DIY Recovery

Disk-based storage can cut backup headaches and lets users recover data from active archives.

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Argix now uses EMC's RepliStor software to replicate the data from the sorting centers to the production data-base on Fibre Channel drives on an EMC Clariion CX300 storage system at headquarters. From there, the data is backed up daily to ATA drives on the Clariion and then onto tape for long-term storage. The replication cuts the time and bandwidth needed to move the data to headquarters, and storing data on the Clariion ATA drives lets the IT staff restore critical backed-up data instantly, compared with the hours it took to restore from tape, says Argix CIO Nino Silvano.

Argix has achieved similar results with its Microsoft Exchange environment, archiving any e-mail more than 30 days old onto the Clariion's ATA drives and eventually to tape. Compared with the old process of backing up immediately to tape, this has reduced backup times by 80% and allows "you to access the archived e-mail as if it were still in your mailbox," says Silvano. It also reduces the amount of primary storage required for the production Exchange environment.

Curtis Damhof, network manager at St. Peter's Healthcare Services in Albany, N.Y., is using Axion backup and recovery appliances from Avamar Technologies Inc. to replace backups to tape. The appliances cut his backup window for about 3TB of data from hours to five to 10 minutes, and they let him restore e-mail messages "within an hour," he says. "We couldn't do anything even close to that with tape."

At Cincinnati Thermal Spray Inc., MIS manager Steve Wilson is moving to Symantec Backup Exec 10d to replace the sometimes unreliable tape backups that had been done at the company's four regional locations. He says he likes the fact that Backup Exec 10d can capture changes to applications in near real time. This provides extra protection for about 1TB of data, which includes the highly technical paper trail documenting exactly how the company has applied anticorrosion or wear-resistant coatings to aircraft parts.

As the only storage professional in the 200-person company, Wilson also appreciates that Backup Exec 10d gives "users access to their own files and allows them to create their own restore jobs, and even to see the different versions of those files they can restore from." When he finishes the rollout of Backup Exec 10d, Wilson hopes to eliminate tape backups at the remote offices and back up all the data from them to a 2TB storage server at headquarters. Like other customers, he isn't eliminating tape but is creating a weekly backup to tape from the disk-based archive for long-term storage off-site. Technology Options

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