As Published In
Oracle Magazine
May/June 2010

TECHNOLOGY: Backup


Next-Generation Data Backup

By Kemer Thomson

StorageTek Enterprise Backup software, Sun chip multithreading servers, and Oracle Solaris deliver end-to-end data protection.

Datacenter administrators in all industry segments and in companies of all sizes face a similar array of archive challenges: explosive data growth, pressure to provide promised service levels, “forever” archive data retention and retrieval requirements, and rising energy costs. As a result, data protection environments are becoming larger, more complex, and increasingly diverse. And while administrators are facing these challenges with a comprehensive backup solution, they also have to control costs and build a platform that will continue to meet growing future demands.

To address these challenges, Oracle has developed an open, intelligent, and highly scalable general-purpose archive solution with state-of-the-art technology and breakthrough cost structures. Using Oracle’s StorageTek Enterprise Backup software and powered by Oracle’s Sun chip multithreading (CMT) servers and the Oracle Solaris operating system, this solution delivers next-generation data protection for large and small heterogeneous environments alike. And it provides virtually unlimited scalability with central management and end-to-end data protection across heterogeneous technologies.

The Backup Architecture

Oracle’s data backup architecture is designed as a solution for providing network backups of heterogeneous clients. Based on common implementations of existing customer environments, the target environment includes backup clients connected via a LAN with 1 gigabit Ethernet network links.

A key objective of this architecture is to achieve competitive price/performance. Oracle’s evaluation of the requirements established the number of backup targets that could be supported and provided an understanding of the system configuration and steady-state CPU utilization required to reach that performance level.

In this architecture, StorageTek Enterprise Backup software is used to provide disk- and tape-based data protection as well as archival and recovery management. The solution scales to support an enterprise network with numerous clients running a mix of Oracle Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, Linux, and Windows.

The multitier architecture includes backup clients, a management console and backup server, one or more storage nodes, and a wide variety of disk and tape devices that can be configured at the discretion of the system administrator in charge of the installation.

The base reference architecture includes a single StorageTek Enterprise Backup master backup server managing multiple StorageTek Enterprise Backup software storage node servers. These storage node servers are attached to virtual tape libraries, Serial ATA (SATA) disk pools, network-attached storage (NAS) disk pools, EMC Avamar deduplication solutions, and tape libraries that store the backup data and deduplication metadata. The architecture provides a choice of servers for the various backup roles: any Sun CMT server model can be configured as the StorageTek Enterprise Backup software management console, backup server, or storage node, and a single server can function in multiple roles.

The configuration in Figure 1 serves a network environment with numerous backup clients running heterogeneous operating systems, all of which are configured to simultaneously back up their data to the Avamar solution. Although this architecture demonstrates many data backup methodologies, none of the backup devices relies on any other backup device for performance.

 

figure 1
Figure 1: Oracle’s next-generation backup architecture


Despite the fact that this architecture includes multiple StorageTek Enterprise Backup software storage node servers, a single storage node server or a single storage node/backup server can be deployed to support different network backup workloads. This design provides a highly scalable solution, because additional storage node servers and archive devices can be added as needed.

Enterprise Backup Software

StorageTek Enterprise Backup software provides a high-performance, scalable data protection solution for heterogeneous environments of any size. A single management console is used for all backup and recovery operations, enabling backup administrators to centrally manage their backup, archive, and recovery infrastructure.

The software accommodates multiple servers working together under the administrative control of one server. In this relationship, the StorageTek Enterprise Backup software administrative control server is designated to be the backup (master) server, with the other servers designated as storage node (media) servers operating under the control of the backup server. A backup server and its associated storage node servers are referred to collectively as a StorageTek Enterprise Backup software storage domain. Large networks may require more than a single StorageTek Enterprise Backup software domain.

The centrally located management console is used to seamlessly manage the backups and deduplication policies. All administrative functions are performed centrally from the backup server, and the backup server controls all backup scheduling for each storage node server. Each of the storage node servers performs the actual backup operations for client systems under the direction of the backup server, and backup data stays local to the storage node servers and their respective storage devices. A backup server can also function as a storage node server if desired.

 

figure 2
Figure 2: Oracle’s next-generation backup implementation


Avamar Deduplication Option

StorageTek Enterprise Backup software supports both traditional and deduplicated backup with a single, integrated client agent. The Avamar patented global source-based deduplication identifies redundant data segments at the source and transfers only unique data segments across sites and servers before they are transferred across the network. This reduces daily backup data volumes by as much as 500 to 1, backup times by as much as 10 to 1, and total storage by as much as 50 to 1. StorageTek Enterprise Backup software deduplication delivers daily full backups with easy one-step recovery, eliminating the need to restore full and subsequent incremental backups to reach a desired recovery point. The result is fast, efficient, and reliable backup and recovery.

StorageTek Enterprise Backup software deduplication with Avamar is ideal for virtual environments, file servers, remote and branch offices, content repositories, and bandwidth-constrained datacenter backup, because only changed data segments are sent during backup.

For smaller remote and branch offices, StorageTek Enterprise Backup software clients can be deployed on protected systems, with no additional remote hardware required—data is backed up directly over existing WAN connections to the datacenter. StorageTek Enterprise Backup software manages all tasks with one management interface and workflow—providing true control and protection of all data, even at the edge of the organization.

Existing StorageTek Enterprise Backup software customers can enjoy the benefits of deduplication without the complexity of adding another backup user interface and backup workflow. Deduplicated clients are backed up and recovered with the same software interfaces and workflows used for all other clients.

A single centralized backup server coordinates and manages data backup for multiple networked backup clients. Backups include file systems, Oracle Database and other databases, and virtual machine environments such as Hyper-V and VMware. One or more storage nodes connects to each disk array, virtual tape library, tape drive, and tape library system. A separate Avamar deduplication node provides backup of all deduplicated client data.

Next Steps


 Learn more about StorageTek Enterprise Backup software


Summary

This architecture is highly flexible, with virtually unlimited scalability. The generic StorageTek Enterprise Backup software architecture supports multiple storage node servers working together under the administrative control of a backup server. Additional storage node servers can be deployed or multiple backup domains can be configured to address evolving scalability requirements. CMT servers and StorageTek Enterprise Backup software enable companies to implement cost-effective and powerful backup solutions for the largest, most diverse environments. 


Kemer Thomson is a 21-year veteran of Sun, where he was initially a field sales technologist. He served as technical editor for Sun BluePrints Online for nine years before moving into Oracle’s Sun Systems group as a product marketing analyst.

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