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Data protection: what works with what and how do I connect it all together?


MF.jpgBy Mark Fleischhauer, HP StoreEver Tape Storage Solutions Engineering Manager

Building and configuring a data protection solution can be a daunting task. You need to figure out what works with what, how to configure it and how to architect a solution that solves the problem you have in your business. There are a wide variety of products and components available for data protection—but until they all come together in a solution, it’s just a bunch of piece parts.


It’s reminding me of my first electronics kit...

It included a collection of resistors, capacitors and diodes mounted on a clear plastic board with ElectronicsKit.jpg
connectors. The kit included a variety of different schematics and diagrams that could be placed behind the clear sheet showing the wiring connections between the components. The kit showed me how to make projects like a tone generator or photocell controlled light dimmer. It helped me create a solution from all the individual components. (Confession: my favorite was the laser gun sound maker).


We at HP have created a number of tools and documents to help you do the same for data protection.

No, it’s not as simple as a kid’s electronic kit but if you break things down, it’s much easier to understand—and HP has everything you need to design, configure and implement your solution. Let’s take a look.


What works with what

Since the very first tape-based data protection solutions were introduced (formerly known as the HP Enterprise Backup Solution or EBS), HP test engineers have been investing a number of hours and test cycles to make sure everything works together. In the early days of Storage Area Networks (SANs), this was a bit more of a challenge. Combining tape and disk on the same SAN required more low level testing to make sure sequential access devices and random access devices could co-exist. Over time, this has become the norm however new interoperability requirements continue to emerge. This extensive testing extends up the entire software stack, beyond just hardware interoperability, to include the backup and archive applications and management software.


Matrix.jpgWhy is all this testing done? To ensure that all the individual piece parts work together seamlessly. This extensive collection of compatible products is listed in the HP Data Agile Backup, Recovery and Archive (BURA) Compatibility Matrix. The matrix includes information for both the HP StoreEver Tape Libraries and the StoreOnce backup appliances—with a number of embedded hyperlinks to help you find additional information quickly. Since every IT environment is always changing, so is the matrix. It’s updated monthly to reflect the latest information and results of the ongoing testing that HP performs.



Connecting it all together

You know what components work together but now you need to know how to connect it all together. You may still be wondering which solution is best for you to solve your business problem. Or you may need to know how to configure a certain host bus adapter to work in a specific operating system.


To get started, HP has put together an HP Backup and Archive Example Configuration Guide that is a collection of different solutions in a single, easy-to-read document that provides a high-level solution description, a simplified architectural drawing and a data flow reference. This guide helps you quickly scan through a number of possible implementation scenarios, ranging from simple point-to-point solutions to more extensive solutions such as 3PAR mirroring solutions, StoreOnce solutions with Recovery Manager Central and StoreEver Tape-as-NAS solutions. You may even find something you hadn’t considered.


The BURA Solutions Design Guide helps you with the detailed connectivity. It describes how to prepare Windows, Linux, HP-UX and other operating systems for connecting to HP StoreEver Tape and HP StoreOnce disk-based backup appliances in Fibre Channel SANs and network attached storage environments. It also includes an installation checklist, information for preparing SAN switches and hosts for failover, switch zoning recommendations and help on software installation, plus information on protecting virtual machines created by VMWare, HP Integrity Virtual Machines and Microsoft Hyper-V.  


Advanced solution implementation

Perhaps your requirements demand a more advanced solution. Maybe you have a very narrow backup window or you have cold data sitting on your enterprise arrays that needs to be moved and protected on lower cost tape. Or maybe you have an Oracle or SQL database that needs to be protected and you’re not sure the best way to make this all work together. We spend a lot of time working with our customers and field engineers. We listen to your challenges. What’s more, we have the opportunity to build and test solutions that may not be possible in a production environment. We can exercise the solutions with a variety of data sets and combinations so we can provide guidance and information so end users can implement a solution built on test data and experience. Check out this extensive list of solution white papers. Clicking on any of the solution links pulls up all the solution white papers for that given topic. New solutions are added and existing solutions are updated as new technologies are introduced and features are added.


Start to finish: building a data protection solution doesn’t have to be scary

We believe that these tools and documents can help you build a data protection solution that meets your needs—with confidence that the entire solution has been tested to ensure it meets the highest quality standards.

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