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Advice on backup and replication

DynamicIS
Aspirant

Advice on backup and replication

Hi all

Im looking for some advice as I spec up a NAS system to do backups and remote file replication.

We currently have a fairly new Dell T620 with multiple fast SAS drives as our server and data is stored on this and shared between 50 users. We currently utilise Backup Exec to do nightly backups to an LTO5 tape drive which works very well but managing tapes is a little awkward when Im not onsite. We have a 100mb leased line in place at the main office. We have around 4TB of data in total and a maximum of 1GB changes daily and have an archive rotation that allows us to go back 6 months to retrieve a file if necessary (M,T,W,T, FW1, FW2, FW3, FW4, FM1, FM2, FM3, FM4, FM5, FM6).

We have a branch office with 5 users and a 50mb leased line. These users connect to the data stored on the main server over a firewall managed VPN between the 2 sites and performance is good. However I am conscious that downtime on our connection or their connection will mean they cannot connect to the server to work.

I would like to implement a NAS system for 3 main reasons.

1 - Act as a Backup Store for the files from the server rather than nightly tape backups. if this can be done more frequently than nightly to give more of a continuous protection then thats even better (perhaps using a Netgear Software on the server rather than using Backup Exec)
2 - Have a 2nd NAS offsite at the branch office that the backups are replicated to so we have offsite storage of all the live and historic data.
3 - Have an offsite "accessable" copy of the current live data (ie 4TB) at the branch office so that if there is a major outage on the connectivity between the 2 sites, the branch office can be easily configured to utilise their copy of the data. They would not have access to this data except in this specific instance.

I have been looking at the various Netgear ReadyNAS offerings and whilst the hardware looks good, I want to check that the software packages (ie Replicate, ReadyCloud etc) can be configured to do what I want.

Any other suggestions of approaches would be welcomed as well.

Paul..
Message 1 of 6
RX
Luminary
Luminary

Re: Advice on backup and replication

DynamicIS wrote:
Act as a Backup Store for the files from the server rather than nightly tape backups. if this can be done more frequently than nightly to give more of a continuous protection then thats even better (perhaps using a Netgear Software on the server rather than using Backup Exec)


You could use the built-in backup feature of the NAS. Check this article and the sub-articles linked into it: http://kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detai ... -system%3F

About Continuous Data Protection, check these articles below:
http://www.netgear.com/images/ReadyNAS% ... -76104.pdf
http://kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detai ... erating-my

DynamicIS wrote:
Have a 2nd NAS offsite at the branch office that the backups are replicated to so we have offsite storage of all the live and historic data.


You could use ReadyNAS Replicate here. Kindly check this article and the sub-articles linked into it: http://kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detai ... -6-storage

DynamicIS wrote:
Have an offsite "accessable" copy of the current live data (ie 4TB) at the branch office so that if there is a major outage on the connectivity between the 2 sites, the branch office can be easily configured to utilise their copy of the data. They would not have access to this data except in this specific instance.


Since you mentioned that you have a VPN connection, if ever that VPN connection goes down and you still have internet access, ReadyCloud would be useful. You could just give remote access to certain users to remotely access the shares via ReadyCloud.

Kindly check this article and the sub-articles linked into it:
http://kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detai ... -system%3F

I suggest to you to get an Intel-based ReadyNAS OS 6 model. Check it here: http://netgear.com/images/pdf/ReadyNAS_ ... 700_DS.pdf
Message 2 of 6
StephenB
Guru

Re: Advice on backup and replication

Personally I haven't seen enough reliability and consistent performance out of ReadyCloud to recommend it for corporate use. If the two sites are seamlessly connected by the routers using VPN tunnels or perhaps MPLS, then backups can run over the existing corporate network. If they aren't connected that way, the I'd suggest creating a corporate network as part of this project.

The continuous protection offered by snapshots are useful locally on each NAS, but you can't back up the snapshots to a remote system efficiently. The built-in NAS backup jobs do simple file copies - they aren't capable of 2-way sync, and there isn't any versioning. I'm not a replicate user, so I don't have any feedback on that to offer. Egynte is a Netgear partner, and you might want to look at their ReadyNAS offerings.

The net here is that (a) CoW Snapshots are useful, but you need to understand their limitations (b) you'll need to make a deeper dive on the Netgear backup facilities to make sure they meet your requirements.
Message 3 of 6
DynamicIS
Aspirant

Re: Advice on backup and replication

Thanks for your detailed reply.

Ixa wrote:

You could use the built-in backup feature of the NAS. Check this article and the sub-articles linked into it: http://kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/23420/~/how-do-i-create-a-backup-job-on-my-readynas-os-6-storage-system%3F


So I could configure the source as a "Remote" device (the Windows share on the server) and the destination as a "local" device on the ReadyNAS. That would allow me to back up the data from the server to the ReadyNAS using the ReadyNAS backup jobs.

Looking at your other links, the continuous protection feature seems to only work if you store the data on the ReadyNAS - which we wont be doing.

Ixa wrote:

You could use ReadyNAS Replicate here. Kindly check this article and the sub-articles linked into it: http://kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/23836/~/what-is-readynas-replicate-and-how-does-it-work-with-my-readynas-os-6-storage


Yes I think Replicate will work fine. If I used it on the main office initially to replicate then transferred it offsite, will it use the VPN connection we have in place to connect internally or will it route itself via the internet connection?

Ixa wrote:

Since you mentioned that you have a VPN connection, if ever that VPN connection goes down and you still have internet access, ReadyCloud would be useful. You could just give remote access to certain users to remotely access the shares via ReadyCloud.


That solves one part of our problem (main site connection or VPN offline) but not if the branch office connection goes down.

After more thought, Im thinking that I may do this by utilising Windows Backup to create backups from the server that are stored on the main office ReadyNAS as these are created in a VHD format by default.

I can then use Replicate to transfer these VHD files from main to branch office and if we have an issue with the connection, we can mount the latest VHD file at the branch office to extract files from. Well, maybe.

Any further ideas welcomed.

Paul..
Message 4 of 6
DynamicIS
Aspirant

Re: Advice on backup and replication

StephenB wrote:
Personally I haven't seen enough reliability and consistent performance out of ReadyCloud to recommend it for corporate use. If the two sites are seamlessly connected by the routers using VPN tunnels or perhaps MPLS, then backups can run over the existing corporate network. If they aren't connected that way, the I'd suggest creating a corporate network as part of this project.


We utilise Untangle at either end and this creates an IPSEC VPN tunnel between the 2 sites. I dont want to run backups (and certainly nothing continuous) over the VPN link directly. I would rather have a local (to Disk) backup first then replicate that over the WAN/VPN.

If ReadyCloud isnt suitable then I wont be using it. Can it be installed on a server to monitor the data put into a shared folder (or an entire drive..?) and synchronise the data to the ReadyNAS?

StephenB wrote:

The continuous protection offered by snapshots are useful locally on each NAS, but you can't back up the snapshots to a remote system efficiently. The built-in NAS backup jobs do simple file copies - they aren't capable of 2-way sync, and there isn't any versioning. I'm not a replicate user, so I don't have any feedback on that to offer. Egynte is a Netgear partner, and you might want to look at their ReadyNAS offerings.


The problem with using an external partner is one of cost. 4TB of basic data plus versioning over 6 months is a lot of data and costs to add. Id rather invest in the hardware at either site and leverage the leased lines we have if possible.

StephenB wrote:

The net here is that (a) CoW Snapshots are useful, but you need to understand their limitations (b) you'll need to make a deeper dive on the Netgear backup facilities to make sure they meet your requirements.


Thats the plan. Thanks for the input. I think the most useful feature Im seeing is the Replicate functionality as the others wont fit with our data needs. Having said that, Backup Exec does allow us to have backups and use the ReadyNAS as a storage device but its that extra element of wanting the files in an accessable format offsite that makes that approach fall over.

Paul..
Message 5 of 6
StephenB
Guru

Re: Advice on backup and replication

I agree that cost is a big factor, and egynte looks pricey to me (as a home user). I use Crashplan, but it might not have the enterprise features you want.

ReadyCloud runs on the NAS and clients. There is some sync from a client PC to the NAS, but that is pretty new stuff and has significant limitations. In particular, you can't select any folder you want for sync (which is very odd, and hopefully will be fixed). I think its something to watch, but not something you can bet your business on yet.

If I am getting your sizing correctly, your data churn is about 400 GB a year, with a base storage need of 4 TB. If you had a 12 TB data volume at each site, you could keep both backup exec backups and a daily accessible snapshot in parallel, using about 2/3 of the volume capacity. You'd be transferring about 2 GB of data over the wide area a day, which would take 5 hours a day over the existing leased lines (assuming it is all moving in one direction).

If you could automatically restore the backup exec backups at the remote end, then you'd cut the data transfer in half, but that would require some more work to implement.

If you enabled CoW on the backup destinations for the user-accessible data folders, then the remote NAS would have some rollback. Fragmentation is minimal, because you'd be copying complete files. The NAS has some built-in policies for pruning snapshots, so you can't guarantee recovery of every file version that is on the existing tapes. However, it could still be useful, especially if you run into issues where tapes can't be read. The storage cost is less than the data churn (if snapshots weren't pruned, then the storage cost would be the same as the data churn).
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