Backup and Corruption Protection: “I want to go tapeless”

May 15, 2008

I constantly hear:

1) “I want to virtualize my environment.”

2) “I want to eliminate tapes and go tapeless.”

3) “I want buy a SAN.”

4) “I want to replicate between my headquarters (HQ) and DR facility.”

The key here is appropriately mixing technologies. By design, and based on the laws of physics, virtualization and SANs need speed and high performance. iSCSI is surpassing Fiber Channel this year in shipments and is the only way for credit unions to go. The cost of supporting FC and the training uplift needed for staff and personnel is not worth it. My point is that your SAN and virtual hosts need to be screaming demons from a performance perspective. 

Back-up is another story. Back-ups can be slow and can be scheduled. When it comes to back-up ask yourself what you want to do. For example do you wish to:

1) Use traditional back-up software?

2) Leverage VCB and a proxy server to back-up your virtual hosts to tape?

3) Implement an ‘in the cloud’ backup solution?

4) Use a disc-to-disc approach for backup (cool method)?

You should also ask yourself the following questions:

1) What is the method for corruption protection? This is key to the design and architecture of your system.

2) What is the present cost to back-up? Costs include Iron Mountain, tapes, and maintenance fees.

3) What is the cost to lose back-ups now? Costs include communications with members, and fines.

4) Do you want to plan for archiving now? Do you want to use a SAN approach of integrate with cheaper back-up discs when archiving? What about your core system?

5) Can you integrate all aspects of the CU? This includes Microsoft, Imaging, and Unix. Can you integrate your core system into the back-up solution? What about the imaging system? What about your Microsoft environment? In summary, can we embrace a comprehensive solution with the back-up system? 

6) Can you truly “go tapeless”? What about the O/S tape from the core system?

I hope that this gives you a general impression of what questions to ask when discussing backup, DR, SAN and virtualization.