Boosting Storage Backup Speed on Virtual Servers

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Feb 18, 2010


Due largely to the popularity of virtualization, backups aren't what they used to be. The amount of data to contend with has mushroomed and the technologies available to meet storage needs are increasingly complex. Enterprise IT Planet looks at one engineering firm's travails and how it resolved them.


With virtual servers on almost every enterprise's road map, backup-related issues are increasingly on the radar.

Backups used to be simple. Attach a disk array to a tape drive and away you went. Then the volume of data mushroomed, and things got a little bit more complicated. Now, with so many virtualized systems to deal with, backups can be problematic.

At professional engineering firm Wade Trim, for example, the move to a virtualized environment resulted in severe backup slows. According to Scott Landrum, senior network administrator at the company, the backup window at one of its data centers stretched from 14 hours prior to virtualization to three full days.

"Backup throughput dropped from 2,000 Mb/minute to 400 Mb/min," said Landrum of Wade Trim, a 350 employee firm headquartered in Detroit with a total of 21 offices in 8 states. As well as engineering, it provides planning, landscape architecture, operations, surveying and environmental science services.

Wade Trim was backing up 14 TB of Windows data throughout the enterprise. In addition to the office's files, the company had to backup lots of large CAD, GIS and image files. Two-thirds of the data sat on 25 Windows servers and an EMC Clariion cx3-based SAN at the head office. The company had three trays of CX-3 disks served by two SAN switches. At this location, everything was backed up onto a Dell PowerVault TL4000 tape library. As local branches generally had only one or two Windows servers, data was being backed up onto much smaller Dell PowerVault tape libraries.

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