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How to backup large data sets

May 18, 2009, 11:08 pm

Summary: Issues with backing up large data sets can be overcome by using a backup system based on “intelligent differentials” where each backup results in a new “full backup” performed at the speed of a differential backup.

No matter what the organization’s business processes are, most SMBs are plagued with the same type of problems when it comes to backing up their data:

Thankfully, there are strategies to help overcome such issues which we’ll outline in the following article. In fact, if you follow these suggestions, you will be able to backup terabytes of data, with daily backup times of less than an hour!

Fixing the backup device storage-capacity problem

The storage size of the backup device can prove to be an issue because the growth capacity of many backup devices may not keep up with the expansion of a company’s data storage requirements. Tapes for instance can severely restrict the amount of data that can be backed up and even though tape drives may have data compression enabled, certain data files that are already at their maximum compression cannot be compressed any further.

The best solution to this dilemma is simply to choose a disk based backup device as your backup destination. Disk based backup devices such as eSata, USB hard drives and NAS devices store anywhere between 250GB to 1.5TB and can be purchased at affordable prices. Thus, using a disk based backup device means organizations can back up large amounts of data and can eliminate the hassle of having to split backup sets into smaller portions.

Improving backup speeds

The more data an organization has, the longer it will take to perform a simple full backup. According to some tests we performed in our labs, we found that we can backup to the fastest USB hard-drive device at 30 MB/sec or 108 GB/hr. Extrapolating on these results, we can assume that performing a full backup of 1TB of data would take up to 10 hours!

One way to get around this issue would be if we performed incremental or differential backups every day instead of full backups. Currently, there are new “intelligent differential” technologies which can be used to store large amounts of backup history on a single device. The way these “intelligent differential” backups work is that they take an existing full backup from the backup device and merge any new changes from the backup source with the full backup, thus creating a new full backup. This new full backup reflects the current state of the volume being backed up. Any differences that were replaced during the merge will be stored as past versions on the backup device and will be deleted as necessary.

This backup technology means that all backups are full backups even though they are performed at the speed of a differential backup. In addition, full backups can be restored in one restore operation instead of having to restore a full backup and subsequent differential and incremental backups as found with traditional differential backup technology.

How can I use this new “intelligent differential” method

Currently, there are three different backup technologies that use the “intelligent differential” method:

BackupAssist version 5 is a one-stop backup solution which integrates window imaging, rsync backups and file replication at an affordable price.

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  • September 25, 2015, 6:32 am
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  • October 8, 2015, 8:14 pm
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