5 Keys to Scalability with Disk Backup Systems

5 keys to scalability with disk-based backup systems – Part 1 of 5

As your business grows, so does the amount of data it generates, and the amount of storage capacity needed to properly retain the data often cascades out of control.  Organizations of all sizes face the dilemma of how to back up increasing amounts of data while reducing the hassles of traditional tape-based systems.  Fortunately, the cost of disk has fallen in recent years, making disk-based backup systems more affordable for companies of all sizes.  More importantly, the advent of data reduction technologies such as data deduplication have now made it possible to cost effectively replace tape with a disk backup system.

When evaluating disk-based backup systems, it is important to consider how the system will deal with data growth – or scale – over time.  After all, it is one thing to invest in a system that will solve your backup issues today.  It is a much wiser investment to put a disk backup system into place that will handle the inevitable data growth and maintain backup performance without having to invest in and migrate to a new system.

This blog series focuses on the important issue of scalability when looking at disk backup systems and outlines the five key questions you should ask when evaluating the scalability of any disk-based backup solution. In the first part of this series, we discuss the cost effectiveness of disk backup.

  1. Does the system allow you to keep all of your backups on disk cost effectively?
  2. Does the system cause your backups to take longer as your backup data grows?
  3. Does the system require a larger up-front investment, or can you pay as you grow?
  4. Does the system require you to swap your system for a larger one (“forklift upgrade”) as your backup data grows, or can you preserve your initial investment when moving to a larger system?
  5. Does the core deduplication architecture lend itself to a more scalable model?

Key # 1: Does the system allow you to keep all of your backups on disk cost effectively?

One benefit of disk backup systems is the ability to store all of your backup history and retention on disk cost effectively. If you plan to keep only one to two full copies of your backup data on disk, then you may find that buying a standard disk-based storage solution is a cost effective and workable solution, despite the complexity and management overhead associated with straight disk storage.
However, if like most companies, you plan to keep four or more full copies of your backup data, then straight disk storage will prove to be very expensive. To properly size the disk backup system, you must thoroughly consider your future retention needs. For example, if you plan to only retain two full copies of your backups, and then decide to keep four or more copies at a later date, you will need to purchase more capacity.  In a case where four or more copies of backups are to be kept on disk, a solution that uses data deduplication to reduce the amount of disk space required will keep costs down significantly.

Consider the diagram below. A disk-based backup system without data deduplication takes over 50 TB to store 10 full backups of 5 TB of data. By using data deduplication technology, the same 50 TB of data can be stored in less than 5 TB of disk space. This is possible because with data deduplication, redundant backup data is drastically reduced (on average only about 2% of backup data changes from backup to backup).  The result is an affordable disk backup solution that can efficiently store all of your backup data.


Scalability Disk Backup Systems

Use disk-based backup to drive more scalability to your IT operations. Download our free whitepaper, “Five Keys to Scalability and Disk-Based Backup Systems” for tips on how you can cost effectively and efficiently store all of your backup data.

This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.