1 LinkPro Technologies File Replication plus NAS enables Server-Less Remote Site Backup "Storage acquisition and management is undergoing great changes, stimulated by new applications, a growing need for a high level of data accessibility, and the constraint and management complexity of heterogeneous platforms and operating systems. Network-Attached Storage Servers (NASS) represent a logical evolution in the storage paradigm. They combine the unique advantages of direct network attachment and storage consolidation. Direct network attachment allows NASS transparent connection to any client on the network. It enables workgroup-centered, shared data to be placed next to its users, and enterprise-wide data to be accessible directly through a high speed network backbone." Farid Neema, President, PERIPHERAL CONCEPTS, INC. Peripheral Concepts, located in Santa Barbara, California, specializes in market research and consulting in the industries related to Computer Mass Storage and Storage Management Introduction In today s business environment a growing amount of desktop and laptop business files are being created and then stored on network servers. As a result, these network servers continue to run out of storage space. Un-interrupted 24 X 7 access to this data is required for continuous business operation. This means that if a server s data, or an entire site s data becomes un-available, the information system must support continued access to that data from an alternate source. Quick recovery of the updated data is also needed when the original data storage comes back on-line. Those responsible for the design of information systems for their organizations must strive for zero downtime and 100% data availability. This white paper presents a high data availability information system design that incorporates Server-less backup that utilizes Network Attached Storage in combination with Data Replication software. In this paper NAS refers to network attached disk drive storage. Traditional Methods of Adding Storage Traditionally, increasing storage has meant adding disk drives to existing servers or installing new servers on the network. This consumes the system administrator s time and disrupts user s ability to backup to or access their data on the server. In environments with demands for high data availability, there are few or no convenient time windows for users to not have access to their data. In distributed operations this means that a server storage upgrade may have to be performed at a remote site, one that may not have the support of an on site system administrator. Network-Attached Storage: Some basics Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a self-contained, highly accessible, intelligent disk storage system that is independent from the server's operating system. It uses file system access protocol and standard network protocols to communicate directly with clients on the network. This makes it a fully integrated and dedicated storage solution that connects to the network, providing a network file storage repository as a shared resource. To applications running on the network, the NAS looks like an ordinary server. To any client, it simply looks like a large hard disk.
2 A Case for Adding Network-Attached Storage Disk-based NAS products are available from a number of storage system vendors today as alternatives to general-purpose servers. They are described as single-purpose appliances, dedicated to serving files, which provide a flexible and inexpensive alternative for adding storage to the network. Adding a NAS to a network should be as easy plug it in and turn it on. NAS connects directly to the network. It can be easily integrated into an existing network without disrupting other servers and network users can have access to all their files and network resources during the installation process. This is especially important when adding storage to remote office locations. File Replication: Some basics File Replication, in the context of computer networks, is an automated method for distribution of synchronized data usually to many geographically dispersed networked PCs and servers. LinkPro s File Replication software manages a process whereby a source directory is replicated onto one or more destination directory(s) by adding, deleting, and updating files on the destination until they match those on the source. Only the files with differences are acted upon. This automated process reduces the chance of human error and ensures that the File replication takes place on schedule. Server-less Data Backup & Recovery Two Possible Scenarios To illustrate how NAS file servers and LinkPro s File Replication software can be used to provide Serverless Backup & Recovery, here are two possible scenarios. CASE 1 Company A has five regional sales offices. The sales and support staff in these remote offices do most of their work on their desktop and laptop PCs but also access distributed corporate data over the local office LAN. There is one server per office that runs business applications, provides shared network resources and is used to backup user s data. All of these regional sales office servers are running out of storage space. The IT staff decides to add NAS file servers as an alternative to increasing the disk storage on the network servers. They conclude that NAS and the PC File Replication software can be installed by the local sales support staff with remote support from the centrally located IT staff. The new regional sales office system is shown below. In this new sales office system, the File Replication software is installed on each PC. It can then be setup by the central IT staff to automatically replicate each user s PC data directory(s) to an assigned directory on the NAS file server. This file replication process performs a disk-to-disk backup that is incremental with only the changed files being copied. The result is an exact data directory replica stored on the NAS
3 in a unique assigned user directory. IT then assigns security access rights to each user s NAS directory. Secure access to the exact data directory replica on the NAS is now continuously available through another PC on the LAN should a user s PC data become un-available. Since this File replication is an automatic process, user backups are no longer left to chance. They are incremental and take place in the background without need for user intervention. The IT staff is now ensured that each user s PC data is securely backed up every day (or hour or 5 minutes) and immediately recoverable. As shown in the figure above, the NAS can also provide an immediately accessible file backup for the sales office server. In CASE 2 below we will discuss how the office NAS file server itself is backed-up. CASE 2 In Company A s five regional sales offices traditionally the server data has been backed-up to tape once per week by one of the sales support staff. This backup process has been spotty at best with the potential for critical data loss if access to the data on the server s disk is lost. Now that the decision to add Network Attached Storage to the office LANs has been made, the IT staff has adopted a new backup strategy. The new central backup and recovery system for the regional NAS File Servers is shown below. In this central backup and recovery system, a second type of File Replication software is installed on the Central Backup Server. It can then be setup by the central IT staff to automatically replicate each remote NAS File Server s data directory(s) to an assigned directory on the Central Backup Server. This file replication process performs a many-to-one disk-to-disk backup that is incremental with only the changed files being copied over the WAN. This results in a consolidated backup of synchronized and up-to-date data for each user in the remote sales offices as well as consolidated updates to other business processes such as sales reports, forecasts, orders, etc. With this new system now in place the IT staff can now distribute and update common business information to the remote sales offices using the one-to-many capability of the central server s File Replication software. This software can also support recovery of data at a remote office should a NAS failure occur. Thus the combination of NAS File Servers and File Replication software can ensure continuous data availability while at the same time incrementally increasing the storage space available to the organization. File Replication Software Requirements The File Replication software described above must be able to provide automatic directory and file replication between PCs, NAS File Servers and the Central Backup Server over LANs and WANs. It
4 should perform this automatic replication process from PCs to NAS File Servers in a way that does not interrupt users work. It should provide many-to-one replication between NAS File Servers and the Central Backup Server. It should be able to distribute data to the remote NAS file servers from the Central Backup Server using one-to-many file replication for synchronized data distribution or recovery purposes. It is also important that this software be centrally administered. LinkPro s File Replication solution more than satisfies these requirements and is described below. LinkPro s PC File Replication Software Product Overview PowerSync 5.0-WS provides a disk-to-disk automatic backup solution for desktop and laptop PCs connected to the network. PowerSync 5.0 WS can be setup to automatically replicate files between portable, desktop, NAS and servers. It does this over network connections. These automatic operations can run unnoticed, allowing work to continue un-interrupted. Central System Administrators is also supported. Product Description PowerSync 5.0 WS is a Windows client software program that runs on the user s desktop or portable PC. PowerSync can be easily set up to automatically backup and replicate user files to a NAS or server s disk or RAID. Only the changed files are transferred during the backup. This has the advantage of providing an incremental backup while maintaining a complete redundant replica of the user s data on a network drive. This field-proven software provides end users and system administrators with a simple and intuitive way to set-up and schedule automatic backup operations. This version runs on Windows 95, 98, Me, NT or Systems Administrators can setup the automatic backup "scripts" for their users and distribute and install them over the network. PowerSync clients will automatically recognize a new or modified "script". This facility provides system administrators central control to insure that all users data will be backed up on a regular basis. LinkPro s Server File Replication Software Product Overview LinkPro s PowerSync 5.0-S provides flexible and intelligent file replication between Application servers and NAS file servers on LANs and WANs. It can automatically replicate directories and files to local and remote locations for data protection or distribution. Replicate remote files to a central site for centralized backup. Provide immediately accessible data backup for production servers for 24x7 operations. Distribute data to remote servers from a central site. LinkPro s PowerSync 5.0-S runs on Windows NT/2000 offering schedule-based replication, centralized management, and one-to-many and many-to-one File replication of server directories and files across LANs and WANs. Product Description Today many organizations have enterprise data distributed across multiple servers throughout their network. PowerSync 5.0-S provides real-time and/or scheduled one-to-one, one-to-many and many-tomany File replication. PowerSync 5.0-S runs on Windows NT and 2000 and provides maximum data availability for users who are connected anywhere in the network. Updates to shared directories are synchronized across LANs and WANs. Current copies of mission critical data are available to users
5 where and when they need it. Corporate data is highly available and fault tolerance is improved. For example: if one of the servers fails, the others are available. Systems Administrators can setup the automatic backup "scripts" for their users and distribute and install them over the network. PowerSync clients will automatically recognize a new or modified "script". This facility provides system administrators central control to insure that all users data will be backed up on a regular basis. Future Network Data Management Products from LinkPro The development of the PowerSync product line has been deliberate yet, at the same time, it has been responsive to our customer's needs. Since its introduction in the mid-nineties PowerSync has gained wide acceptance as the maximum data availability and protection solution-of-choice by corporations throughout the world. It is our commitment to continually enhance our leading edge technology and incorporate it in products that meet the changing needs of our customers. Look for future products to a suite of real-time distributed data management products having advanced system administration tools for Windows98, XP, NT and 200X. About LinkPro, Inc. LinkPro is a privately held California corporation whose principle offices are located at: 4029 Westerly Place, Suite 201B, Newport Beach, California Voice: Fax: Web Site URL:
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