Backup-to-Disk Building an Effective Long-Term Strategy

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1 Backup-to-Disk Building an Effective Long-Term Strategy Technology Concepts and Business Considerations Abstract This white paper outlines benefits and options available to gain long-term business value from backup-todisk solutions. Strategies are presented regarding the optimal mix of backup and recovery capabilities that gain maximum flexibility. Guidelines are offered to help evaluate approaches for backup/recovery service levels appropriate to the lifecycle of information assets and at the most economical cost. August 2006

2 Copyright 2006 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. EMC believes the information in this publication is accurate as of its publication date. The information is subject to change without notice. THE INFORMATION IN THIS PUBLICATION IS PROVIDED AS IS. EMC CORPORATION MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND WITH RESPECT TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS PUBLICATION, AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Use, copying, and distribution of any EMC software described in this publication requires an applicable software license. For the most up-to-date listing of EMC product names, see EMC Corporation Trademarks on EMC.com. All other trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners. Part number H2308 Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 2

3 Table of Contents Executive summary...4 Introduction...4 Audience... 4 Terminology... 5 Online forces and technology change...5 A range of backup and recovery requirements...5 Existing investments and ease of transition...6 Information Lifecycle Management applied...6 Matching service levels to data value...7 Online and active archiving...8 A changing role for tape...9 EMC expanded backup-to-disk solutions...9 Conclusion...10 References...11 Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 3

4 Executive summary Data backup has always served a critical business need but new business requirements have created new challenges. Business demand for continuous processing combines with ever-growing online business transactions to drive changes in backup strategies. Traditional tape-based technology is giving way to faster, more reliable, and now less costly disk-based backup and restore solutions. With significant business resources focused on eliminating any operational disruption, there is no room for slow or unreliable backup systems. The business costs are too high. Even moderate outages can cost $2 million in lost revenue per incident 1. Excellent performance and reliability, as well as decreasing cost of very large capacity disks, have made disk-based backup solutions mainstream. A process taking hours for tape can take minutes or seconds with disk. That higher performance is especially valued in the speed and integrity of data restoration when using disk-based backup. Benefits of backup-to-disk: More efficient backup operations with no impact on production applications Faster data recovery and resumption of business operations Increased levels of data protection and improved business uptime EMC has built and refined the hardware and software components for strategic backup-to-disk solutions that deliver all of the flexibility needed to accommodate every service level. These solutions include very large capacity and low-cost drives that are proven with leading backup software and deployed in existing SAN or LAN storage infrastructures. Existing tape can continue to provide some value to an overall backup strategy while backup-to-disk technology effectively addresses the twin requirements of shorter backup time and faster recovery. EMC offers all the necessary components for a strategic enterprise-wide backup-to-disk solution that leverages existing investments and accommodates future requirements as they grow. Backup strategy is also integral to Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) and contributes to the savings derived from an effective ILM strategy. Service levels are adjusted to changing information value over time. Backup processes are targeted to that information value. Processes are more cost-effective, accurate, and reliable. Recoveries are more successful which, after all, is the whole point behind the backups in the first place. Introduction This paper outlines some of the business factors and technology developments that have come together to make backup-to-disk a mainstream solution. These change elements are discussed in addition to options and requirements that stand to integrate and leverage existing resources and practices. There is also a brief discussion of Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) and how it relates to fully developed backup strategies. Finally, there is a brief and high-level outline of some capabilities that EMC makes available to organizations looking to implement backup-to-disk strategies. Audience The intended audience is IT planners, storage architects, storage and backup administrators who are involved in IT business and backup strategies or who seek a context for their implementation and configuration of backup-to-disk solutions. Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 4

5 Terminology - Advanced Technology-Attachment drives: drive technology has been in use for decades (so the advanced no longer applies) but only when enhancements were made did it become practical for use in large disk arrays. Used originally in PCs, the interface was quite slow and only permitted use of a small number of drives and a single operation at a time. Improvements have removed these limitations, and made it practical to repurpose this low-cost interface in mid-tier disk arrays. LC - Low Cost Fibre Channel drives: The LC means low cost but it could also mean large capacity. These 500 GB drives are slower (7,200 rpm) than typical Fibre Channel drives but their very large capacity enables very large scale consolidation and tiering of applications inside a single physical storage array. These large LC disk capacities combined with massively scalable systems like the EMC Symmetrix DMX-3 make it practical to extend the array for multiple uses such as backup and test environments while also supporting tier-one applications that require the highest levels of performance and availability offered by traditional drives. CDP - Continuous Data Protection: CDP is an emerging approach to disk-based, data protection technology that provides immediate access to data at any point in time. It enables extremely fast data recovery and is most valuable for large amounts of stored data, where data changes often or where any lost data presents a significant business risk. Online forces and technology change Data backup is arguably one of the most critical yet least glamorous functions delivered by IT. New business requirements, in particular, the global, always-on nature of online business, have altered backup and recovery challenges. This has caused an already vital function to play a much larger role in corporate success. Tape-based technology and backup processes that have changed little in decades are giving way to faster, more reliable, and lower cost disk-based backup and restore strategies. These new approaches are one of the most important elements of any organization s overall data protection plan. Industry surveys reflect the significant business resources now focused on avoiding or minimizing the effects of any disruption to operations. Revenue protection for online business processes is cited as the overriding concern that drives this. Viruses, spyware, or worms for example, cost businesses almost $2 million in lost revenue per incident 2. That is why backup and recovery, as part of an overall data protection strategy, are typically listed at or near the top of priorities. 3 Business demand for nearly continuous processing combines with ever-growing online business transactions and data volumes to make backup windows disappear and to severely strain tape-based backup processes. Even though performance and reliability advantages of disk-based backup solutions have been apparent for some time, the cost had been prohibitive for many companies. Now, the changing economics of backup-to-disk solutions that employ large capacity and Fibre Channel drives have put disk-based backup near the cost of tape. A range of backup and recovery requirements Three key objectives for backup: More efficient backup operations with no impact on production applications Faster data recovery and resumption of business operations Increased levels of data protection and improved business uptime Backup-to-disk initially garnered attention from progressive technology users and large firms with substantial financial resources. They typically addressed mission-critical information involving a single aggressive service level requirement backing up a large customer transaction database, for example. In these cases, the task was to meet one critical service level with relatively straightforward operational benefits. Disks backed up the database much more quickly than previous tape-based approaches. This reduced impact on production systems and enabled much faster recovery operations. Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 5

6 Although backup performance is certainly an important challenge, the speed and integrity of the restore process is even more significant. Estimates place more than 80 percent of recovery requests within 48 hours of the backup capture 4. The advantage of disk is that data restores can be executed more efficiently and accurately than tape restores. Restore performance gains can reach five times the performance of tape. And because of the error correcting and redundancy features of disk, backup data on disk is more reliable than data on tape. Backup and real-time replication have very different functional and performance attributes. However, the growing backup-to-disk trend and needs for Continuous Data Protection (CDP) are likely to cause a blending of technologies 5 where backup and data replication products and processes increasingly combine. As more companies utilize backup-to-disk technology, a broader range of backup and recovery capabilities have been developed. Now, disk-based backup is used for a full spectrum of service levels and across enterprise-wide implementations, re-tasking tape for longer term, offsite data retention. Existing investments and ease of transition Significant previous investments in tape-based backup solutions compound the challenges that companies face. Given the business importance of the backup and restore function, few want to risk significant change in backup procedures. While they may not be ideal, they are mostly stable. But they are not always dependable because of problems such as drive or tape failures. Disk-based systems solve this in a number of ways, using RAID for example to protect against disk failure. Even early adopters ranked integration of backup-to-disk with existing tape processes at the highest importance. 6 This is also consistent with industry data predicting that tape will not go away in the near future, although it will move further away from the initial backup and restore process. Often, tape will be the most appropriate means to move data offsite for long-term storage. Sometimes tape is the best option to store data offline for security or regulatory reasons, especially if the tape infrastructure already exists. Information Lifecycle Management applied Any size company can take advantage of backup-to-disk technology. Most will seek to extend its benefits to protect all-important enterprise data and do it in a way that leverages existing investments, tape or disk. Above all, companies seek the flexibility and an evolutionary, extensible approach that allows new capability to be added as needed. Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 6

7 Symmetrix DMX-3 Multiple Tiers Improve Efficiencies Tier 1 Fibre Channel Tier 2/3 LC Production Archive Backup Supporting Multiple Storage Tiers Within a Single Platform Figure 1. How multiple tiers improve efficiency Answering this challenge is central to the idea behind Information Lifecycle Management (ILM). ILM is based on the concept that data has a tangible business value that tends to change over time. ILM-based approaches offer efficient, flexible solutions that enable easy information movement to the most costeffective platform as information value and service level demands change. Automated systems use business rules to continuously track data s value, and to apply the appropriate service levels at a cost that matches its value. Assessments can be made of and file systems to determine what data is not in use. Removing this data from the backup path reduces time and storage costs. It is not unusual to see this cut backup volume by more than half. A backup strategy consistent with ILM utilizes a full range of backup capabilities. IT industry analyst firm META Group describes 7 a new data protection best practice specifying a continuum of backup capabilities with the most aggressive backup and recovery service levels met using a combination of synchronous or asynchronous replicas and snapshots. These are then used as a backup source to handle multiple disk- or tape-based backup processes without significantly degrading production performance. More moderate service levels are met using disk-based backup or tape-emulating disk library backup devices. Less demanding service levels and archival requirements are met with existing tape procedures. Matching service levels to data value Service levels for business continuity and backup are interrelated: Local business continuance volumes (BCVs) that are exact replicas of their production volumes o Point-in-time copies that allow immediate and granular data restoration Local backup to disk o Standard backup applications used with disk to improve data backup and restore speed Backup from disk to tape for offsite protection o Portable media for limited access long-term data retention Backup to CAS device o Content addressable storage as an active archive reduces volume of data to be regularly backed up Some significant factors that define required backup service levels include information criticality, file characteristics such as size and number of files, and applicable regulatory requirements. For example, Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 7

8 mission-critical data obviously requires the most robust backup environment no backup window and virtually instantaneous recovery. File characteristics for example, database representing a large single file, representing many smaller files may define whether business continuance volumes (BCVs) or disk-based backup is more suitable. BCV replicas are ideal when recovering sets of data based on specific applications or databases that have experienced a logical corruption. The BCVs only need to be restored over the original production information or simply mounted by the application server before processing resumes. Backup BCVs, which can contain many smaller files from a file or server, must be restored as a group rather than individually from replicas. Individual file restoration is accomplished through the backup application. Regulatory requirements may also define archive demands, specifying how long records are to be kept, whether they are to be stored offsite, in what format they must be stored, and if they should be unalterable once stored. As a result, comprehensive backup infrastructure alternatives could incorporate a combination of backup-to-disk and tape or use Content Addressable Storage (CAS) as the archive for records that must be tamper-proof and stored in their original format. Very sophisticated policy-based software is available to define business requirements that will automatically move information to the archive. This can be an active archive using CAS or an online archive using high-end storage arrays. Given the growing volume of backup data, every backup solution must be very cost-effective. Flexible options are available using disk to increase low-cost backup capacity in SAN, NAS, or archival storage by adding new arrays or expanding existing Fibre Channel arrays. Acquisition costs of backup-to-disk are now approaching tape. However, the operating cost advantages and operational benefits of disk over tape can yield substantially better ROI characteristics. For example, mainframe operations in particular are challenged to manage ever larger media mountains and to encrypt petabytes of data on tape for security purposes. However, the encryption process on tape is slower than disk and introduces new time and performance requirements that can add significant management costs and challenges. When tapes stored offsite grow to thousands, they magnify all the issues of handling costs, transportation, physical security, periodic inventory, and recycling. Taken together, it is easy to see how a box of tapes can get lost. Online and active archiving The large and accelerating growth of stored data in production environments has driven creative alternatives for how backup is conceived. Gartner estimates that 70 percent of unstructured data is stale after 90 days and resources are being wasted in backing up this old data while recovery times are 8 needlessly extended D D. This approach means excessive drains on time and resources. Tape has long been used for offline archives but that does not fully address the need. Increasingly, customers look to disk-based archiving as a way to maintain fast data access. This reduces or eliminates redundancy in the data being regularly backed up. It gives storage capacity back to active production data and improves performance while reducing the rate of storage expansion. A big benefit comes in better performance of both backup and recovery. Customers achieve active archiving using intelligent applications integrated with EMC Centera, Content Addressable Storage (CAS). Online archiving is achieved in high-end storage arrays such as Symmetrix DMX configured for tiered storage or ILM in a box. Some automation of data movement is possible using capabilities that are integrated with the databases, file systems, and applications already in use. Specialized applications are also available to automate or database archiving. Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 8

9 D Figure 2. Backup, recovery, and archive A changing role for tape For most enterprise-class solutions, seamless integration with existing investments is vital. A study conducted by the Taneja Group showed that the No. 1 feature prospective backup-to-disk buyers wanted 9 was integration with existing data protection investmentsd D. The ability to deliver a complete spectrum of backup service levels requires support for a wide variety of backup source targets from many different enterprise applications running on different hosts and storage platforms. Tape continues to play a role here. And businesses that want disk-based backup benefits but are unwilling to significantly alter established tape-backup processes will look for disk solutions with the ability to emulate tape systems. Backup software from leading vendors such as EMC, Symantec, IBM, and others now support disk backup solutions because organizations overwhelmingly look to their installed software vendors to provide 10 functionality needed to bring new backup functions to life.d Finally, a critical element of the backup infrastructure that maximizes functionality advantages is automatic administration of backup policies. These are policies that define service levels to be delivered, including the control of all disk-to-disk and disk-to-tape procedures for homogeneous and heterogeneous environments. Software-enabled policy engines must continuously keep track of backup service levels as data ages. Based on specified policies, data is backed up to disk or tape from replicas, snapshots, or directly from disk. It is retained for a specified time and then cloned or staged to tape and moved offsite for a specified retention period. EMC expanded backup-to-disk solutions EMC has built and refined the hardware and software components for strategic backup-to-disk solutions that deliver all of the flexibility needed to accommodate a full spectrum of service levels. These solutions are proven, tested, and blueprinted with leading backup software applications and can be deployed in existing SAN or LAN storage infrastructures. For example, EMC offers the Symmetrix with Low Cost Fibre Channel (LC) and the CLARiiON CX series with either or LC drives. Both LC and disk technologies offer economics comparable to tape, with the performance and reliability benefits of disk. They can be used for SAN backups and Celerra NS with is available for LAN backups. And, both LC and drives can coexist within the same storage array as production Fibre Channel Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 9

10 drives in the same physical storage system, enabling greater operational efficiencies. This also enables use of advanced storage management and replication features and functions across different classes of storage. Tiered Backup and Recovery Choices Backup server ERP Exchange App Data Warehouse Basic Tape backup and recovery Backup to disk Disk-backup option Advanced backup Snapshot management SA Tape Low SERVICE-LEVEL REQUIREMENTS High LC- LC- LC- Symmetrix with LC- CLARiiON with LC- or CLARiiON Disk Library Figure 3. Tiered backup and recovery choices EMC provides operationally simple disk libraries that easily integrate with existing backup environments through tape emulation. These help organizations implement backup-to-disk without the need to change software, applications, or processes. EMC s CLARiiON Disk Library combines large capacity disks with front-end tape emulation and data compression. Fibre Channel ports easily connect the DL to SAN-based backup sources and tape libraries, facilitating disk to tape data movement. EMC s Centera provides Content Addressable Storage (CAS) that facilitates archiving and compliance with regulatory standards requiring tamper-proof archived records such as . Leading backup software applications such as EMC NetWorker, Symantec NetBackup, IBM Tivoli, and others are supported on EMC s Disk Library, CLARiiON CX series, Symmetrix DMX, and Celerra NS offerings. Data replicas can provide an efficient source for backup processes while minimizing the impact on production system performance. Sophisticated EMC storage management software can be coupled with data mobility and replication/snapshot offerings to automate the replication of production data between storage arrays from different vendors. Customers can administer backup policies and automate the scheduling of backup processes in heterogeneous environments across varying applications, operating systems, and storage platforms using sophisticated backup applications such as EMC NetWorker with Disk Backup Option (DBO). These applications greatly reduce the administrative management overhead associated with scheduling and maintaining disparate backup processes. Conclusion Backup-to-disk technology effectively addresses the twin requirements of shorter backup time and faster recovery. Mature backup-to-disk solutions provide improved performance, flexibility, and reliability. But the most complete backup and restore strategy is still only part of a broader data protection strategy and infrastructure. The most effective deliver obvious benefits reduced operating costs and improved productivity, performance, and data protection. A strategic disk-based backup program will emphasize data Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 10

11 recovery that efficiently accommodates business requirements current and future. EMC offers one source for all the necessary elements hardware, software services, and experience. Benefits of backup-to-disk: More efficient backup operations with minimal impact on production applications Faster data recovery and resumption of business operations Increased levels of data protection and improved business uptime A backup strategy is also integral to Information Lifecycle Management and contributes to the savings derived from an effective ILM strategy. Service levels can be adjusted to changing information value over time. Backup processes are targeted to information value. They offer better performance and are more costeffective, accurate, and reliable. Recoveries are more successful which, after all, is the whole point behind the backups in the first place. References Symmetrix DMX Best Practices Planning Backup-to-Disk Planning Options Applied Technology EMC Symmetrix Backup Storage Solutions: Backup-to-Disk with EMC NetWorker EMC Symmetrix Backup Storage Solutions: Backup-to-Disk with VERITAS NetBackup EMC CLARiiON Backup Storage Solutions: Backup-to-Disk with CA s BrightStor ARCserve Backup EMC CLARiiON Backup Storage Solutions: Backup-to-Disk with CommVault Galaxy EMC CLARiiON Backup Storage Solutions: Backup-to-Disk with EMC NetWorker EMC CLARiiON Backup Storage Solutions: Backup-to-Disk with EMC Retrospect EMC CLARiiON Backup Storage Solutions: Backup-to-Disk with VERITAS BackupExec EMC CLARiiON Backup Storage Solutions: Backup-to-Disk with VERITAS NetBackup EMC CLARiiON Backup Storage Solutions: Backup-to-Disk with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager 1 Internet Business Disruptions Benchmark Report, Aberdeen Group press release, July 6, Internet Business Disruptions Benchmark Report, Aberdeen Group press release, July 6, Factors Driving 2004 Spending, Storage Management Challenges, InfoWorld surveys, May 28, META Practice: Proactive Data Protection: The Best Defense Is a Good Offense, META Group, April 5 Trends, Gartner Predicts 2006, Storage Technology 6 Next Generation Backup and Recovery, Taneja Group, November 2003, 7 META Practice: Proactive Data Protection: The Best Defense Is a Good Offense, META Group, April 8 Trends, Gartner Predicts 2006, Storage Technology 9 Next Generation Backup and Recovery, Taneja Group, November Legato NetWorker 7.0 and 7.1: Right Product, Right Time, Taneja Group Product Profile, January 2004 Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 11

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