You are on page 1of 9


In any business scenario data plays a vital role. There is no continuity of business without availability of data. Backup is one of the data storage methods that prepare you for the worst. Particularly utilities and critical service providers like telecom carriers must be prepared for any kind of disaster. About 30% of companies lack disaster recovery strategy. The lack of sound disaster recovery strategy leaves those companies vulnerable to potential data loss as a result of massive power outages, catastrophic disaster, viruses and the like. Faced with such grim reality the data storage industry has responded by developing techniques and technologies that can help you create a sound and effective disaster recovery plan. Rapid growth in storage bought on by Internet and distributed computing technologies have placed nearly impossible demands on administrators responsible for protecting data assets. In the past several years, the architectures of data protection have continuously changed depending on storage milieu, enterprise backup, recovery requirements, availability of more sophisticated software and hardware infrastructure components. A data backup plan encompasses issues such as backup policy, frequency of backup, what to backup, how long to restore backed-up data and includes onsite and offsite storage strategy. Different backup methodologies exist today to choose from that suit the enterprise.

Backup Architectures
Depending on the data size, requirements of the enterprise, backup window, setup and location of backup there are numerous backup architectures available today. Decentralized storage led to large-scale deployment of network backup solutions, while recentralization of storage caused the backup models to change towards local backup of large servers with centralized control. Lately, networkattached storage appliances have resulted in new backup methodologies such as NDMP (network data management protocol). More recently, increased popularity of SAN environments has led to even newer backup architectures. Local System Backup Local backup is the most common and straightforward mechanism for providing protection of data. This method installs all components like engine, data source, data mover, and everything else on the server. Using this technique involves copying data objects like files, volumes, and databases from primary disk to secondary storage, most commonly tape media. The main reason for running local backup is to get faster performance from a locally attached tape drive; it is completely self-contained, and thus not vulnerable to the availability of networks or other servers. The main problem with this type of single-server backup is the amount of management support needed. Local backup needs at

least one tape driver per server, one backup software per server, and multiple tapes for each server. This is considerably more to manage than a single large network backup system. The two major disadvantages are that it requires a dedicated secondary storage device for every server and that all I/O impacts the local server.

Fig 9. Local System Backup


Network (LAN/WAN) Backup A local and wide area network backup architecture is an obvious alternative to local backup architecture. The backup client produces a backup image from disk and sends the image across a network to the backup server, which directs this image to secondary storage. The main advantage of using this architecture is sharing secondary storage devices and centralized administration. Another important benefit is that using this architecture offsite backup is feasible which is much more safer than local backup. The chief drawback of network backup is consumption of network resources.

Fig 10. Network Backup


NDMP backup Network Data Management Protocol will create first opportunity to provide truly enterprise wide heterogeneous storage management solutions. NDMP, as an embedded protocol, separates the data path and the control path, so network data can be backed up locally yet managed from a central location. NDMP provides a means to perform backup of servers and appliances that are typically unable to host native backup clients. Prior to NDMP, these environments used remote file sharing protocols such as NFS and CIFS. In the NDMP architecture, the host initiating and controlling the backup operation over TCP/IP is labeled as the NDMP client, and the systems performing data movement from disk to secondary storage are labeled NDMP servers. The main advantage of using NDMP backups are centralized administration and the reduction of network traffic.

Fig 11. NDMP Backup


There are different backup methods existing now. Some of them are: 1. Backup to disk- it is expensive to backup to a disk. Cost per Gigabyte of disk drives is far higher than cost per Gigabyte of tapes. However it seems that more and more companies are going for this backup to increase the speed of important backups and dramatically decrease the restore time. A common application of taking backup on disk drives is having a direct copy of the data on disk. In case of data loss you can synchronize the production disk with the backup disk made. It will still be necessary to stream this data to tapes for long time storage.

Fig 1. Backup To Disks


2. Removable media: a) CDR (CD recordable), b) MO (Magneto Optical) drives c) ZIP drives, etc This option is merely useful for relatively small amounts of data. For large amount of data multiple volumes are to be used which makes it complex to manage. Also it is too time consuming to backup big chunks of data onto a backup medium with a storage capacity of less than a GB. But still these come handy when data has to be kept for long period like archives of tax data for instance. Two years ago one could write 650 MB to an MO disk whereas today you can write 9 GB to that MO disk. This makes it perfect solution for backing up the desktop computers.

Fig 2. CDR

Fig 3. ZIP driver

Fig 4.MO driver

Source: Source: =UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

3. Local tape drives- A widely spread method of backing up data is that every server has its own tape drive(s). The advantage is that one need not have to worry about network bandwidth or the availability of a backup server. For increasing the capacity when tape drive is full can be done manually or extra hardware can be used like an extra drive or a tape stacker.

Fig 5. Local tape drive


4. Shared tape drives (one or more backup servers)- Another common method is using a backup server. This machine has the task of gathering data of other machines spread over a network. This can be dedicated machine or any machine that is idle at the time of backup. For instance, if one has 50 machines to backup and do not have money to invest in a big dedicated backup server. In this case he/she my keep 5 machines for the task of backup each is backing up data of 10 machines. Backing up several machines without making careful inventory may cause the media to run out of capacity. There are future considerations like how fast are these machines to write all data to tape in the designated backup window and are there any future plans for these machines, what kind of support contract do each machine has on them etc.

Fig 6. Shared tape drives


5. Tape stackers- a tape stacker is an intelligent choice when one runs out of single drives capacity. A stacker works according to the sequential system. The first tape is written until it is completely full after that second tape has its turn, this routine repeats itself until the last tape is used up. Using a simple schedule, this will force you to change tapes as soon as the stacker is full.

Fig 7. Tape Stackers

Source -

6. Robotic tape libraries- Tape libraries refer to any tape automation products that are physically larger and hold more tapes than a tape stacker. Common library configurations have two to four tape drives and can hold 20 to 400 tapes. It uses a totally different mechanism than the tape stacker. The tape library is inventory aware. This means that the library knows about how tapes are in the library. It often uses barcodes attached to the tapes as a reference. Libraries can use barcode readers to identify tapes as they are inserted. The software that controls the library keeps track of the content of the tapes. This offers to mix different sets of clients, schedules and retention periods.

Fig 8. Robotic tape library

These are some of the backup methods and architectures, which can be used for enterprise backup. The whole aim of backup is to keep data more safer using a simpler, cheaper and effective method. References: 1. Building Storage Networks - 2nd Edition by Marc Farley (Storage Networking Industry Association) 2. Exploring Backup Alternatives In A SAN Environment