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A Primer on Data Backup for Small- to Medium-Sized Companies (Video)

Roblimo posted about a month ago | from the prepare-for-the-worst-days-and-the-best-days-will-take-care-of-themselves dept.

The Internet 76

This is a conversation with Jeff Whitehead and Lou Montulli, respectively Vice President of Technical Operations/CTO and Chief Scientist for Zetta.net, a company that specializes in online backup and disaster recovery service. Also, while this interview was arranged without his help, in the interest of full disclosure we'd like to tell you that Zetta's CEO is Ali Jenab, who used to be CEO of Slashdot's parent company. But this discussion isn't about Ali or Zetta.net, but about data backup, and what methods are best and most cost-effective for companies ranging from home-based businesses up to enterprise operations with thousands of employees. Among other things, we discussed the importance of multiple-site storage for important data, a factor that was drilled in to us yesterday by an article titled Another Iron Mountain Fire Points Up Shortcomings of Physical Storage by long-time tech journalist Sharon Fisher. And never forget: You don't know how effective your backup and data storage arrangements are until you try to retrieve your data -- and if you don't try to retrieve data until you need it, and things don't work, you are in big trouble. (Don't see the video? Here's a link.)

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76 comments

don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

alen (225700) | about a month ago | (#46280039)

used SDLT for years with almost no problems
used disk to disk backup for a year as well. very nice except the PHB gets a heart attack every time you ask for more disk. at least for database backups
been on LTO-4 for 4 years. tapes are cheap. its fairly fast. and haven't had any problems with data corruption or tapes breaking

looking at LTO-6 but the tapes are still fairly expensive

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a month ago | (#46280113)

used SDLT for years with almost no problems
used disk to disk backup for a year as well. very nice except the PHB gets a heart attack every time you ask for more disk. at least for database backups
been on LTO-4 for 4 years. tapes are cheap. its fairly fast. and haven't had any problems with data corruption or tapes breaking

looking at LTO-6 but the tapes are still fairly expensive

Hey, now, don't go mucking up a perfectly good Slashvertisement by pointing out how unnecessary the product being slashvertized might be!

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

mlts (1038732) | about a month ago | (#46280151)

LTO-4 is the minimum I'd probably go with these days, because it is the first generation to have hardware based AES encryption via SCSI SPIN/SPOUT commands. Most sane backup software (NetBackup for example) can use this, so to protect media, one just makes a password, makes sure the CTO and CIO not just know it, but have it stashed in a folder somewhere, and then maybe change it once a year (leaving the older passwords in the silo's memory for easy reading of older tapes.)

PHBs love the concept of deduplication and disk to disk (a la Avamar)... but eventually that disk fills up, and it fills up far quicker than expected, so it has to go somewhere... and on the enterprise level, nothing beats tape for getting space free on the spindles (assuming one stores multiple copies of the data, preferably with one copy going offsite [1])

[1]: Yes, IM had a facility get toasted, but there is a risk with every media. Cloud stuff can have issues. If one follows basic practices and a tiered data retention system (important data gets backed up in more places, and saved more often), even a loss of an outside facility can be recovered from.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

alen (225700) | about a month ago | (#46280193)

yep
LTO-4 i'm buying for like $30 a tape these days and have some tapes hold 4TB or more of data

disk is good and fairly cheap but you need a server and/or JBOD to hold that disk which adds to the cost. and then you need a second DR server and another license for your backup software, etc.

had to take a lot of shit pushing LTO instead of D2D a few years back, but now i'm not the one having to justify $200,000 disk purchases to the CIO and my tape purchases are a blip on the budget

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (2)

mlts (1038732) | about a month ago | (#46280511)

To me, it is simple: A LTO-4 tape native capacity is 800GB, each tape $30. That's $375 for 10 terabytes. If I wanted to move to LTO-6, that's $75-$80 a tape, so that's $320 for 10 terabytes uncompressed for four tapes.

Ten TB of VNX space or Avamar space is going to cost you seven digits minimum, probably eight once EMC is done making you pay for all the options. Yes, there is "magic" with deduplication, but even that will fill up shortly.

To boot, unlike Avamar or disk storage, the energy cost of having stored tapes is just HVAC, no having to keep spindles twirling. Plus, tapes are easy to keep physically secure. An intruder in Elbonia would have to get someone on site and into the tape safe to access stored data there, compared to just kicking open a cloud provider and snarfing data from their backend arrays without needing to bribe/coerce someone to physically grab the media and stuff the tape in the silo.

However, tape is "your father's Oldsmobile", and even though it does work, the disk and cloud salespeople always end up getting the PHBs to spend the big bucks on something that ends up getting completely used up within days to weeks.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

alen (225700) | about a month ago | (#46280641)

LTo-4 is 800gb uncompressed and 1.6TB compressed, but i have LTO-4 tapes with 5TB
asked about it years ago and people with more experience said that its normal for some tapes to hold a lot more than what they are rated for. most of my tapes are closer to 2TB of data

compared to disk where the sales people quote raw unformatted numbers with no RAID and no server and no nothing

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a month ago | (#46280791)

Um, unless I'm missing something, a tape is only going to be able to store its native capacity, and that's it. It's not like they're accidentally going to put twice as much footage in there on some of them. If the native capacity is 800GB, that's it.

If you're storing up to 5TB on a tape, that surely must be because the you're availing yourself of the compression feature (rather than storing pre-compressed data), and some of your data is highly compressible. This isn't usual; different data is differently compressible. If you're trying to store h.264 movies or JPEGs on a tape, you're not going to get very good compression, and probably none at all in fact. If you're storing text files, you should be able to get excellent compression.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a month ago | (#46280983)

The drives apply compression that achieves 2:1 on a Reference data sample [wikipedia.org]. Considering that the tapes are usually NOT backing up video / audio / binaries (user data is usually more important than executable content), such compression rates are commonly seen in real-world scenarios.

This isn't usual; different data is differently compressible. I

This is true, but it IS usual. LTO compression also selectively applies compression; it will not attempt to compress JPEGs. Luckily JPEGs dont tend to get backed up.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 months ago | (#46281209)

Luckily JPEGs dont tend to get backed up.

I guess that depends on what kind of business you're running....

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 months ago | (#46281225)

Anyone whose business depends on images is almost certainly not backing up lossily compressed data. PNG, maybe.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 months ago | (#46281421)

Anyone whose business depends on images is almost certainly not backing up lossily compressed data. PNG, maybe.

Porn sites don't distribute their images in PNG form.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 months ago | (#46283109)

90 to 1 they dont store their backups as jpegs. The licensed originals are stored by someone, and they surely are not using lossy compression.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 months ago | (#46285303)

They distribute them solely as JPGs; if they some massive drive crash, why on earth would they want to regenerate all that data from the lossless originals, rather than just getting a copy of the website back online immediately using the data they normally distribute?

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

dave562 (969951) | about a month ago | (#46281037)

I agree and until I see proof, I am calling BS. I have been working with tape backups since the mid-1990s and at best you usually get 1.5 to (maybe) 2 times compression. On LTO-4 that works out to about 1200GB per tape. It is rare to see the a tape achieve the full, vendor stated compressed figure in real world environments.

Re: don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#46281135)

It entirely depends on your data, but anything from 1-3x is extremely common on LTO in my experience.

It's basically the same algorithm gzip uses, those ratios are not crazy.

Re: don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

dave562 (969951) | about 2 months ago | (#46282299)

Exactly. Even 3x at 800GB for LTO-4 is still not even half of the 5TB that the guy above was claiming.

The only where you are even going to see 3x is with highly compressible data, like pure text. In any sort of normal environment where you have a mixture of file formats, 1-1.5x is about the best I have seen. The only caveat to that is that I have not worked with LTO5 or 6 yet. We went disk based a few years ago.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

1s44c (552956) | about 2 months ago | (#46285537)

How about a backup of an email store where the data is almost entirely text?

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

dave562 (969951) | about 2 months ago | (#46288199)

Depends on the email application. In Exchange, the email is kept in a database and includes things like attachments, indexes, etc.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

1s44c (552956) | about 2 months ago | (#46285495)

What the hell are you talking about? The variations in storage capacity are a product of how compressible your data is.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#46280673)

I get it for the enterprise, but for small orgs the tape drive itself is quite a dent in the budget. The cost of your LTO4 drive alone would get you the NAS I own, which has 16TB of RAIDZ2 capacity (24TB raw), compression, dedup and snapshotting. I'd say tape would start to become realistic compared to disk up from about 30TB's of raw capacity. That's *A LOT* of data for a small to medium sized business.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a month ago | (#46281043)

An array like you mentioned would have to be whiteboxed to meet the budget of an LTO drive, and even there its doubtful (24TB Raw is gonna run you close to $2000 once you figure in all the hardware). A new LTO4/5 drive is generally gonna be under $2000, and an 8-bay autoloader can be found for under $4k.

The real beauty of tape is that its easy to store offline. A nasty surge could easily fry all 24TB of your storage at once. The platters may be in tact, but have fun doing a platter swap with your backup data. Say it with me now: Online RAID arrays are not good backups. All the best disaster recovery scenarios will involve offline media transported offsite so that a single nasty lightning strike cant kill all of your data (either thru surge or through magnetic wiping).

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

dave562 (969951) | about a month ago | (#46281005)

Tape is good until you have SLAs that need to be met. Often times you cannot meet the kind of SLAs that SaaS customers expect with a tape library.

Where I work we use tape for long term cold archival storage, and Avamar or Netbackup to Data Domain. The Data Domains are then duplicated to a mirror site. We currently have 28 day retention of nearly 4PB of data. EMC loves us.

Re: don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46281227)

You're talking maybe 30 seconds per tape load, with data coming off the tape faster than you can write it down in most cases.

If you have an RTO SLA that rules out tape, then you are a unique and special butterfly, face it.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46281933)

Tape is damn fast. In fact, most drive arrays except 10gigE FCoE models won't even get near the bandwidth of a LTO-6 silo. Tape drives require their own server, and their own HBAs, unless you like shoe-shining.

Oh, the Avamars and DDs have dedicated FC tape out. You can do your async replication, as well as throw data to tape and reload. D2D2T is very common in larger IT installations, and it is a must for HIPAA and other regulations that require archiving. Yes, you can configure your VNX or Avamar to have a read-only LUN... but that data you never access will be spinning on a platter, using up your DC's electricity while my tapes will be in a safe just taking up space.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

swb (14022) | about a month ago | (#46280655)

I think you need both.

Disk is a lot less headache for short-to-medium term backups and most decent backup software does enough dedupe, compression and intelligent incrementals that you can keep weeks or even a month or more of backups online for easy retrieval. Plus disk for backup is one of those places where you can get away with "good enough" cheap SAN-ish storage and not pay the freight for high-dollar SAN.

Tape makes it easy and reliable to get it off site or if you need more retention than you can afford on disk. I wouldn't buy anything less than LTO-5 and LTO-6 is probably the way to go.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a month ago | (#46281073)

Disk is "easier" until you start having to juggle more and more data, and want longer retetntion periods, and realize what a PITA it is to have to have all of your storage online at once. Then you realize what a liability it is to have your backups always online to begin with (malicious users, surges, EMF pulses from lightning strikes, someone drops the server), and all of a sudden tape sounds really really good. Need more retention? Buy another pallet of tapes at under $20/TB. Server room went up in flames? (this actually happened to a client of mine) Tapes offsite have you covered.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

swb (14022) | about 2 months ago | (#46282463)

Storage capacity is the easy part. You can get a perfectly serviceable 24TB of RAID-10 with dual 10G ethernet in a single 3U rackmount for $10k or less. You could always restripe to RAID 5 if your speed demands aren't great and have 40TB of storage. With dedupe and smart incrementals that could represent months of 5 TB production storage.

I think the bigger headache is tape writes. If you have repository sizes you want to dump that exceed LTO-6 capacity you have to decide if you want to deal with a changer, change tapes manually or look at two drives and structuring repositories based on tape size so you can parallelize your dumps.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 months ago | (#46283133)

I can get 150TB of LTO5 storage (native capacity) with 2:1 compression and built in AES for $2000, and an 8-bay tape library for another $3k. I dont have to worry about array rebuilds, power, disk crashes, power surges, or uptime.\

You could always restripe to RAID 5

Please tell me you arent in charge of anyone's backup. You're suggesting a whitebox build with software RAID 5 with consumer SATA hardware (has to be at those prices)-- did i mention RAID 5 on 12 drives? You might as well go RAID 0 for all the redunancy youve bought yourself. Heres a hint: Never ever use RAID 5 on an array with that many drives, as you massively drive up the chance that a second drive will fail before your incredibly slow rebuild completes.

Clearly tape is a problem, which is why just about every enterprise relies on it for their disaster recovery. Say it with me: Online RAID storage is NOT A BACKUP. Its failover, or hot/warm spare, but anything that is kept onsite and online is by no means a backup. Anyone who designs such a system as their backup is a liability. What happens when a surge or a fire hits your fancy array? You plan to rotate 16 disks in and out regularly?

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 2 months ago | (#46283159)

Edit: Im actually calling complete BS on your statement. You can do it with consumer drives, maybe, but at 2TB / drive youre probably hitting $4500 in storage alone, plus $2000 for a card that can drive 20 disks, plus dual massive 700w+ PSUs, plus ~$1000+ to hold your storage array online long enough to shut down, and $1000 in 10gigE cards. That doesnt include RAM, motherboard, processor, chassis, and backplane for all of those disks.

You might hit that mark with bottom of the barrel SATA drives rather than SAS, but i would really hope that youre not going that route.

And again none of this addresses the massive issue of array corruption. One bad shutdown with insufficient RAID battery backup could make the whole array inconsistent, killing all of your data. Thats why you dont use RAID as a backup.

64TB disk jbod: $350. Tape library: $3,500 (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#46281701)

I find that the cost of auxiliary equipment, servers, is far LESS for spindles. I just bought a 16 bay SAS jbod for $350. That's up to 64TB raw. A tape library would have cost $3,500.

Sure you CAN have a human switch tapes, just as you can have a human hotswap drives from any old server you want to use for backup storage. At least at the level of about 80 TBs, spindles are a lot less expensive as well as more convenient.

If you already have humans sitting around the datacenter who have nothing better to than switch tapes, and if you have hundreds of TBs, I suspect tapes make sense in that case.

Re:64TB disk jbod: $350. Tape library: $3,500 (1)

airdweller (1816958) | about 2 months ago | (#46299913)

" I just bought a 16 bay SAS jbod for $350. That's up to 64TB raw."
1. With disks? Did you get that used on eBay? That seems really cheap to me.
2. Are you suggesting JBOD as a means of backup?

SGI jbods are half that, used (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#46300387)

It's one of the SGI units. Used, they sell for half that, so I misspoke. The storage SERVERS, with motherboard and processor, are $350. So for $700 you can get the backup controller server with 16 bays plus two more 16 bay jbods to daisy chain to it. Not bad for backup. That's not what I'd use for my main enterprise storage SAN, but for backup yeah it works real well.

That is without the disks themselves, of course. Starting with four or six 3TB drives in RAID 10, you get 150-200 MB/s actual for several hundred dollars, then add spindles as needed.

ps similar new still 1/2 cost of tape robot (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#46300639)

I meant to say, something like that, a SuperMicro chassis with SAS expander backplane, does of course cost a lot more if you don't buy on eBay. A new one from Provantage is around $700 or so. Still, compared to a $3,500 tape library ...

That's not say tapes don't have their place. Tape was good enough to back up my grandpa's data in 1954 and it's still good enough, sometimes. Other times, large capacity disks really do make more sense.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

1s44c (552956) | about 2 months ago | (#46285461)

LTO-4 is the minimum I'd probably go with these days, because it is the first generation to have hardware based AES encryption via SCSI SPIN/SPOUT commands.

Call me paranoid but how can you be sure what the hardware is actually doing? The NSA has forced various companies to do very bad things, and backups are one of the easiest ways to get data out of a company.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46285809)

Different AC here. The NSA is the last of my worries when I wear my backup admin (red) hat. I am far more concerned about making sure I am HIPAA/FERPA/PCI-DSS3/EU/whatever-the-hell compliant come audit time than I am about if the NSA out a backdoor in an expensive silo.

Plus, these are symmetric keys. A tape encrypted on a backdoored LTO drive just won't decrypt on a LTO drive that is clean. It isn't impossible, but it is harder, and in this aspect, I'm more concerned about protecting tapes that fall off the back of the Iron Maiden truck than worrying if the NSA or James Bond gets access to some random data.

I'm not running a TS-SCI shop. At best, I'd be at SBU level, which having AES encryption, SCAP compliance, and a vendor with certified libraries is good enough.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 2 months ago | (#46282033)

We just switched from LTO-4 to LTO-6. When I calculated the price per MB the cost of LTO-4 and LTO-6 tapes was about the same. But if you never fill up the 2.5 TB of an LTO-6 tape then that might not be the most economical. So far I am pleased with the switch to LTO-6. Our full backups went from 8 or 9 tapes down to three tapes (really 2.5 tapes) although the speed isn't that much better.

Re:don't have problems with LTO-4 tape (1)

1s44c (552956) | about 2 months ago | (#46285427)

They are preaching this message to the wrong audience. We know how to do backups. We know they have to be stored off site. We know they have to be tested. We know you have to keep them secure either with encryption or physical security or both. We know there are very many ways to do store backup data all with various pros and cons.

The problem is the CEO's and the PHB types of the world don't see anything but the cost of backups.

Audio??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#46280049)

It would help if there were audio with the video.

Bareos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#46280055)

Anyone tried Bareos [bareos.org]? It's a fork of Bacula, which has become rather closed and has isolated most new features to their non-free licensed version. Apparently the Bacula copyright holder has filed a lawsuit against Bareos for copyright infringement.

AdBlock Plus not working (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#46280071)

Why am I seeing this adert?

Re:AdBlock Plus not working (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#46280243)

You answered your own question.

Re:AdBlock Plus not working (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month ago | (#46280603)

This.

Expecting to get an objective view of backups from someone who works for a backup service isn't very reasonable.

I could be wrong, but it seems to me we've been seeing more of these "ads disguised as news" things lately. Is Slashdot trying to prime us for Slashdot 2, the "new improved" version?

"Shortcomings of physical storage"?!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#46280085)

Riiight.

Because data can be stored on non-physical media?

Re:"Shortcomings of physical storage"?!?!?! (1)

alen (225700) | about a month ago | (#46280163)

it can when you store it in the cloud
ever see a hard drive or tape in the cloud?

Re:"Shortcomings of physical storage"?!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46281607)

it can when you store it in the cloud
ever see a hard drive or tape in the cloud?

What the hell do you think "the cloud" is made of?

"The cloud" is just a buzzword that means "pay someone else to put your data on someone else's hardware".

WTF (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#46280091)

Nigger

No Rap Music Comments Please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#46280911)

see subject

How is this not blatent adversting? (3, Insightful)

Netdoctor (95217) | about a month ago | (#46280103)

Rob, lots of genuine, honest respect here. But with the dice acquisition and beta debacle, a lot of effort needs to be made by the editors here to avoid any appearance of using the readers as targeted customers. This interview doesn't help in that regard.

Re:How is this not blatent adversting? (3, Insightful)

Draknor (745036) | about a month ago | (#46280217)

You make the assumption the editor's goal is NOT to use the readers as targeted customers.

I'm not sure that's a valid assumption.

Re:How is this not blatent adversting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#46280261)

The beta has been accepted by the majority of the Slashdot audience. The remainder will be assimilated into the new way of thought, soon. Beta brings good feelings. Warm feelings...

Re:How is this not blatent adversting? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a month ago | (#46280361)

I'm kinda surprised they keep trying. These stories never get many comments and they are always mostly along the lines of "get this shit off Slashdot". Personally I make sure I avoid any company advertised this way, on principal.

Re:How is this not blatent adversting? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#46280585)

The thing is, if we talk to people who have skills or whose company does something useful to some Slashdot people, others assume it's an ad. But it's not. These are serious experts. We're going to do another interview with Lou one day, too, about the early days at Netscape, a company he cofounded.

What I find amusing is that videos or other stories where we've been totally negative toward what the people are doing still get called "Slashvertisements" by some.

Believe it or not, Slashdot editors have friends, and we even have products we like. For example, I like my Asus MemoPad tablet, my Samsung Victory Android phone, my Marlin 795 rifle, and my 1996 Jeep Cherokee. Does this mean I shouldn't say anything about them, but only about products I don't like?

I won't talk about Dice except to say they get me my checks on time, and they just put somebody new in charge of Slashdot who seems like she's smart and wants to make Slashdot better, not worse. Slashdot Beta? There's a link to "Slashdot Classic" at the bottom of every Beta page. I'm back on "Slashdot Classic" myself because IMO Beta is nowhere near ready for broadcast at *any* time.

But I'm no longer a boss, but an old retired guy who makes Slashdot videos and does a little writing here and there for side money. I often agree with readers more than management (the story of my life as a writer & editor), and I tell management what I think you want and generally get ignored. Example: I have said over and over that video preroll ads over 15 seconds are a bad idea, and that 30 seconds should be the dead maximum, ever. And still...

Re:How is this not blatent adversting? (4, Funny)

Roblimo (357) | about a month ago | (#46280635)

Whoops - I wrote the above comment without logging in. That makes me a cowardly anon, doesn't it? :)

Re:How is this not blatent adversting? (1)

Netdoctor (95217) | about 2 months ago | (#46287847)

Well, I never want to get in the way of a man doing a good job, and the articles really are appreciated.

I guess it's about transparancy. Hearing from you, from /. and knowing what /. is up to causes us to engage more. Without that communication, we -as nerds- get paranoid and suspicious.

Come to think of it, a /. editor blog would be nice.

Thanks again.

Re:How is this not blatent adversting? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 months ago | (#46285211)

My apologies Rob, I over-reacted it seems. Unfortunately this is the atmosphere we have here now. The number of blatant advertising stories has definitely increased since Dice took over, and now everything is treated with suspicion.

Slashvertisement. 4 good points. In that spirit .. (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a month ago | (#46280771)

Indeed, blatant slashvertisement. The video DID mention some key points. For those who didn't feel like watching the video or reading the transcript, aside from pure advertising, they did hit four points which I refer to as the golden rules of backup:

Backups must be:
Off site: fires, thefts happen, and they happen in datacenters too.
Automated: people will stop manually copying and swapping, probably at the worst possible time.
Rotated: Not just one backup overwritten daily. If you were hacked at 11:00 PM, that midnight backup doesn't help.
Tested: Of our customers who thought they had backups, over half didn't actually have working backups when we suggested they test them.

In the spirit of blatant advertising, Clonebox provides a very similar service, at a slightly better price, and the owner is a long time /.er

Roblimo's Personal Anecdotes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#46280167)

like the time I caught the ferry over to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe, so, I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now, to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on 'em. "Give me five bees for a quarter," you'd say.

Now where were we? Oh yeah: the important thing was I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn't have white onions because of the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones...

Old-School (1)

LaminatorX (410794) | about a month ago | (#46280303)

The last place I worked had five DATs. At any given time, four of them were in a safe-deposit box at the bank branch across the street.

At the end of every evening, one of the partners walked across the street and swapped today's tape for tomorrow's, and brought it back.

The tapes themselves were replaced once a year.

Re:Old-School (1)

unimacs (597299) | about a month ago | (#46280535)

We qualify as small to medium business and we had an audit of our IT systems done last year by a subcontractor of the firm that audits our books (As part of our business we offer financing).

Their recommendation was that to qualify as "offsite", the backups should be kept at least 7 miles away. The reason being that a natural (or manmade) disaster that would destroy or render inaccessible our primary backups could also do the same to our offsite backups if they were kept in the same general area.

Re:Old-School (1)

dysmal (3361085) | about a month ago | (#46280611)

Agreed about the 7 miles. I worked for an e-commerce company that had lost everything during hurricane Katrina. The data center got flooded. The backup server was dumped to tape and the ex-admin would pick those up weekly. His house went under water.

Re:Old-School (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a month ago | (#46280891)

7 miles might not have helped there; Katrina devastated far more than 7 miles of coastline. If your business/datacenter and your backup site are both on the coast, 7 miles apart, they'll both be toast when a hurricane hits. You have to go inland, and hopefully more than 7 miles. Of course, the problem in places like the Gulf Coast is that all the development is right on the coast (or within a few miles), and immediately inland (past the few miles of development) it's all rural. So if you want to store your backup tapes someplace inland 15 miles, you'll be putting them in someone's barn.

Re:Old-School (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 months ago | (#46281391)

I don't think a set figure makes any sense. You'd need to identify the risks places have in common and work from there.

I live in a metropolis, not too far from the river. Flooding seems like the only disaster that could also affect buildings further than, say, 1km from here, and only if they're also near the river.

So, I think I'd be fine so long as the backups are >1km from here, and perhaps not on on below ground level.

(Within 100-1000m I still can't think of many risks two buildings have in common. Arson after a riot?)

Boooooooring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#46280467)

Most boring video ever. Is this what you mean when call us an "audience"?

I'm archiving just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#46280909)

OK, my business is quite small. I archive to a NAS box once per week. I lost some data yesterday (but had the archive from Friday), got everything that was accidentally deleted in about 5 minutes. Done. I use Linux with RSYNC to do archives. Works like a charm. The first backup is the full, and each subsequent backup is a time stamped (partial / incremental) snapshot. If I want a new full backup, I rename the old full backup, and run another archive (and it takes a while). I also have an archive log. There are databases involved too, tables are exported, compressed and timestamped. I also have a very nice 'restore last' application that restores the last database snapshot. The whole thing works like a charm. Bash scripts using RSYNC. And I've recovered more than once, and its very nice/effective. If there is a fire, the NAS box can be unplugged and put under your arm. If you aren't here and there is a fire, you can always store it around a two layers of bricks, with a fire blanket between them. It all depends on how much you want to spend. I spent about $150 as a one time cost, plus about 20 hours to write all the scripts (there are about 10). A partial backup takes about 10 minutes: usually around 2 GB. A full backup takes about 40 minutes, 8 GB.

Re:I'm archiving just fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46281311)

going linux to linux is easy, how about backing up windows machines? how about drive images, etc?

similar concept, but much more protection cheap (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#46282005)

I used to do something similar. Then I made my rsynced copies bootable with qemu-kvm. I already had a datacenter, so I rsynced it there. That provides several advantages.

> If you aren't here and there is a fire, you can always
> store it around a two layers of bricks, with a fire blanket between them.

You COULD, but you probably don't, and overheating would be a concern, as would delaminating of the platters in a fire. Theft is concern as well.

With my better version, I started syncing systems for a few friends. When I needed more capacity, I bought 16 bay SAS JBOB units for $350. It's grown into quite a nice, professional system, with real protection from fire, theft, etc. but my friends still just pay $12 / month to cover the costs.

Please tell me I'm dreaming! (1)

wdhowellsr (530924) | about 2 months ago | (#46281301)

Please tell me the browser cache is screwing with me. Please tell me that my wife wants to have sex more often ( ok that isn't going to happen, I have a 12 and 15 year old) Do we really have Slashdot.org back?

Like your own personal expert! (1)

citylivin (1250770) | about 2 months ago | (#46281307)

"So [outsourcing to the cloud is] like having the worldâ(TM)s best expert hired on to your team just managing your particular system. "

No, its more like having the cheapest possible person from the cheapest possible country, reading scripts and excerpts from manuals back to you while being oh so polite about it. And then after your 2 hour phone call, blaming any other vendor or technology you are using which *must* be the cause of all the problems.
Surely its not their flawless product, which even though they are in tech support and must listen to peoples issues all day, has absolutely zero flaws they are willing to admit.

Fact, no one cares more about your data than you do. That ain't never going to change.

This interview transcript (cant watch, get player error) is laughably sparse on any real strategy except "outsource to us!". I feel dumber for having read it.

My Backup System is Painfully Simple (1)

Carol Anne Ogdin (3404765) | about 2 months ago | (#46282153)

It starts with one premise: If backups (or drive images) aren't made automatically, they will eventually never get made.

I have three drives, call them A, B and C. We have two servers, two desktops, two notebooks, each of which make a DAILY full-image backup to a separate partition on the same computer, which is then copied to a common, external drive (say "A") on one of the servers. Typically, each system has two or three days' worth of local backup images, and the external drive has about the same. We keep data and programs separately; C: is for code (e.g., Windows & Apps), D: is for data. So, to start with, we have (after the first cycle) about ten backups (one on the system, and three or four each on each of three external drives).

Each external 500GB drive holds about three days' worth of backups; I'm thinking about 1TB drives, soon. I "rotate" the drive arrangement once each week: Each week, I move "A" from Active to Standby (I unplug it) and call it "B"; I move "C" (the eldest, retrieved from off-site) to "B" (i.e., I plug it in), and I move the displaced "B" to become the new off-site "C". So, (Active->Standby->Offsite) is A->B->C, then next week, C->A->B, and then B->C->A.

I can claim, accurately, that while this system has holes, there is so much backup that we've never had a catastrophic loss, which is just fine with me, and very cost-effective. I would no more put my business data on a cloud server than stick a sharp fork in my eye; beyond NSA, there is the constant threat that the business will die, or be closed by authorities (think Kim Dotcom).

Backups for home and SOHO (1)

Aryeh Goretsky (129230) | about 2 months ago | (#46283237)

Hello,

My day job is at a security software company (anti-malware). We don't do anything in the backup space (either develop software, resell someone else's software, etc.) but I did write a paper on the subject of backups for them, because not every computer problem is a virus. It is more geared towards home users or home-based businesses than the video, above, because I figured that businesses already have some idea about backups—whether or not they are doing them properly is entirely another question, though.

The paper is basically an overview of backup technologies that might be applicable to a single PC or a small LAN, and is completely vendor neutral (like I said, no ties to anyone/anything in the backup space). It is also specific to on-premise backup technologies, as opposed to cloud, because those are the types of backup technologies with which I am experienced.

Anyways, if you are interested, or want to share it with a friend, family member, et cetera, here's the the paper: Options for backing up your computer [eset.com] [PDF, 862KB]

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

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