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Can someone explain the advantages (and disadvantages if there are some) of using OST (Symantec's Openstorage) for backups vs normal "Backup to Disk" folders in Symantec BackupExec?

We have the ability to do so with our backup appliances and BackupExec but can't really figure out what all the advantages are and what it will give us that a normal "backup to disk" doesn't.


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up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's about manageability, disaster recovery, and the strategy of backing up remote branch offices. For instance, I may have a DC in Building 0 in Seattle, but I'll have 5 branches in 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. What's the best and cheapest way to back up this data? Then, how do I track these backups from a central management perspective? Also, bandwidth costs can be insane.

So OST gives you a centrally managed approach. It allows you to back up across many types of storage technologies, it allows you to reduce the cost of disk capacity and WAN bandwidth (with "WAN optimized image replication to DR sites") and overall reduces the load on your servers. It will initiate all the data movement (images are created, duplicated, deleted, how to control images that are stored and copied).

Using your typical "backup to disk" doesn't address the complications of remote branches, per se. Or I should say, doesn't address the BAD associated with backing up from remote branches. It's expensive in a variety of ways, and OpenStorage was meant to address that.

I'm also going to include a ESG Review on the product that will give you a bit of more in depth view /lab setting: link.

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So, in our scenario, we have 2 storage appliances that can replicate between each other, and can replicate both normal "CIFS" shares and "OST" shares. It sounds like you are saying the main benefit, in our scenario, to using OST is that both BackupExec servers on both sides will see what has been backed up for both sites? With using just CIFS shares and replicating those, I guess I would have to catalog the files again? – TheCleaner Jan 19 '12 at 15:55
Hm. It does offer that kind of manageability. So, your current system treats all backups almost like tape (even if you have a VTL). OST it will treat them like disks. So essentially, it gives you control over those disks (ion regards to tiers of disk, replication, etc). So, by using OST you can have hard disks using the Symantec backup environment and they aren't seen as tape. OST also provides deduplication & replication solutions (this is where "seeing what each other has backed up"). – Ethabelle Jan 19 '12 at 19:54
As for the latter, I'm unsure off the top of my head. We were doing this comparison a for a company, the company didn't go with OST, they went with Exec & a VTL and just left out OST, even though OST works great with VTLs. For more info on how OST works, read this:… – Ethabelle Jan 19 '12 at 19:54

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