Summary: NAS as a second backup option

From: <>
Date: Wed Mar 27 2002 - 12:55:35 EST
I want to thank Tim Chapman, Michael DeSimone, and Joe 
Serra for their responses.  All mentioned that 
something like a NetApp server would be ideal, but 
since this project is on a tight budget I have to use 
something like a snap server.  The cost is anywhere 
from $1000 to $4000 depending on the disk space.  
Michael and Tim mentioned that this should work.

Here are their response:

Michael DeSimone:
I have done this before and like it as a solution. It 
is much more reliable
and faster if you need to restore. I would be very 
careful with the Quantum
product, last I checked they only support up to NFS 
version2, you want NFS
version3 to handle large files etc. I personally use 
NetApp but they cost a
lot more (5-10x) then the Quantum product or Quantum 
like products.

Tim Chapman:
>From what I read up about quantum Snap while trying to 
find inexpensive
storage solutions,

-> Snap is really targetted at windows-clients, NFS is 
functional but
not "super great". For minimal ##'s of actual "users" 
(ie, a cron
account on each client box or something thus) it 
shouldn't be a big
deal, as would be the case for you in a backup type 

-> If you want cheap storage which integrates easily 
into a solaris
environment, external raid bricks with IDE drives are 
really the best
way to go. Clearly not optimal for a production Oracle 
Server to keep
its data on but for backups, fileserver, etc it is 
perfectly OK I
think. There are tons of vendors that sell these 
things, typically you
get a 3-U rackmount form factor box that holds 8,10, 
or 12 drives
(depending on the vendor). The drives are built into a 
Raid5 array (or
raid 0+1 .. but again raid 5 is preferable for 
optimizing storage volume
with some redundancy and then presented as a single 
SCSI volume to the
host computer via (typically) Ultra-160 LVD scsi.

Some examples of gear that you can get like this,

-Promise ( Ultratrak 8 - 8 drive bays -
 retail for empty
box is ~ $2200 USD plus however much for 8 IDE drives. 
Cost per gig is
roughly $6 USD if you get 120 gig IDE drives or 
cheaper if you use
bigger disks (160 gig is biggest single IDE volume 
right now I think?)

-AC&NC sell "jetStor III" units, their IDE model would 
run ~ $5500
USD for an 8 x 120 gig unit which is approx $6.55 USD 
per gig of storage
in Raid5

-there really are a ton of vendors selling boxes like 
this, for a "full
" listing check:

The huge benefit from using this kind of direct-
attached storage to a
Unix box (over a NAS / Snap server type device ...),

-> simple management: Users groups etc all managed 
inside solaris
-> even can be attached to your tape backup host if 
you want to
subsequently archive onto tape without eating network 
-> cost per gig storage is typically as good as (or 
even better) than
the cheapest brand-X NAS boxes.


be warned that Snap Servers are, AFAIK, running some 
internally and have software raid on X86 against 
intenal IDE disks. ie,
this is *NOT* based on a "true hardware raid 
controller" ASIC (i960 for
instance is a very common raid controller used in some 
external raid
bricks) .. so maybe is considered by some to be a bit 
of a kludge.
However, inherently there is no reason this can't 
work, and I'm a big
believer in Linux so have no doubts it can work just 
fine ..

Anyhow. Much blather. All this to say,

-> NAS devices should work OK but may have a bit more 
overhead / possible "points of failure" than cheapo-
direct-attached storage raid bricks.

Here was my question:
> I have been asked to look into 2nd method of backing
> up our computer telecommunications hosts. The
> computer telecommunications device has a Sun Sparc to
> control the system. The first method of backup that
> we use is a local tape drive and use the cpio command
> to copy data from the HD's to the tape cartridge. We
> seem to have problems with tape backups failing from
> time to time and since these are at remote locations,
> we need to need to have another method that can hold
> us over.
> Since there will be more than one device per site and
> each system can have about 8 GB of data to be 
> (each site will be different with 24 GB being the
> smallest and 300GB being the biggest), I am looking 
> a NAS device such as the Quantum Snap 4100 NAS to be
> used as disk backup unit. I am looking into something
> like this unit because of pricing. It looks like this
> device can be mounted via nfs and I could possibly
> write a script to move data from the computer
> telecommunications device to the NAS.
> Since I have never used a NAS device before, I am
> hoping someone out there has done something like this
> and can give me some pros and cons, such as what NAS
> device they used and their experience. If some of you
> have used a consultant to get this accomplished 
> let me know so that I can make some recommendations.
> I will summarize
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Received on Wed Mar 27 11:57:30 2002

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