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Netting Out NetBackup

How to upgrade or replace backup software - More Thoughts

Created: 09 Apr 2008 • Updated: 22 Jan 2013
Peter_E's picture
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Stephen Bigelow, of (or TechTarget) posted a brief article entitled "How to Upgrade or Replace Backup Software".  Stephen raised some good points which can be summarized as follows - "make sure to invest in a backup platform that supports next generation technologies" such as VMware, encryption, and data deduplication.  Needless to say, for larger enterprises or those with heterogeneous environments I would advocate upgrading to the NetBackup Platform to address current and future needs

Curious to know more about the NetBackup Platform?  I suggest a skim of this NetBackup Platform whitepaper.  I don't what to repeat in a blog what has already been described somewhere else.

Data deduplication, or whatever other vendors choose to call it, continues to be a hot topic in the storage and backup world.  There are three areas that blur together in discussions

1) Where in the data path should deduplication occur? 

2) Should I deploy software-based deduplication or hardware based?

3) How should deduplication storage integrate with my backup software?

Where in the data path should deduplication occur? 

 - Client-side deduplication - occurs on the server your backing up

 Business use cases: remote offices, virtual machines guests (file level), distributed servers

- Target-side deduplication - occurs after data passes through the backup server or before writing to disk.

Business use cases: data center deduplication, low cost disk-backup & recovery, disk-based disaster-recovery.

Should I deploy software-based deduplication or hardware based?

 We think the software based approach to deduplication will provide customers with more scalability at lower cost because they'll have the opportunity to choose their own servers & storage.  Indeed, with NetBackup PureDisk you can get backup deduplication with a mix of heterogeneous servers & storage.  We'll have PureDisk even more integrated with the NetBackup Platform in the near future.  Get a great 4 minute animated demo here.

Though I've made a shameless plug for our own software, we recognize that many customers prefer an appliance based approach to storage, especially for data deduplication.  That's why the NetBackup Platform includes the Open Storage API, a mechanism that allows NetBackup to talk natively to intelligent disk devices.  What does this mean in non-techno / marketing chatter? See my next point.

How should deduplication storage integrate with my backup software?

Should I answer this question with another question?  Why do you have backup software in the first place? 

Most customers with whom I speak appreciate the value of a centralize application that can centralize polices, schedules, and backup operations of business applications and data.  They like the fact that with one application they can direct backups to different media and storage types from disk to tape and from NAS to SAN.  Indeed, that one application will not only be cruise director for your backups, but will let you choose different types of backups methods - streaming backup, snapshot, CDP, client-side deduplication. 

Does it make sense that you'll probably want to protect Exchange differently from your file & print servers?  Of course, it does.  Bill Roth, one of our in-house experts, wrote a great paper called "Good, Better, Best Data Protection Strategies for Exchange".  This is a no-nonsense guide to Exchange server backup planning and recovery.

Back on topic: "how should deduplication storage integrate with my backup software?"

We think integration between the backup application and disk-based storage is critical as customers consider new disaster recovery and backup replication scenarios.  Here's an example why.

Use Case: Backup to disk in the data center and then replicate to the DR site

1) How does the backup application know when an image has been duplicated? 

2) Does the backup application record this alternate copy in its catalog?

3) Can you easily manage when this backup image at the DR site should be deleted / expired if it's not under the control of the backup application?

The answer to all of these questions is "NO" without backup application integration.  Someone may convince you that this can be managed, but do they really care how well you manage expiration of data across multiple devices.  A little extra data is a little extra storage, which adds up over time.  Did you want to buy more storage? More importantly, when the chips are down to recover data from a DR site – how easy is it to get those systems backup up and running.

Yes, I'll admit that companies have gotten by in the past without this integration, but as the volume of disk-based backup and replication increases you will want to consider both the management and cost savings of integration with your backup application.  If you're upgrading your backup application, plan for the future.

This is why NetBackup developed the OpenStorage API and has over 13 storage partners signed up in our program.  Data Domain recently announced the availability of their NetBackup OpenStorage Solution. Read their Mar. 31st PR piece.

Have I intrigued the disk side of your brain? Check out this great technical whitepaper on disk-based backup to better understand the pros and cons to different disk-based data protection architectures. 

I didn’t get to VMware backups in this post or encryption, so I’ll save that for next week.  Let me put out one last thought.  Rather than deploy another application to protect your virtual servers, consider using a data protection platform – The NetBackup Platform – to eliminate VCB scripts and streamline backups by combining image based backup and granular file-level recovery into one process.  This is a unique feature delivered by Symantec.  Others may claim this, but you’ll use twice as much storage and backup time.  If you’re an impatient VMware junkie– check out our Symantec VMware solutions page or get right to the heart of it in the NetBackup VMware Best Practices whitepaper.

So if you’re considering upgrading or replacing your backup application, see how your options compare to those offered by NetBackup Platform.

Message Edited by Peter_E on 04-09-2008 05:38 PM