How to set up "media library" using portable NAS devices instead of tapes?

Last post 01-24-2013, 4:57 PM by PhilippeMorin. 7 replies.
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  • How to set up "media library" using portable NAS devices instead of tapes?
    Posted: 01-17-2013, 3:04 PM

    Hi

    I'm running v9 and would like to set up an offsite rotation using small portable NAS devices (in my case, Buffalo LinkStations) rather than using a tape library.  I've been successful running an aux copy to my NAS, set up as a shared disk device defined as it's own library.  What I would like to have are 5 NAS devices on a weekly rotation, where one is onsite collecting a week's backups, with 4 weeks of backups offsite.  

    Is there a way to do this?

    Thanks,

    TA

  • Re: How to set up "media library" using portable NAS devices instead of tapes?
    Posted: 01-17-2013, 6:06 PM

    Hello and welcome to the forums!

    Could you give us a bit more details about what you want to do?

    At first glance, I'd say you'd have one disk that stays on site permanently and then 4 drives that do a rotation. Would you want to have only the lastest full backups on each of those offsite drives? Or would you like all the incrementals as well. What kind of retention are you looking for? I'm assuming you have the licenses to use dedup on all those drives? How much data are we talking about total? What about the size of your daily incrementals?

    Also, if you're looking into sending drives manually offiste, I suppose you don't have any kind of network link to an offsite location? Depending on the size of your fulls and incrementals, you could be surprised at how small of a link you need to do offsite copies over the network.

    Give me some more details and we can start figuring out something.

    Phil

  • Re: How to set up "media library" using portable NAS devices instead of tapes?
    Posted: 01-17-2013, 6:38 PM

    Thanks for the quick response.  Here is what we're trying to do:

    I have a weekly full and daily incrementals running as a disk-to-disk primary backup to a 12TB FreeNAS for onsite retention.  Policy dictates that I have a 5 week offsite rotation, so assuming I was using tapes, I would have enough tapes in my media library to keep 4 weeks of full backups offsite and enough tapes onsite for the current week's full plus incrementals, rotating offsite at the end of the week.  

    Our long term plan is to do exactly as you recommend -- send the aux copy over a network link to one of our parent company's data centers.  It's looking like it could be several months before we can start implementing that plan though, so I need a way to meet the offsite policy requirement without investing in an expensive tape library that we won't have any use for in 6 months.

    So, to get us by we thought we could purchase some inexpensive external drives for the aux copy rotation, that could then be used for other purposes after the network solution is implemented.  Since our weekly full is running at around 3.5TB, we couldn't just use regular USB-connected drives, so we bought a 6TB Buffalo LinkStation Duo NAS and I set it up as a shared disk device and assigned it to a library.  And that's all working great.

    What I don't know how to do is to now add 4 more of these and configure them so I can have the aux copies automatically writing to whichever drive is onsite for that week's backups, and then be able to restore from the appropriate NAS device when needed.

    Hopefully that helps clarify my request.  Let me know if you need more information.

    Thanks,

    TA

  • Re: How to set up "media library" using portable NAS devices instead of tapes?
    Posted: 01-17-2013, 7:31 PM

    Have you looked at PNP disk libraries?

    http://documentation.commvault.com/commvault/release_9_0_0/books_online_1/english_us/features/pnp_disks/pnp_disks.htm

    I have never used those and haven't read much on it but it looks like it might do what you want.

    Regular disk libraries were not really made for storage that you'd unplug every few weeks and rotate. Although I could think of ways to configure them so that it works, I don't think it would be ideal.

    I'll read a bit more about PNP libraries tomorrow. I'd suggest you do the same and see if it seems to fix your needs. If it doesn't, I should be able to come up with some kind of funky architecture to make regular disk libraries work as you intend to.

    A bit late right now for me to think straight so I'll leave it be and get back to you tomorrow!

    Good night!

    Phil

     

  • Re: How to set up "media library" using portable NAS devices instead of tapes?
    Posted: 01-24-2013, 10:45 AM

    Phil,

    Thanks for your suggestion.  I've done some testing using PnP libraries, and it looks like this will work as long as I use external drives that are seen as devices by the operating system.  I'm still not sure if there's a way to do this with network attached devices, but I can change my strategy to fit the Commvault capabilities if I have to.

    If you have any other ideas I'd be interested in hearing them.  If not, then I appreciate your time and help!

    Thanks,

    TA

  • Re: How to set up "media library" using portable NAS devices instead of tapes?
    Posted: 01-24-2013, 3:43 PM

    One way you could do it with non PNP drives would be to have the following setup:

    1) Create 1 library per disk array. Each library will have its own DDB (I'd go with global DDBs) all managed by your media agent (it usually isn't recommended to have more than 1 DDB per MA but this should work just fine as they'll never be used at the same time).

    2) Setup a storage policy and have the primary copy pointing to the disk array that will always stay on site.

    3) Create 5 new selective copies of your primary copy and assign them 1 per disk array. For each selective copy, select the montly full option. For the 1st copy, tell it that the month starts on the 1st, 2nd copy on the 8th, 3rd copy on the 15th, 4th copy on the 22nd and 5th copy on the 29th.

    Now, what that will do is that the first Friday of the month, it'll try to aux copy the fulls to the 1st array, 2nd week to the 2nd array etc. The end result will be that you will have 1 on site copy and 4-5 offsite copies each having their assigned week's full backup. You might not always get to your 5th copy depending if you have a Friday between the 29th and the end of the month. Also, if you happen to mix up your arrays and don't put the right away online during the right week, the aux copy will fail as it will want a specific disk array, not any.

    As for the retention on those copies, you could set it to 30 days, 1 cycle. This means that as soon as the new fulls are copied to it and a data aging is run WHILE the array is still connected to the network, it will purge the old copy. Set it to 2 cycles to keep 2 months per array if you want to play it safe since you might not always have your 5th copy.

    This isn't perfect but I think it would work around the limitations of using a regular disk library and trying to achieve what you're trying to do. I'll keep trying to think about a better way to do it but so far, that's the only one that comes to mind.

    Hope this helps!

    Phil

     

  • Re: How to set up "media library" using portable NAS devices instead of tapes?
    Posted: 01-24-2013, 4:51 PM

    Aha!  That is just the kind of solution that I'm looking for.  Thanks so much!

     

    TA

  • Re: How to set up "media library" using portable NAS devices instead of tapes?
    Posted: 01-24-2013, 4:57 PM

    Excellent! If you can think about posting back once you've tested this, I'd be interested to know the outcome and if you had any tweakings to do to make it work better. Smile

    Phil

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