Remote Site Business Continuity with Syncsort XRS White Paper

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1 Remote Site Business Continuity with Syncsort XRS White Paper bex wprs-xrs

2 Remote Site Business Continuity with Syncsort XRS Introduction As companies increasingly migrate to distributed business models to take advantage of favorable conditions across wide geographic areas, they face the challenge of how to effectively protect data resources at remote dispersed sites. All too often, the approach is far less than ideal for a number of reasons including cost, administrative demands, and decentralized data management. Data resource loss can range from an accidentally deleted file to a corrupted server to a catastrophic site failure. Fortunately, a new disk-based backup solution has emerged that integrates simple server backup and recovery for remote sites with centralized control, while costing much less than conventional mirroring strategies. With this solution, file restores are locally administered, yet bare metal disaster recovery is executed from headquarters. This solution leverages the low cost and high speed of disk storage, enables nearinstant recovery from past points in time, and employs groundbreaking technologies that maximize the speed of data transfers and increase the frequency of data and server backups. This new solution is easily scalable to accommodate data protection and disaster recovery needs for even the smallest and farthest remote sites. Data Protection Objectives for Organizations with Remote Sites Business continuity in a high-volume, volatile, data-driven enterprise requires frequent backups and fast comprehensive recoveries. Traditional backup methods cannot provide that. The challenge is sharply defined by two key concepts: Recovery Point Objective (RPO). The optimal RPO is recovery as close as possible to the data state at the moment of failure. The major obstacle to reducing the RPO is the inability to back up frequently without impacting other operations. Recovery Time Objective (RTO). The ultimate goal is recovery that occurs so fast that business is not affected. The major obstacle to reducing the RTO is the time needed to locate, assemble, and restore or remount backup data. The ideal is minimal RPO and RTO without costly mirroring strategies and storage expansion. Optimal RPO and RTO are difficult to achieve locally and even harder to achieve remotely. The new solution helps optimize these objectives in a well-integrated fashion for remote sites as well as for central headquarters. Needs Analysis for Remote Site Data Protection Whether a remote site is as small and near as a telecommuter's home or as large and far as a corporate engineering facility across the globe, special data protection needs must be addressed. When opening a remote site, a site supervisor routinely sets up a localized data backup plan, such as periodic backups to local media for small sites or offsited tape backups for large sites. But localized approaches alone are insufficient from a corporate standpoint. What if headquarters wishes to monitor the data? What if the remote site is struck by catastrophe? A hassle-free centralized backup approach that retains local control for simple file restores is the answer. Page 1

3 SMALL REMOTE SITE CORPORATE WAN LARGE REMOTE SITE SMALL REMOTE SITE Local Source Servers Local Source Servers Disk-Based File Server Local Source Servers Tape Library Disk-Based File Server Disk-Based File Server Local Source Servers Containing Master Catalog Spare Machines DISASTER RECOVERY SITE Spare Machines CENTRAL DATA CENTER AT HEADQUARTERS Server Backup File Server Replication File Restore Disaster Recovery Figure 1 Data Protection Topology For Remote Sites Page 2

4 To meet the seemingly conflicting goals of centralized backups and distributed restores, your remote sites require the following capabilities: the ability to perform frequently scheduled tape-free server backups directed to either (a) an existing offsite location (such as headquarters, a central data center, or a larger remote site) or (b) local disk storage with data transferred to headquarters by using a fast replication tool. locally administered file-level restore capabilities across a LAN or the corporate WAN. the ability to restore files, applications, or environments from past points in time in the event of system corruption from a virus or other cause. a disaster recovery plan that includes bare metal recovery handled at headquarters. the capacity to redirect another server at headquarters to the remote site data while a failure at the remote site is being repaired. The central data center at headquarters accumulates all the remote site data as well as data originating at headquarters. The central data center requires: seamless disaster recovery site capabilities. the ability to easily access up-to-date remote site data if there's a failure at a remote site. bare metal recovery capabilities. regulatory compliance (which may include tape storage). Satisfying Remote Site Data Protection Needs A company that has covered all the needs described above achieves an unsurpassed level of confidence when it comes to data protection. Most large organizations have a mix of small, medium, and large remote sites. An ideal disk-based data protection topology is illustrated in Figure 1 on the preceding page. The illustration depicts two small remote sites, one of which backs up to and restores from a related large remote site, the other which backs up to and restores from headquarters. The large remote site backs up to and restores from a local disk device server which is replicated to headquarters. The central data center at headquarters backs up locally and has the capacity to stream to tape and perform bare metal recoveries. Disk device servers at headquarters are replicated to a disaster recovery site, which also can execute bare metal recoveries. In a realistic scenario, your company may have many more remote sites, both small (e.g. retail outlets) and large (e.g. regional offices). That a company with both small and large remote sites can piggyback data snapshots from the smaller to the larger sites, ultimately collecting all the company's data at central headquarters, makes this topology extremely scalable. Page 3

5 Syncsort s Advanced Technologies Deliver Remote Site Data Protection Synergies The new disk-based solution to data protection for remote sites takes advantage of several state-of-the art components and features offered by Syncsort. In doing so, it decisively meets each of the remote site and central data center needs described above. Block-Level Incrementals (BLI) By only backing up data that has changed at the block level (after a single full, base backup is completed), continuous BLI data transfers are performed. These are as much as 90 percent smaller and faster than conventional backup systems that transfer data at the file level. As a result, more frequent incremental backups can be run with no impact on bandwidth utilization. Because data transfer volumes are so small, block-level incrementals can be effectively transferred over either a LAN or a corporate WAN even if the WAN connection is slow so the destination disk arrays can be located either locally or remotely. Backup Express with AdvancedClient Technologies Backup Express, Syncsort's high-performance enterprise data protection solution, uses groundbreaking image-based technology including the AdvancedClient agent for Windows or UNIX source servers. This technology enables bypass of the file system during backup, so all files can remain open and no backup time-window is needed. When combined with BLI, this allows for many backups of any server to be run each day without affecting production operations. AdvancedClient technology empowers companies to automatically create complete point-in-time restorations of files, folders, or volumes, whenever they are required all without having to load multiple tape cartridges. By merging each new block-level incremental snapshot with previously stored BLI snapshots and the original base backup snapshot, each backed up data set is synthesized on a hosted disk array as a full virtual volume point-in-time image. Express Recovery Server (XRS) Express Recovery Server is a disk-to-disk solution that facilitates vast amounts of storage at very low costs. With XRS you can choose storage disk arrays that are precisely tailored to your needs. Depending upon the importance of the data or applications being backed up, you can choose high-quality, medium-grade, generic, or JBOD storage, or a combination. XRS accomplishes this by supporting common Windows 2003 x64 servers as its destination host even for UNIX sources and allowing any direct, SAN, or iscsiattached disk array to be used for storage. The Windows 2003 device servers used for this purpose are referred to as XRServers. By using disk storage, you eliminate the need to stock and manually transport tapes to offsite storage facilities, and you benefit from the fact that data can be restored from disk storage much more rapidly than from conventional tape backups. Catalog and Replication Backup Express uses a single central backup catalog which can be maintained at the data center at headquarters and duplicated to the disaster recovery site. This unique feature makes central control of all backup and restore operations feasible, while the Backup Express browser-based GUI permits remote sites to coordinate with headquarters and handle local administration as needed. Page 4

6 Sidebar: Seeding an XRServer Block Level Incremental backup is a feature of the Syncsort remote site solution that assures that after the initial base backup of a remote node, all future incremental backups will be small and quick, even over a slow WAN link (such as a telephone line). But if a source node at a remote location contains a large amount of data, you may find it impractical to perform the initial base backup over the slow link. Backup Express offers a solution. The special process of transferring an initial base backup snapshot to a destination disk device is sometimes called seeding. Seeding an XRServer generally consists of six steps, though the specific procedure will vary, depending on the environment: 1. Perform a base backup of the appropriate node(s) or volume(s) at the remote site by using the Express Image feature of Backup Express. 2. Transport the physical media to the location of the destination XRserver. 3. Restore the base backup from the physical media to a spare machine that supports Backup Express. 4. Perform an XRS base backup of the restored data to the XRServer. 5. Carry out manual steps to enable continuous block-level incrementals. Express Image Base Backup USING EXPRESS IMAGE TO SEED AN INITIAL XRS BASE BACKUP REMOTE OFFICE Source Node REMOTE OFFICE Source Node 6. With Backup Express, schedule regular XRS incremental backups from the remote site source node over the slow communication link. Ship Physical Media to Headquarters Slow Communication Link Slow Communication Link XRS Block Level Incrementals XRServer XRServer HEADQUARTERS Initial XRS Base Backup HEADQUARTERS Express Image Restore Spare Machine Figure 2 Transferring an Initial Base Backup to the XRServer Figure 2 illustrates the process of seeding an XRServer. The top box represents Steps 1 through 5 and the bottom box represents Step 6. The tape icon represents the portable backup media, which can be tape, disk, external SCSI drive, notebook computer or other portable media type. Since implementation details depend on the environment, it is necessary to utilize Syncsort Professional Services or qualified personnel from authorized Backup Express channel partners. Contact your Syncsort account representative to arrange specialized support services. Highly experienced engineers will then work closely with you to ensure the procedure meets your specific system requirements and data protection objectives. Page 5

7 To assure that the data at the central data center and ultimately the disaster recovery site is exactly the same as the data at the remote sites, you apply simple asynchronous replication, supplied by your disk manufacturer or third party, to an alternate XRServer at the distant site. Because of the use of BLI, only minute amounts of data are transferred, making this approach highly effective and non-intrusive, even across a slow WAN. Replication would not be used in the case in which the remote site backs up directly to an XRServer at headquarters. ExpressDR Available from Syncsort with Backup Express, ExpressDR is a high-performance, low-frustration bare metal recovery product for Windows and UNIX environments. ExpressDR recoveries include system drive, operating system, applications, files, and data. When compared to conventional disaster recovery techniques, ExpressDR dramatically simplifies both the backup and recovery processes. It eliminates the needs for tapes, distinct disaster recovery backups, and system reboots at backup, and for manual reinstallation at recovery. ExpressDR becomes a critical element of the remote site solution if server failure at the remote site occurs. The server is easily reconstituted to an adequately sized bare machine at the central data center or disaster recovery site, from where it is then physically shipped to the remote site ready for business as usual. If catastrophic remote site loss occurs, the entirety of the remote site data resources can be brought to life at headquarters through ExpressDR recoveries of each remote site server. Instant Availability Headquarters can attain immediate full access to the remote site's data for critical production purposes. With the Instant Availability feature of Backup Express, a permissioned administrator can simply map to the latest virtual point-in-time full volume image on an iscsi-connected XRServer volume at the central data center. This results in instant access to remote site data without even a local data transfer. Double Protection Known as Double Protection, Syncsort s disk-to-disk-to-tape solution provides seamless additional backup from the disk-based XRServer to tape, which may be needed for regulatory purposes and also provides another layer of data protection. Putting It All Together In today's global business climate, it is likely that your company relies heavily on timely and accurate data and has active remote sites, both large and small, connected by a WAN. Employees at your smaller remote sites are not information technology experts. Mission critical application and data recoveries need to be accomplished quickly. Disaster recovery planning for all sites must be in hand. Traditional solutions suffer serious drawbacks. Tape-based backups and restores are administratively cumbersome, demand ongoing investments in media, and typically involve offsite data storage costs. Real-time mirroring of source servers at remote sites is cost-prohibitive for all but the largest companies, and may fail to address the need to revert back to past points in time. Yet installing the Syncsort disk-based solution enables all backups and restores to be administered, tapefree, from headquarters or the remote sites in a cost-effective manner. Page 6

8 Advanced image technologies used by Backup Express allow your routine backups to be run many times a day. Block-Level Incrementals assure that the WAN bandwidth is not monopolized by those routine backups. XRS eliminates cumbersome tape administration. Simple replication keeps disk devices at headquarters synchronized with those at remote sites. AdvancedClient technology assures that recoveries from past backups are immediately available, that recovery time is minimal, and that storage space on the destination disk devices are optimally deployed. Instant Availability enables headquarters to rapidly tap into remote site data for business continuity purposes with minimal downtime. Freed from technological and cost restrictions, companies can fully and effectively protect their remote sites local data while also minimizing business interruption in the event of any site disaster. Remote Site Business Continuity in a Global Climate Syncsort s disk-based Express Recovery Server (XRS) solution presents a new opportunity to companies that want to protect data at remote sites and ensure business continuity of those locations. With this solution, optimal RPO and RTO for remote sites are achieved with minimal administrative overhead and without maintaining racks of tapes or incurring the high cost of mirroring strategies. By satisfying these business needs at a fraction of the cost of mirroring technologies, the XRS solution delivers what remote sites need an assurance that the data they create today will be there tomorrow, no matter what. Page 7

9 Unique Benefits of Syncsort Remote Site Data Protection Data administration is centralized All data resources ultimately accumulate at the central data center Backups at remote sites run many times each day, yet LAN and WAN resources remain available and production is undisturbed Folder and file restores are administered by remote sites Disaster recovery is administered at headquarters Past backups are available for restore or recovery Solution is economical and tape free Additional protection to tape or VTL is seamless. Page 8

10 50 Tice Boulevard Woodcliff Lake, NJ Syncsort Incorporated, 2007 All rights reserved. Backup Express is a trademark of Syncsort Incorporated. All other company and product names used herein may be the trademarks of their respective companies.

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