performance and hardware. But it can also cause bottlenecks if not designed properly.

  • Cut costs with tiered backups
    For some companies, having a database down means being out of business. In these cases, time to restore is almost as critical as being able to restore at all.

  Hardware and software  Return to Table of Contents
  • Storage Clips: HP unveils SMB backup package
    HP has launched HP StorageWorks Data Protector Express backup and recovery software for SMBs.

  • Microsoft's backup software not a replacement for tape
    The software maker is moving toward a public beta of its backup server as changes unfold at the top of its storage business.

  • WAN and disk emerging in remote office backups The landscape of remote backup is quickly changing. Remote offices are making the shift from traditional tape backups to disk-based data transfers.

  • Storage Clips: EMC OEMs backup reporting software
    EMC has signed an OEM agreement that will see it sell startup WysDM's backup reporting software as EMC Backup Advisor.

  • Storage Clips: CA patches backup software hole
    CA has released patches to fix a serious security flaw in its backup software; Overland to acquire a primary storage vendor.

  • HP steps up its game in data protection
    HP boxes up Microsoft Data Protection Manager; OEMs database archiving software from OuterBay and remote backup software from Asigra for electronic vaulting service.

  • Case in point: Replacing tape backup with Avamar
    Ed Holmes grew up using tape for data retention and protection. Over a period of many years, his company built what was, in his view, a robust tape environment.

  • Products of the Year 2004: Backup hardware
    Disk-based backup arrived in 2004, and Southborough, MA-based Sepaton Inc.'s S2100-ES Virtual Tape Library (VTL) appliance led the parade of products that confirmed disk-based backup's role in the data center.

  • Products of the Year 2004: Backup and disaster recovery software
    Data protection is at the top of most storage managers' minds these days, especially in companies where information fuels not only business decisions but the business itself. XOsoft Inc., Burlington, MA, has carved a niche out of the burgeoning data protection market with a small arsenal of business-continuity products.

  • Product Roundup: Backup software
    Backing up data is a necessity in this age of compliance and disaster recovery. Using software to do backups is a way of protecting multiple copies of data and providing an insurance policy for companies in the event of data corruption or disaster.

  • How to get SCSI reliability on a SATA budget
    Serial ATA (SATA) disk drives combine the low price of IDE drives with longer cabling and better adaptability to RAID arrays than their Parallel ATA cousins. As a result, SATA drive arrays are becoming increasingly popular for building inexpensive drive arrays, especially in iSCSI SAN applications.

  Media  Return to Table of Contents
  • Tech Roundup: D2D backup
    Disk hit its stride in 2004 as a viable alternative to tape for backup and recovery.

  • Vendors shrink D2D archiving boxes for smaller shops
    IBM and EMC Corp. announced lighter versions of their respective disk-based archiving products this week, recognizing that the current versions of these systems are not getting traction with smaller companies.

  • Seven ways to minimize tape failure
    Tape backup is still the most frequently used backup method for business users because of its cost-effectiveness per megabyte of data, despite the increasing popularity of recordable CDs and DVDs. However, just like any technology, tape drives, backup tapes and tape backup software can fail.

  • Making disk-based backup work
    For those struggling with nightly backups, the arrival of low-cost disk promises to be the greatest breakthrough for improving the process since the introduction of centralized, networked backup in the early 1990s.

  • How to architect tiered backup with D2D2T
    To figure out the true capabilities and limitations of current disk-to-disk-to-tape strategies, we have to examine actual implementations of products and talk to the folks in the trenches about what works and what doesn't.

  • Straight talk about D2D2T
    Disk-to-disk (D2D), and disk-to-disk-to-tape (D2D2T) have taken the center stage in industry discussions around data protection. Both technologies leverage a multi-tier architecture fielded either with the intention of improving the performance of backups in production environments, or to expediting restores in the wake of a primary storage failure or accidental file deletion.

  • Cheap SATA spurs D2D
    Two vendors are capitalizing on falling disk prices to create disk-to-disk (D2D) backup appliances that complement -- and in some cases replace -- traditional tape backup.

  • How long does tape last, really?
    The most commonly quoted figure for the archival life of magnetic tape is 30 years. Even in an era of heightened concern about compliance and records retention, that is long enough to make storage administrators comfortable -- perhaps a little too comfortable.

  • The dirt on WORM tape
    Although most people still think of WORM (Write Once Read Many) as a form of optical disk storage, tape WORM is an increasingly popular option.

  Mirroring  Return to Table of Contents
  • Pros and cons of remote mirroring for DR
    What you will learn from this tip: The differences between synchronous and asynchronous remote mirroring, and when to use each as part of your disaster recovery strategy.

  • When -- and when NOT -- to use mirroring
    What you will learn from this tip: Mirroring provides a failsafe for data, but it's not without its pitfalls. Here's when and when not to use the features of mirroring.

  • Alternatives to software mirroring
    What's the best method for a total copy from drive 1 to drive 2, for the purpose of backup in case drive 1 gets corrupted? You know first-hand the downside of mirroring.

  • Mirroring data over IP
    Is it possible to somehow synchronize a NetApp filer with an EMC DMX2000 over IP?

  • Virtualization delivers replication, mirroring
    At issue: New virtualization products offer more than unified access to storage.

  • These mistakes can kill RAID dead
    One of the main reasons to use RAID instead of JBOD is to improve reliability. With mirroring (such as RAID 1 or RAID 10), or striping with parity (such as RAID 5), the system can recover from a single hard disk failure with no loss of data.

  • How to maximize your mirrored tape controller
    Most companies buy mirrored tape controllers to do exactly what the name implies -- make a mirrored copy of one or more tapes during the backup process. However, most of the products on the market can do other things as well. It's worth taking a look at what your mirrored controller can do to see if it can help you in other ways.

  • FAQ: Serverless backup
    Many of the questions experts recieve is about serverless backup. These three questions and answers should help answer what serverless backup is, the difference between LAN-free backups and serverless backups and the best way to design a server free backup architecture.

  • School patches SAN failures with FalconStor mirroring
    It sounds like the plot for a bad movie. A college student works tirelessly to finish a big exam or a thesis and at the last second the computer fails and everything is lost. Well, this nightmare became a reality at Cuesta College when a storage array failed and 100% of the student data stored on the network was lost.

  Replication  Return to Table of Contents
  • Stars align for remote replication
    At issue: Remote replication is here at last, thanks to cheaper disk and new technologies.

  • Legato vs. Veritas for backup and replication
    My client has ordered the EMC CX500 and Veritas Volume Manager to provide the storage tier behind Sun Solaris hosts serving Oracle DB and WebLogic application servers.

  • When to use host-based replication
    What you will learn from this tip: How, when and why to use host-based replication instead of the pricier, centralized, storage-based variety.

  • Replication: Sun vs. Veritas
    We have eight database servers, two pairs with normal Sun Cluster, and the other two are inter-domain clustered also using Sun Cluster.

  • Replication for high availability
    What you will learn from this tip: How to design a replication system that meets your organization's performance needs -- and doesn't break the bank.

  • Replication of OS and applications
    We plan to setup a DR site for existing critical servers at a remote place using Legato's Replistor.

  • Is replication worth it?
    Data replication is an increasingly common way of solving backup problems, including shrinking backup windows and the need for near-immediate failover and restores.

  • Distance benchmarks for data replication
    User question: I currently have two EMC Symmetrix systems about 200 miles apart. When we tried to do synchronous replication the production boxes were frozen.

  • EMC refreshes remote replication
    EMC Corp. announced it will offer, in the first quarter of 2005, heterogeneous replication for its Symmetrix array enabling users to replicate data to IBM, Hitachi Data Systems or Hewlett-Packard Co. storage arrays, instead of another Symmetrix.

  • Server-based replication for Netware
    I have an EMC CX300 SAN serving storage to NetWare 5.1 and Windows servers. I now want to replicate to another location, but the CX300 does not support array-based replication. Thus, I need server-based replication and I am struggling to find a tool for NetWare. Any ideas? Thanks!

  • Checklist: Ten steps to data replication
    Data replication protects your data during a disaster and makes backups a snap, but with so many vendors in the space, and a variety of architectural approaches to the problem, how do you determine which data replication strategy is right for you?

  • The evolving role of data replication
    The traditional role of data replication has been to support disaster recovery plans, but that may be about to change.

  • Synchronous replication distance limitations?
    I currently have two EMC Symmetrix systems talking over enrange to each other. The systems are about 200 miles apart. When we tried to do synchronous replication the production boxes were frozen. A few quick calls around suggested that there are distance limitations of around 100 Kilometers for the amount of bandwidth we are trying to do this over (T3). Is this true?

  • Remote replication gets out of the array
    If you're a Symmetrix user and have stringent remote replication requirements, Symmetrix Remote Data Facility (SRDF) is pretty much the only game in town. But SRDF has its limitations: It's extremely expensive and only works within Symmetrix environments.

  Snapshots  Return to Table of Contents
  • Understanding snapshots and point-in-time copies
    What you will learn from this tip: How to perform time-based snapshots and point-in-time data protection, how these techniques differ, appropriate uses for each and some technology examples.

  • How to get more out of snapshots
    What you will learn from this tip: Uses for snapshots that go far beyond cleaning up after your users; plus, a few things to watch out for when using this technology.

  • CDP: Super snapshots -- eventually
    What you will learn from this tip: Two different definitions of CDP, the offerings from vendors in each camp and how continuous data protection differs from snapshots.

  • Disk space for data snapshots
    If I want a snapshot of a 100 gigabyte (GB) volume, how much disk space must I have in advance?

  • Data snapshots and clones on DAS
    I am trying to find a host-based software package that can create multiple snapshots and clones of data on direct-attached storage (DAS) to SAN-attached storage (DAS) to SAN-attached storage.

  • SAN School Lesson 11: Using Point-In-Time Copies
    What are point-in-time copies? What types of point-in-time copies are there? Lesson 11 of's SAN School dissects point-in-time copies and snapshots.

  • Storage Clips: EMC adds snapshot feature to RepliStor
    EMC has upgraded its Windows file server replication product to support Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service; SAP and IBM partner on analytics product.

  • How to get more out of snapshots
    The most common use for snapshots is quick, easy restores of accidentally erased or corrupted data. However, snapshots can be used for a lot more than simply fixing users' mistakes.

  • Should you use snapshots for end-user file recovery?
    The growing adoption of snapshot technology is making end-user file recovery possible. End-user file recovery occurs when a user accesses recent file snapshots to recover personal files that may have been inadvertently deleted or damaged.

  • Hospital keeps data alive with snapshots
    South Nassau Communities Hospital (SNCH) recently went shopping for software that could plug a hole in Veritas Software Corp.'s Backup Exec product, namely the ability to quickly recover its e-mails at an affordable price.

  • Symantec attacks backup with live state recovery
    In an effort to include storage within its empire of security products, Symantec Corp. announced Tuesday that it is going after the backup market with live state recovery software products that do point-in-time snapshots of entire servers or desktops.

  • Snapshot versus plug-in/APM
    Most backup software offers an add-on module for hot backup of live databases. Is there any functional or feature difference between a database backup taken using a plug-in/APM from a live database, and a backup that is taken from a snapshot without a plug-in/APM?

  • Windows backup application falls short
    One of the first products that works in conjunction with Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy (VSC) to make point-in-time copies of files on a transaction level, XLink's FilePreserver allows users to restore files from snapshots taken within the previous six months.

  Additional information  Return to Table of Contents
  • Learning Guide: Backup/recovery's unique resources help you navigate your way through the process of backing up and recovering your mission critical data.

  • Backup School
    One of the most important storage functions you need to know is how to properly backup and recover. Backup School is dedicated to exposing you to all of the aspects of backup and how to optimize your backup environments. The author of "The Backup Book", Dorian Cougias is your Backup School professor. In each of these 15-minute lessons he'll walk you through what a backup is, all the way through reading that last tape for optimal recovery. Backup School is in session -- enjoy!

  • Advanced Backup School
    Our Advanced Backup School covers topics such as multi-streaming, interleaving, and multiplexing, and how most environments misuse them, when and how to use disk with your backup system, how to properly size your backup server, tape library, etc., the top ten ways storage folks misconfigure backup systems and when to use LAN-based, LAN-free, and server-free backups -- as well as other advanced backup techniques.

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