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MSA1000 Backup Strategy

Benny Bennyson
Occasional Contributor

MSA1000 Backup Strategy

Hi people - Just want to get some advice from forum members on backup strategies -

Firsty our current configuration: 13 Proliant DL360's (11 of which boot from SAN), MSA 1000 with one enclosure, 2 x HP StorageWorks SAN switch 2/16V, MSL6030 Tape drive with an e1200 fibre storage router. Currently no zoning is configured, all WIN2003 boxes, normal business functions MSSQL, Exchange and File.

Just want to get some thoughts on optimal backup strategies for such a configuration for high availability and quick recovery’s of LUN’s and data?

I have spoken with a Symantec/Veritas pre-sales; they have given me these two options:

1. Traditional method - 1 Backup Exec 10 License + 12 remote agents – this method will utilises our internal LAN and not the Fibre fabric SAN network which seems a huge waste
2. Purchase 13 backup exec licenses, install backup exec on all 13 servers + 13 SAN storage options licenses and manage from 1 Backup server – seems crazy to me having to install backup exec on all 13 servers but at least it is utilising the fabric.

I guess ideally we would implement a disk to disk to tape backup strategy, making point in time backups. Would the MSA1000 unit support a secondary large SATA enclosure?

I’ve only just started investigating HP backup options, Data Protector and Storage Mirroring however not exactly sure which one or combination of products fit our needs.

As a stop gap solution could we use one of these products to make point in time copies of LUN’s or data to another larger LUN on the same enclosure and then backup from there? Still putting all our eggs in the one enclosure though? I guess I’m worried about recovering boot LUN’s quickly, if the MSA1000 does support a secondary enclosure, and point in time backup’s are made of the entire LUN are we able to point the Proliant to this secondary enclosure and boot the point in time LUN. The concern is if we lose the entire enclosure (extremely unlikely one would hope) we would be down 11 servers.

Has any one had any success with a similar config with other products?

I know, so many questions so little time, if you have any ideas on the above points let me know

Frequent Advisor

Re: MSA1000 Backup Strategy

I am told that HP's data protector will allow you to do san backup without having to purchase separate "media server" or "san agents". I still need to confirm this, but you may want to look into this option. Data Protector does allow backup to disk as well.

Trusted Contributor

Re: MSA1000 Backup Strategy

The last I knew, MSA1000 does not support SATA enclosures. It only supports SCSI. The MSA1500 supports SATA, SCSI, or a mixture of both.

So if you have an MSA1000, you're stuck with SCSI only as your storage option.

In addition, the MSA series of controllers do not (yet?) have the ability to do snapshots (point in time copies), ability to replicate to remote sites, and so-forth. Typically this type of functionality is done in the array, with backup and other software integrating with the array's native capabilities for this (e.g. Data Protector's ZDB module, and so on).

In order to do copies to other disks, you'd have to rely on Windows LVM (i.e. using the OS volume manager to mirror from one logical volume to another), or a third-party tool. Also keep in mind that anything doing these copies of filesystems that are in-use at the time (like OS disks, database volumes, etc.) are going to be "in-flight", and are probably NOT going to be consistent copies.

OpenView Storage Mirroring gives you the ability to keep a mirror copy of your data on another set of disks -- but typically with another server at a remote site, traversing a LAN/WAN to get there. You could run it on a server and point it to itself, but other software solutions would be more elegant.

Other types of host-based software, and particularly backup software, is not making a "point-in-time" copy. Files can be changed, removed, and added to a volume while the backup is running. For example, a file could be added and then removed before it gets backed up, because the backup software hasn't traversed that far into the volume yet. The "disk-to-disk" backups just use disk drives as the destination instead of tape drives, to help speed up backups. They still suffer from the above limitations.

Cost-wise, Data Protector will probably be much cheaper for you. You do NOT pay for disk agents, media agents, and so forth. Rather, you pay for concurrent drive licenses (plus any licensing for your library itself -- slots, etc.). You would only have to pay for the number of tape drives you would be running simultaneously, and not for all tape drives, media agents, disk agents, etc.

You could install and configure all the servers as media servers, so that they would backup through the SAN fabric. However, I suspect you're going to find that's a lot of trouble to go through. Each server would have to have a LOT of data to really make that worthwhile. You'll probably end up backing up your smaller (i.e. < 50 GB or 100 GB) servers through the network, and larger servers (i.e. 150 - 200 GB or larger) through the SAN fabric.