An account executive I work with recently asked me for two questions to start discussions with his customers on backup and recovery issues. Limiting this to only two is a challenge so this post is the first two questions I would suggest.
Two simple questions to ask yourself (or your customers)
1. How are you positioned for Disaster Recovery?
2. Do you want to be tape free?
Both of these are intertwined with the trends in the data protection space, driven by Deduplication appliances and replication.
Let’s hit the second question first. Tape has its place for longer term retention. That has not disappeared for most organizations. “Cloud” based archiving services are starting to emerge that may eventually displace tape based solutions for longer term storage, but the economics need to continue to improve for this to become viable for larger entities while smaller organizations may find a place for this type of solution today. What has changed is that tape is fading as the primary backup and restore source for many organizations, even for DR.
The face of data protection and disaster recovery is changing rapidly.
- Deduplication appliances in the backup space now provide a space efficient and bandwidth efficient solution to RTO and data separation requirements. This will not be a tutorial on Deduplication but it allows for vastly reduced backup image sizes by using file and block level Deduplication. By capturing only unique data on a “global” basis the backup image size is reduced by a 12:1-20:1 factor allowing efficient storage of backup images at the local site and replication of the backup image to the DR site. (NOTE: your mileage will vary by source data type.)
- By coupling a pair of Deduplication appliances between the two sites the recovery from the appliance can happen at either site in the same fashion and tape is almost never involved in recovery.
- NetBackup provides Auto-Image-Replication (AIR) that that makes recovery easy and consistent between the source and recovery sites. AIR provides for the automatic (space efficient) replication of a backup on a Deduplication appliance to another appliance at the DR site including the import of the cataloging of the backup image at the DR site. Now both sites will know about the backup and it can be restored from either site without any additional preparation of the backups for restore at the DR site (e.g. media transport, catalog import, or worse tape import).
- Reduce the complexity of your DR procedures by making them the same procedures you use daily for recovery purposes.
This leads us back to the second question – Do you still need tape? The need for tape in the DR and local file restore scenarios can be greatly diminished or eliminated. Duplication of backup images to tape at either site can meet the long term retention requirements.
With a pair of Deduplication appliances and some planning you can eliminate/greatly reduce tape requirements and provide a DR capability that is ready for rapid recovery.
Do you want to be tape free? Do you need rapid restore and disaster protection without media recall? The answers usually support each other handsomely. Contact me if you wish to discuss this in more detail.