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Consolidating Data Management with Enterprise Storage and Backup Systems. Barry Ribbeck – Director, Systems, Architecture & Infrastructure, Rice University Hubert Daugherty – Manager, Digital Media Services, Rice University Susie McClure – Systems Analyst, Rice University. Rice University.

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Consolidating Data Management with Enterprise Storage and Backup Systems

Barry Ribbeck – Director, Systems, Architecture & Infrastructure, Rice University

Hubert Daugherty – Manager, Digital Media Services, Rice University

Susie McClure – Systems Analyst, Rice University


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Rice University Backup Systems

Carnegie R1 Designation

Ranked in the top 25 schools in US

~ 5000 Students

~ 1100 Faculty

~ 1500 Staff


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Enterprise Storage and Backups Backup Systems

  • Enterprise - a distributed resource provided centrally

  • Storage - a place to put your stuff

  • Backup - Describes what you are doing when you are not moving forward. When it works, it can be incorporated into your career progressions plan.


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A Large New Network Project Backup Systems

  • Provided a funding opportunity

  • Defined storage as part of the critical need

  • Provided the required network infrastructure for enterprise storage (Data can live anywhere)

  • A fresh look at technologies for enterprise storage and backups


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Data Assessment Findings Backup Systems

  • Many distributed resources managed inconsistently

  • No consistent backup strategy

  • Few economies of scale

  • Data management plan – buy more disks

  • Growth Rate of digital storage needs was increasing

  • No differentiation of data retention or DR requirements

  • Old, outgrown and dying backup hardware


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The Available Resources Backup Systems

  • Very talented and knowledgeable staff

  • Funding

  • Support from administration

  • Understanding from the campus


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The Challenges Backup Systems

  • Changing EVERYTHING at once

  • In order to transition, we would have to keep 2 systems operational with the same amount of staff who are already over taxed with all of the other changes

  • New skill sets required to maintain new resources


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Goals Backup Systems

  • If possible, the changes MUST have a positive visible affect on the customers

  • Storage must be able to scale (1/2 PB in 7 years) with no step function costs.

  • Support for Information Lifecycle Management (ILM)

  • Must support a Multi-tiered storage model

  • Must be a model capable of integrating multi vendor storage

  • Support costs defined for 5 years

  • Staged backups with only full backups to Tape


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RFP to Storage Vendors Backup Systems

  • SAN with NAS Gateway design defined

  • Invited 7 vendors to respond to the RFP

  • Very wide dispersion of cost vs benefit

  • Bluearc Titan carried the day with a big iron model and 50 TB of initial storage


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Defined Storage Usage Backup Systems

  • Email Mailbox storage (NO QUOTAS!)

  • Client Home directories and shares

    • 5000 students, 1000 faculty, 1500 staff, 1000+ guests (with quotas)

  • Database storage – Oracle, MSQL, Postgress (Sakai, Coldfusion,etc..)

  • Video Archives

  • Research Data Scratch space


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Backups Backup Systems

  • Remember Katrina & Rita?

  • Tape is like Listerine

  • We needed a MAID to clean up our backup processes

  • What about Disruptive Technologies?

  • Hardware choices

    • Copan Systems & Sun/StorageTek

  • Software choice

    • Commvault


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Storage Details Backup Systems

  • San Storage components

    • Positives

      • Standards Based

      • Multiple vendors enable competition

    • Negatives

      • Difficult to modify SAN architecture

      • Expensive network components

    • Nas Gateway

      • Provides storage abstraction and management


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Systemic Performance Backup Systems

Which System Elements Need Additional Optimization?


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Systemic Performance Backup Systems

Surprise, it’s the regular stuff!


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Systemic Performance Backup Systems

Dual 6509 frames with 2 dedicated 10G interlinks. One for layer 2 and one for layer 3.



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What we Learned Backup Systems

  • The integration of a lot of new technology took longer than anticipated even though all of the vendors supported well understood standards like NDMP.

  • Outsourcing the integration would have been a mistake due to the complexity and the need for in house knowledge.


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Bluearc Backup Systems Lessons and Vendor Report

  • Clients can’t compete

  • Outages MUST be coordinated with everything that uses the system

  • Clustered Titan nodes are a requirement

  • Vendor

    • Great support – very responsive, good technical people

    • Work well with other vendors

    • Problems we have worked through

      • NDMP, Replication, LDAP, still some to things to address, getting them to understand Enterprise in HE


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Copan Lessons and Vendor Report Backup Systems

  • Good Product very reliable

  • Good support team, works well with other vendors

  • Good hardware, very robust, are meeting their claims. 1 drive and 1 shelf failure in 1 year.

  • Software is solid for what we use it for


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Sun Lessons and Vendor Report Backup Systems

  • Very good support

  • Very good product.

  • Robot and disk drives failed and were replaced and were quickly replaced under support contract.


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Commvault Lessons and Vendor report Backup Systems

  • Software difficult to get installed even with their professional services

  • Support is lacking in depth but they are very willing to work with us.

  • Windows backups work very well

  • Support works well with other vendors

  • Integration was very difficult and time consuming

  • Software patches were very frequent and problematic

  • Support tracking system is terrible

  • NDMP support is very challenging

  • When the product works, it works well

  • Documentation was poor


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Contact Information & References Backup Systems

  • Barry Ribbeck [email protected]

  • Hubert Daugherty [email protected]

  • Susie McClure [email protected]

  • www.bluearc.com

  • www.copansystems.com

  • www.sun.com (Storagetek)

  • www.commvault.com

  • www.inphase-technologies.com


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