we are managing a pool of 40 PCs with an attached storage of up to 3 TB each. Every weekend we copy this data to 3 other PCs with several RAID5-systems inside to have some kind of backup. We chose 3 PCs to divide the network traffic a bit. But as we plan to switch to a daily incremental backup, we probably don't need that anymore.

Now we would like to improve / renew our whole "backup" system, but we haven't really a good idea about what hardware to choose. I think we would need about 100 TB of capacity for one full backup. But maybe it makes sense to build up an extensible solution, so that we can e.g. double the disk space if needed.

What kind of hardware do you suggest for this intend? Would you recommend a 100 TB NAS + another 100 TB NAS as a "mirror"? Or again some server PC with one (or more?) internal RAID5-storages? Or what else can be a good solution?

closed as off-topic by Lucas Kauffman, TheCleaner, Basil, Falcon Momot, Ward Jun 29 '13 at 3:58

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  • This is where a good VAR comes in, evaluates your need, works with you on scope/budget/etc. and then you get a solution that (hopefully) fills the need. A 100TB+ restore (cause backing up is the easy part) system isn't something you should be guessing at even with help from here, unless you really don't care that it works well. – TheCleaner Jun 28 '13 at 13:38
  • The only right answer would be to get a storage expert consultant involved – Lucas Kauffman Jun 28 '13 at 13:51
  • @TheCleaner Just to be clear: with VAR you mean Value at risk? The amount of data to be backupped at the moment is quite clear. I also considered using an external service for our backup. But for legal and technical reasons, this is not possible. So now I deal with building up an own solution again. – K B Jun 28 '13 at 13:51
  • VAR = Value Added Reseller. A backup/storage vendor that will come in and properly evaluate your need. Go with someone you trust that isn't there to simply make a sale. – TheCleaner Jun 28 '13 at 13:52

You're not looking for a NAS, but a SAN. Without going into too much detail, a SAN is an array of disks like a nas, but in such a way where you can carve out disk space as needed. It also attaches to the network quite differently, as this is high end equipment meant to have network redundancy. You can have two SANs running with one mirroring each other, this is common. You can add drives to the SAN as you go along, but be aware of the SAN Controller you invest in so you know the max it can handle.

Also, I would take a thorough look first at what data really needs backing up. Differentiate between what's crucial to keep production going and what the average user labels as 'important'. I'm curious to know what industry this is which such a large amount of data. If the data is truly that crucial it should be stored on something like a SAN to begin with and not on drives in user space (where it can grow legs and walk away).

  • Thanks for the hint to SAN. I wasn't aware of this before. We are storing data for fMRI research. The biggest amount of data basically consists of raw image files + analyzed image data which can grow big quite fast. – K B Jun 28 '13 at 13:46
  • I was thinking either Medical or Video media, since I've done IT in the Medical industry before. Be aware that SANs aren't cheap, even using a debian based open source san solution as is outlined here, for your storage requirements and redundancy it's a serious investment. – MDMoore313 Jun 28 '13 at 14:10

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