Sunday, March 9

Backups, cheaper and faster?

When did backups become easy and affordable?
I've been sort of slacking off in the backup game in the last year or so, our backups have been managed by other parts of the company and some backups have been outsourced to BSP's. I recently spec and deploy a basic Netbackup solution for our office servers at work and was amazed how extremely simple the whole thing was. The first backup system I worked with was Legato Networker (now owned by EMC) and it was at the time a pretty great product but it was quite difficult to manage, lots of things needed to be scripted and setting up a new tape library required quite a lot of tweaking.
Secondly, the budget was at first glance fairly limited but when we speced up what we needed and got a couple of quotes in I was amazed of how much we actually got for our money.
I wanted basic disk staging then duplication to tape. The obvious choice for tape was LTO4, we get pretty good price / performance, market leading capacity and it's a solid standard.
Most suppliers actually quoted the same tape library, just branded by different vendors. HP, Dell, IBM. All where IBM 3573 tape libraries, it's a excellent and affordable library. Dell came in best in price as usual. We opted for SAS attached. The backup server, my first choice server these days, is the Dell PowerEdge 2950. I buy it for pretty much 75% of all requirements. Speced out with a pair of Quad-Core 1.86GHz processors, 4Gb RAM, 6x500Gb SATA drives (in RAID5) for the disk staging pool and a SAS5 to attach the library.
Software wise the server is running CentOS 5.1 and Symantec/Vertias Netbackup 6.5 “Linux Starter Edition (LSE)”. The LSE is a pretty good deal, you get a server license, tape library license and 5 client licenses (with bare metal, open file etc.) for a fairly low cost.
Installing and configuring Netbackup was as easy as it gets, the tape library was detected on boot, no sysctl.conf changes needed. Stepped through the netbackup installation process, added the tape library (less than 5 clicks!!), defined a couple of tape label policies, created a 2Tb disk staging pool with my new tape group as the target, just add water (ehm, clients actually).

The total cost was under £13.000 (about $22.000), installation time was less than one day, included was:

  • Veritas Netbackup 6.5 Linux starter edition
  • Netbackup clients 5-pack

  • Netbackup Exchange agent

  • Dell PowerEdge 2950 server

  • Dell PowerVault TL2000 library w/ one LTO4 SAS drive

  • 25x LTO4 tapes

  • 3x LTO cleaning tapes

  • CentOS Linux 5.1 (free)

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