NAS for LAN-based Backups and restores NAS servers are dedicated (and often optimized) file servers that function to store and retrieve files for production servers and clients. Using NAS as a backup device provides the following advantages:
- Consolidation of Backup Equipment. With storage attached to the network rather than directly attached to the server it is no longer necessary to attach a tape device to each server for backups. Tape equipment can be consolidated directly onto NAS servers. This allows businesses to invest in a limited number of high quality tape devices and to maintain them in environments controlled for temperature and humidity.
- Streamlined Backup Management. Using the NAS device to control the backup and restore processes simplifies management by centralizing backup operations. System administrators no longer have to go to each individual machine to execute backups. Using a web-based interface, the NAS device can be scheduled to backup all servers to tape such that no write conflicts between servers arise.
- Client System Backups. Notebooks are not typically configured for tape backups, and rarely do users consistently back up desktops or notebooks. NAS backup servers provide a means by which to automate the backup process for these client systems.
- Effective Management of Backup Windows. All backups are scheduled and controlled through the NAS server. Data is backed up from NAS disk to tape when network traffic is minimal.
- Disk-to-Disk Backups. Disk-to-disk backups are enabled by backing up client data to the NAS server. Disk-to-disk backups are faster than disk to tape thus reducing the backup window time. When point-in-time software capabilities are used, backups can be accomplished in seconds. For backed up data that must be frequently accessed, disk-to-disk restores are much less time consuming than restores from tape.
NAS Backup Scenarios
In all of these scenarios, backups are done over the network, whether LAN, WAN, VPN or dial up. In each case, backup “engine” software is loaded onto the NAS server to control the backup process, and backup agents are loaded onto the data source hosts to push the data to the backup engine.
In each of the scenarios below, the backup engine software can be either CA BrightStor ARCserve Backup or VERITAS Backup Exec. In contrast, the backup agent software is specific to the source device: desktops, notebooks or servers, for instance, require specific agent software.
NAS for Client Backup
Because of heavy daytime use, backups of desktops and workstations are scheduled for after hours, when user activity is generally light. In contrast, because notebooks are generally taken home in the evening, they must be backed up during the day when they are docked at the worksite. Different client agents are required for these two scenarios. Desktops and Workstations
- The system administrator loads the client agent software (either CA BrightStor ARCserve Backup or VERITAS Backup Exec) onto each desktop computer or workstation.
- The system administrator schedules the NAS device to back up data sources after hours.
- Data is transmitted over the LAN to the NAS device, which schedules pass-through to the tape device (disk to tape) for sequential backups of each desktop and workstation.
- The system administrator loads the mobile backup software (either CA BrightStor Mobile Backup or VERITAS NetBackup Pro) onto each notebook.
- Docked notebooks flag the NAS system.
- NAS initiates the transfer of data across the network to storage on the NAS device (disk-to-disk backup; can be used for fast recovery).
- NAS schedules after-hours backup to tape drive (disk to tape).
NAS for Server Backups
Specialized backup software is required to back up multiple networked servers across different platforms. Both VERITAS Backup Exec and CA BrightStor ARCserve offer remote server agents optimized for backup of multiple servers (in a cross-platform setting) to the NAS backup server. This backup option requires a backup window.
For those businesses that require 24x7 operations, the application and hot agents offered by BrightStor and VERITAS provide open file backup capabilities using point-in-time (snapshot) imaging.
- The system administrator loads the backup software agent on each application server.
- The system administrator schedules backups, which are completed without application downtime.
- Snapshots can be taken off data stored on the NAS server.
- Snapshots can be stored on the NAS device (disk-to-disk backups) to provide fast recovery capabilities.
- Snapshots can be backed up from the NAS device to the tape device for archiving.
NAS for Remote Site Replication and Central Backup
Organizations with geographically dispersed divisions or branches can take advantage of NAS backup and remote site replication technology as a means of providing a centralized disaster recovery solution. At each site, data from production servers is stored on a NAS device. This data can then be synchronously or asynchronously transmitted across the network to a centralized storage and backup NAS server. This NAS server in turn controls backups to the centralized tape device.
Replication software for each remote NAS server can be NSI Double-Take, CA BrightStor High-Availability Manager, or VERITAS Storage Replicator. As before, the tape backup software on the central NAS backup server is either CA BrightStor ARCserv Backup or VERITAS Backup Exec.
- Replication software loads onto each remote site’s NAS server.
- Data from each remote NAS server is transmitted synchronously or asynchronously across network to the NAS central backup server (disk-to-disk).
- The NAS device controls backups to the target tape device (disk to tape).