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Backups. George Hewitt BCS Teesside - 8 th Feb 2012. Where we’re going. Why backup? Key ideas Backup/restore methods Example architecture Backup media. Context. Survey of European firms: 54% had lost data or suffered systems downtime in past 12 months

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George Hewitt

BCS Teesside - 8th Feb 2012

where we re going
Where we’re going
  • Why backup?
  • Key ideas
  • Backup/restore methods
  • Example architecture
  • Backup media
  • Survey of European firms:
    • 54% had lost data or suffered systems downtime in past 12 months
    • 74% were ‘not very confident’ they could fully restore their networks
    • Most common cause of data loss/downtime was hardware failure

why backup
Why backup?
  • Mitigate risk of downtime
    • Hardware failure, natural disasters etc
  • Mitigate risk of data loss
    • User/software error (including malice!) or corruption
  • How expensive is downtime/data loss to you?
  • A backup infrastructure will form part (or all) of a DR/BC architecture
key metrics
Key Metrics
  • Recovery Time Objective(desired)
  • Recovery Time Capability(current)
  • Recovery Point Objective
  • Retention period (D/W/M)
  • An idea of what you consider unacceptable downtime will guide you towards what sort of DR/BC architecture you need
what are not backups
What are not backups?
  • RAID
  • Clustering / NLB / other HA
  • VM snapshots
  • System restore
  • Outlook PST on local machine
  • Shadow copies?
types of backup
Types of backup
  • Full backup
  • Incremental – changes since last backup
  • Differential – changes since last full
  • Synthetic full
  • Continuous data protection
types of restore
Types of Restore
  • Granular Restore Technology
    • Aka File/Object Level Restore
  • Bare-metal restore
traditional backups
Traditional Backups
  • Benefits
    • Single management interface
    • Direct control over backup selection lists
  • Downsides
    • No reduced costs (backup agent on each VM)
    • Slow to backup (all traffic over LAN)
    • Slow to restore (especially baremetal!)

Over LAN

vm disk level backup
VM Disk-level backup

VM Host & Storage

Backup staging storage

LAN or Storage Network

  • LAN
  • LAN-free
    • Over storage (FC / iSCSIetc)
    • egVCB / vStorageAPI
  • BackupExec VCB, Quest vRanger, Veeam
interesting extras
Interesting Extras!
  • Changed Block Tracking
    • Improve incremental VMware backups
    • Backup software requests changed blocks since last backup
    • eg. 500GB server taking 2hrs, now only 40mins!
  • Active Block Mapping
    • Only blocks in use by the VM are backed up
    • Software interrogates filesystem (eg NTFS)
    • eg. Deleted data is ignored
vm quiescing
VM Quiescing
  • To enable application-consistent backups (eg for SQL, Exchange)
    • Tells the OS/Application to ‘get ready’ for a backup
  • Off = crash consistent backup!
  • However – may require additional scripting depending on application
example architecture
Example Architecture
  • Medium-size business– 200 users.
    • 10 servers
    • Active Directory, Exchange, SQL, File & Print, line of business application
    • Single VM host with local storage (all servers)
    • BackupExec installed on VM but selection lists have been restricted to data only
    • Backups completed to tape
    • RTO is 1hr. Current RTC is 2 days
example architecture1
Example Architecture
  • Provision new physical backup server with disk staging
  • Use appropriate software to perform VM-level backups for most servers
  • BackupExec to duplicate VM backups to tape
  • Use BackupExec agents for Exchange Mailboxes and SQL server
  • Invest in HA SAN or host replication
a note on sql
A note on SQL
  • Precise method used to backup depends on your RTO/RPO (and size/number of databases)
  • SQL Agent Backup Jobs can be an option (backup to flat-file) for small number of databases
disk to disk
  • NAS / Disk shelves
  • Advantages
    • fast!
  • Disadvantages
    • expensive (consider retention period)
    • physical protection (onsite/offsite?)
disk to tape
  • eg LTO Ultrium 3/4/5
    • LTO5 native capacity 1.5TB (2:1 compression ‘possible’)
  • Advantages
    • High-capacity, long life (15-30 years archival)
  • Disadvantages
    • slow (sequential access)
disk to cloud
  • ie. Backup to a 3rd party over the Internet
  • Costs can be attractive
  • But… consider
    • Size of dataset (and/or, speed of link)
    • Replication vs retention
    • Speed of recovery (and/or, speed of link!)
    • Bare metal restores
disk to disk to tape
  • Disk to Disk (backup)
    • Fast – during backup window
    • Might keep <= 2wks on disk for quick restores
  • Disk to tape (duplication)
    • Slow – during working hours
    • Tapes can then be exported and safely archived offsite
scaling it up
Scaling it up..
  • BackupExec – does not scale as well
  • Enterprise solutions
    • EgNetbackup / CommVault
    • Better multi-platform support
    • Better management of large server numbers
    • Additional features (archiving, de-duplication)
    • Integration with other products (egvRanger) still possible
other things to consider
Other things to consider…
  • Large static datasets
    • candidate for archiving first?
  • Storage of backup data
    • Retention periods
    • Offsite
    • ‘Critical spares’
other things to consider1
Other things to consider…
  • Remember – a backup is only as good as the restore
  • Backups may sit alongside other processes such as replication
  • Have a DR strategy and test it!