looking for opinions on hotswap SATA drives as a viable backup solution

looking for opinions on hotswap SATA drives as a viable backup solution

Post by chillzat » Fri, 21 Nov 2003 23:55:10


I'm in the process of putting together a new backup solution for one
of our file servers and I wanted to throw my idea out there and see
what sort of flaws there are in the plan, that I can't see myself.

We've got a server that has outgrown its current tape backup (40/80
dlt). The server will eventually pass 100gb of data. If I want to stay
with tapes, I have to move up to a 100/200 LTO option which puts the
drive cost alone at about $3000+, plus tapes. While this is definitely
a viable option, it's still somewhat limited. The data we have on this
server isn't going to compress much more than it already is, so
basically when we hit 100gb, we have to shell out for another new tape
system.

My plan was to setup hotswap SATA drives and use backup to disk
folders in backupexec. More specifically I would probably go with a
good SATA raid controller (raidcore or 3ware), a single SATA removable
enclosure (+ trays for each drive) and 10 160gb SATA drives. This
would give me a ten day rotation of backups with plenty of future
space as our needs grow. It also allows for easier upgades in the
future, once we surpass the 160gb barrier the current drives would
have. All this for under $2000.


I am well aware of the potential hazards of using HD's as a backup
media as far as shock is concerned. If someone accidently drops one of
the drives, we could very well have lost that days backup. Beyond
this, are there any other potential problems anyone can point out in
this plan?

Also, if anyone has a better solution, please feel free to share it.
From where I sit, tape backup is a dead horse. Average storage needs
in the industry has far outpaced what tape backup options can deliver
on a cost/size basis. I'm trying to be as progressive as possible
without making more problems for myself down the road. Thanks!
 
 
 

looking for opinions on hotswap SATA drives as a viable backup solution

Post by PPH » Sat, 22 Nov 2003 05:33:27

This sounds like it would work, but I would still look at a tape drive
solution. We use an exabyte M2 mammouth and I love the drive. I backup data
in excess of 650 MB per minute. I see one on ebay for $750 (buy it now) but
the going price is $400. Each tape will run about $86. This is a much better
alternative. Plus, with a tape drive you can have an offsite backup
(something you must do in order to have total protection).

Just my two cents worth.

 
 
 

looking for opinions on hotswap SATA drives as a viable backup solution

Post by idunnojack » Sat, 22 Nov 2003 16:07:52


of

I would feel more secure having the backup array offsite connected via
WAN. You can make an automated system that easily expands with your
business.

If you plan on taking disks out of the bays daily to take offsite, you
should have spares as the disks and trays may not hold up as long as
you may want.

While I admit having no experience with serial ATA RAID cards, my gut
tells me there may be some potential of running into problems making a
logical disk out of a single drive with some cards. I might be wrong
but it's always wise to double-check the RAID controller's
documentation before buying anything.

You might want to have a second hot-swap bay to speed up or automate
having a second disk you take offsite. In fact, heck, make a RAID 1
volume and take the mirror offsite. Have a second identical
controller and trays offsite also in the event of a true disaster.

Parallel ATA may also be an option. Prices of disks, hot-swap
carriers, and raid cards are less. 7200 RPM drives are likely good
enough for backup.

Personally hot-swapping parallel ATA always makes me nervous (esp when
using the controller on the mobo). One idea that may make you feel
more secure is to connect the production server to an older retired
server (which has the hotswap carriers) via crossover cable. If
something goes terribly wrong like you need to replace the carriers or
make a new logical disk, it won't have any affect on the production
server. By making a separate network connection the backup process
won't tie up regular network traffic.

Whatever you choose make sure you take steps so the backups don't bog
down the system when you need it.
 
 
 

looking for opinions on hotswap SATA drives as a viable backup solution

Post by Lynn McGui » Sun, 23 Nov 2003 01:56:58

> I'm in the process of putting together a new backup solution for one

Another good tape drive is the Exabyte VXA-2 drive (80 / 160 GB) for
about $950 (internal) at www.pcconnection.com . The tapes are about
$90 each. That is what I am using right now.

I am thinking about moving to USB2 external drives. You can get WD
200 GB USB2 drives for about $290 at www.allstarshop.com . They
are bulky though and do weigh about 5 pounds. We have 3 spinning
daily backup hard drives that we use robocopy to make direct images
of all the drives on the network. The advantage of this is that your
backup can be read on any pc that supports USB (and either FAT32 or
NTFS5/5.1).

Thanks,
Lynn