Tip

Designing a backup architecture that actually works

Rich Friedman, features editor, Storage magazine

When it comes to designing backups effectively, there are four basic design options to choose from: LAN-based, LAN-free, client-free and server-free backup. Or, so said W. Curtis Preston recently at his Storage Decisions 2003 workshop.

Preston, president and CEO of the Storage Group, also discussed different backup options to consider using NDMP (Network Data Management Protocol). He told the conference attendees that with the new ATA disk arrays it was important to incorporate cheap disks into the overall backup process, especially for nearline storage.

Preston said disk should be the target for all incremental backups, adding "full [backups], too, if you can afford it." And for off-site storage, duplicate all disk-based backups to tape.

In mirroring to disk, Preston said a user should use "dumb" arrays and smart volume managers and replication software. Alternatively, he suggested using smart arrays with replication built into them. The most valuable methods have built in point-in-time snapshots, he said.

Presentation slides and other links to the full session proceedings are available

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here.


About the speaker: For more than 10 years, W. Curtis Preston has been designing storage systems for environments ranging from backup systems for small businesses to enterprise storage systems for Fortune 100 companies. Mr. Preston also authored Using SANs and NAS and Unix Backup and Recovery, the seminal O'Reilly book on backup.

His passion for backup and recovery began with managing the data growth of a 24x7, mission-critical environment, running five versions of UNIX, three databases, and 250 servers. Since that time, Mr. Preston has been able to help dozens of companies design resilient storage systems, and his client list includes many Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies. Realizing that there seems to be a great demand for those who can understand storage technology from an implementation level and be able to explain it in plain language, Mr. Preston has extended his services to the vendor community, assisting them in designing, developing, and marketing new products. Mr. Preston is the President/CEO of The Storage Group, Inc., a unique company that provides consulting services to end users as well as analyst services to vendors.


This was first published in September 2003

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