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Hardware Thread, Suggestions wanted in Technical; Right, I'm looking at my server replacement plan for the next couple of years (as some of the servers are ...
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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Suggestions wanted

    Right, I'm looking at my server replacement plan for the next couple of years (as some of the servers are now hitting 3 years and therefore are falling out of warranty).

    My ultimate plan is to move to a virtualised infrastructure with a SAN for the storage - the only issue is that our backup solution at present is a server with giant hard disks in it, running Backup Exec.

    What would be a good backup solution to replace that, but with the future capability to also backup our virtualised system? I'm thinking a SAN for this would be a bit overkill. A NAS device, with a cheap server running the backup software (whatever we end up using).

    Another thing to note is that we can't afford something super-fancy like the Sun S7000.

    (So you have an idea of size, we are a middle school, total backup size for data is currently 300GB (ie. that's a full backup, so we'd want a few months worth storing, plus weekly backups, plus daily incremental)

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    Duke's Avatar
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    I'm in a very similar position and currently planning to do the virtualisation next summer then migrate to a freshly-built virtual domain and Win7 the summer after. However, we're a fairly large IT Specialist school so do have a bit more budget to play with than most. A full backup for us is 1.2TB, although that'll grow once I can bare-metal VM snapshots, then shrink once I can de-dupe them.

    My plans (I know these don't be completely relevant to you but might give you something to think about) are currently like this:

    Virtual Machines are hosted on a 7410 with clustered heads and the are replicated to a 7310 elsewhere on site. The 7410 will handle snapshots of the virtual machines. This gives me redundancy in that I can have no downtime if a 7410 head fails, and if an array or both heads go down I'll have failover to the 7310.

    I'll also be using Backup Exec on a backup server connected to a NetApp FAS2020 to handle both virtual machine backups and granular backups of the actual data (e.g. using the Exchange and SQL BE Agents) in case I need to do a file-level restore rather than a whole server restore.

    Somehow tape will also come into this, whether it's an autoloader hung of the back of a 7410 via NDMP or whether Backup Exec handles it I've yet to decide.

    On a budget... I'd check out Bacula and Amanda and see if they might fit your needs. I've never used either personally but have heard good things. The advantage of staying with Backup Exec is that (for a high price) you can get the VMware Agents.

    What SAN were you planning to use for the virtualisation storage? If you can't get an S7000, any idea if what you do buy will support snapshots?

    A cheap NAS and server for running the backup software sounds like a good idea, just make sure you have some level of redundancy in there for disaster recovery. If your server room burns down will it take the VM SAN and the backup NAS with it? If so you're stuck, and need to find a solution like a tape drive so you can put the tapes elsewhere, or an external HDD you can archive the backups to then take out of the server room.

    Chris

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    I use a 4Tb NAS box onsite and do regular backups to that. Each VM is running backup software (Yosimite in this case) and does file level backups daily/weekly/etc.

    I then have a seperate 4Tb 'portable' NAS that I keep offsite. During the summer/xmas/easter hols I down the VM's one at a time and copy thier .vhd files to this NAS box manually.

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    DMcCoy's Avatar
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    You need to be careful with snapshots. If you are using the SAN to create snapshots then it should be less of an issue, but with VMware etc it will create an additional disk files for the subsequent data, this can become very large with all data written since the snapshot in it.

    Should the redo file become large enough it will no longer quickly or possibly successfully be merged back into the main VM file. I once left a smoothwall VM in snapshot mode by accident after an upgrade and it was painful getting it to merge back the changes. There can be some not insignificant additional overhead when running with a redo log too.

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Look at the R1Soft CDP for your backup does virtual full backups, ver 3 thats coming out doesn't need a dedicated server to be the backup server as you have with the current ver 2.

    Ben

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    richardp's Avatar
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    Hi check out the DroboPro which is around 850 with no drives and has a single iSCSI connection or if you can find it the new DroboPro Elite which has two iSCSI connections. Both have been officially tested to work with VMWARE. So for your current needs it at the very least provide you with a cheaper backup for the SAN (just add upto 8 sata drives to suite your requirements) or even be suitable to be your main SAN.

    richard

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    plexer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richardp View Post
    Hi check out the DroboPro which is around 850 with no drives and has a single iSCSI connection or if you can find it the new DroboPro Elite which has two iSCSI connections.
    1 iSCSI and 2 iSCSI ??? iSCSI is not a physical connection?

    Ben

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    Ive been looking at this problem lately. Ive come to the conclusion that there is no getting around using block level deduplication.

    R1Soft does it. And so does the latest version of the ZFS filesystem. Opensolaris will have it soon, solaris already does.

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    IrritableTech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Another thing to note is that we can't afford something super-fancy like the Sun S7000.
    Have you actually had a quote?? I'm told Sun education prices are much lower than list prices.

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    Duke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    1 iSCSI and 2 iSCSI ??? iSCSI is not a physical connection?
    Could mean two NIC ports dedicated to iSCSI maybe? Or maybe just 2-port Gig NIC. Know what you mean though.

    Quote Originally Posted by terrorvis
    Have you actually had a quote?? I'm told Sun education prices are much lower than list prices.
    Agreed, Edu Promo will save you loads, as will matching Grant if you need more than one. Give Andy at Cutter (linescanner) or Andy at WTL (Apaton) a shout.

    Chris

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by terrorvis View Post
    Have you actually had a quote?? I'm told Sun education prices are much lower than list prices.
    Looking at the matching grant program, 2 7110's would cost us 8600. For 1.7TB in each unit. That is a lot of money!

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    richardp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plexer View Post
    1 iSCSI and 2 iSCSI ??? iSCSI is not a physical connection?

    Ben
    Sorry obviously did not make myself clear, the drobopro has a single gigabit network port, the drobopro elite has two gigabit network ports. Add one or two gigabit network cards to your server approx 80 for an intel single port card, and you can connect the drobopro directly to the back of the server using a standard network cable, or to your network switch. This means you can site the drobopro next to your server or pretty much anywhere else on your LAN within usual restrictions on cat5 cable runs.

    You then install the provided iSCSI initiator software on the server which allows the server to communicate with the drobopro using the iSCSI protocol. You can then create volumes automatically or manually as you require.

    Richard

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    Hebdenlad's Avatar
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    can yo give me a call? I think I've sent you a PM but not sure.... long day and toop much technology :-)

    Cheers,

    Phil

    01252 420 000 and ask for Phil Lawrence

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    diggory's Avatar
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    vsphere and drobo

    I'd second the drobo option.

    Running a drobopro as an SAN off an ESXi box.
    It isn't the fastest thing around, but very flexible in it's ability to take off-the shelf sata drives in a mix and match format with hot swapping

    On a few draw backs...

    The drobopro can only be configured with the drobo control panel software - which needs to be installed on a mac/linux/windows box.
    It's a bit slow.

    I'm using it to run MS DPM on it and ESXi box, to get around MS not supporting iSCSI and dynamic volumes under server 2003.
    Also watch out the although drobo support ESX, they don't support dynamic windows volumes - only basic (!)

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    diggory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diggory View Post
    I'd second the drobo option.
    Actually, our drobo-pro is having problems running for long periods of time, so I'm not so happy with it (as well as being slow to run one vm).

    It seems to drop the connection after a random amount of time (between a week to several weeks).
    Ho hum...
    Last edited by diggory; 21st June 2010 at 02:03 PM.

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