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I'm currently attempting to re-architect a backup solution where I'm working.

We've got 2 NAS devices, one in the office, one in the datacentre. The servers in the DC back up to the DC NAS, which is then replicated to the Office NAS.

The office NAS exports shares as CIFS and NFS, this bit is fine. At some point, I'll have to expand our storage capacity, currently we've got about 1.4TB of storage space, which is about 96% full.

Previously, the tape backup was a script that ran tar a few times and squirted data onto a tape. It worked, but was by no means a perfect solution. Restores are a bit of a pest, adding new data to the backup requires editing the script as root.
It's just all a bit non-ideal.

I've been evaluating a number of "enterprise" ready backup solutions, such as Yosemite Backup from Barracuda, Acronis Backup/Restore, and something from Arkeia.

In the process of evaluating these, I've found 2 big problems.

  1. Not all of them allow backup of mounted devices (such as a NFS mounted NAS)

  2. Many of these applications don't like our tape device.

For the most part, (1) is essential. Our NAS has a feeble processor and can't run applications like backup agents.

I suspect that the biggest problem is the tape device, which is a HP C7438A DAT72 connected via USB.

Questions:

  1. Has anyone else got an USB DAT72 device working with similar software?
  2. Is there a better way to back up data from an "appliance" NAS device on which you can't run an agent?
  3. Would I be totally out of my mind to specify a cheap HP or Dell server with a couple of 1TB hard disks, and a SAS card to then talk to an HP Ultrium (or similar) device? The biggest drawback to this would be cost (400ish for the server, 200 for the SAS connectivity and 1700 for a LTO4 device)

Notes:

I'd love to be able to say that I'd get rid of tapes entirely, and use some form of hard disk backup. In a previous job, we had LaCie USB drives, which were decidedly unreliable.

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You're backing up 1.4TB to a DAT72? Even if you got full 2:1 compression, that's about 20 tapes for a full backup! –  Ward Mar 26 '10 at 14:11
    
Yes, this is a known issue. Only some of the data is being backed up to tape, currently. ;) –  Tom O'Connor Mar 26 '10 at 14:58
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3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Everyone's situation is different for these scenarios... but maybe the following may be something to consider....

I have found our Exabyte VXA-2 tape drive to be very reliable .. ( Mine is tagged Exabyte, but I believe Tandberg bought them out )

I have it attached via firewire to an OS X server running Retrospect ( Now owned by EMC )

You may have to refer to the Doumentation for Retrospect, but I am fairly certain it'll support NFS ....

It backs up Windows and OS X servers.. It's very simple to setup, client servers simply need the Restrospect client installed..

I've had this solution running for about 6 years without much change.... it may be outdated now, but we haven't had cause to change the process as it has been very stable...

Straightforward to customize scripts to fine tune backups ... System is easily extended as well

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(Z/A)manda would be a solution because it uses OS utilities to perform backup to tape so as long as the tape is available on the system Amanda will use it and it can backup nfs mounts.
Some special case backup here:
http://wiki.zmanda.com/index.php/How_To:Backup_Partitions_Mounted_via_NFS

Notice the last line :

The "amandaserver" above does not need to be the tapehost itself, but is the Amanda client that will do the backup of those nfs shares.


Maybe you could consider backup to the cloud :) excluding tapes altogether

If you want to implement the whole infrastructure here is a good configuration tutorial :
http://idolinux.blogspot.com/2008/09/amanda-tape-library-backup.html

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Our client SLAs prohibit backup to the "cloud". Sadly. –  Tom O'Connor Mar 26 '10 at 13:19
    
Also, that uses a tape library. I don't have a tape library. Just a crappy little USB tape drive that everything hates. –  Tom O'Connor Mar 26 '10 at 13:20
    
the crappy USB is enough if the OS sees it, you don't need a library –  Jimmy Mar 26 '10 at 13:27
    
You just need to attach the tape drive to the server which mounts the nas nfs and backup it up to tape. (Versioning, schedules, restore, incremental/differential backup should be managed by amanda) –  Jimmy Mar 26 '10 at 13:42
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I found that in order to backup nfs using the latest Yosemite Backup from Barracuda, I had to first nfs mount to file system and then do a mount --bind /nfsdir /binddir and then backup the directory binddir

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