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I manage an ESX server, with about 20 VMs, and a Hyper-V server, with 2 VMs, at work. I am looking for storage to store backups from these servers (a mixture of ESX and Hyper-V).

What factors will be crucial in getting the right (spec) hardware? Any examples of good storage devices (NAS) for this type of setup?

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The other aspect we need to know before properly answering this question is what sort of cost you're going for. Are you looking to build your own box? Buy something from Sun? Are the machines going to sit next to each other in a rack? What kind of interconnect are you hoping to use? – Paul McMillan Oct 14 '10 at 21:47

More goes into this decision than you've presented here, unfortunately.

First of all, doing some backup tests from your clients should at least tell you how fast they can pitch data. You want something that can keep up as best as possible. This may vary depending on what backup technologies you're using, since that can impact the decision.

Secondly, whether or not you can take advantage of deduplication will also impact this decision, and that tends to be backup-technology dependent. Something that can to dedup will have fundamentally different demands on storage than something that just copies everything every time it runs.

Third, retention periods greatly impact how much storage you need to retain. If you really do need to keep 7 years of backups for this, that's a very different game than just keeping 7 days worth for disaster-recovery purposes only.

This kind of storage doesn't have to be the fastest stuff on the market. 7.2K RPM drives are pretty much made for these kinds of demands, they're cheap and big. Just keep in mind you do want a few disks in your setup regardless of space requirements just so you can commit data fast enough. There are many NAS devices out there that support more than two disks inside them.

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In addition to sysadmin1138's good points, don't forget to think about what kind of restore procedure your organization needs.

  • How often do you carry out restores?
  • How much time is involved with not only getting the required data (files or a whole system/image) out of the backup system but also getting it to a usable state?
  • How well does it scale? As in, "recoveries are fine...they take a little time...I hope I never have to recover more than 1 system or set of data at a time, though"

Some of these questions span outside of just what NAS hardware you might want and also involve how you do backups and maybe even your DR needs but they are worth keeping in mind. It's no fun putting in hardware as a solution and finding out that it only meets some of your practical needs.

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