Data protection has never been more important than it is today. At the same time, the challenges of providing this protection are greater than ever; data stores continue to grow at 50%-60% a year; the requirements to keep data secure are essential; RTO and RPO are ever more granular. Solutions to protect data need to handle terabytes and petabytes of data quickly, efficiently, and securely while also facilitating fast restores from multiple points in time.
To accommodate ever growing (never shrinking) data stores, technologies such as thin-provisioning and deduplication have established themselves as commonplace in the mid-range and enterprise space for both Primary and Nearline storage arrays. Deduplication has played a particularly important role in Nearline arrays that are purpose-built as backup targets. In fact, a backup target has to be even more efficient at consolidating storage footprint as it is utilized to maintain multiple copies of data to satisfy retention requirements.
With so much data being stored electronically, data breeches are now a regular occurrence and are top of mind for nearly every enterprise. Of course, protecting data from being compromised isn’t accomplished by a single solution. Rather, it’s the combination of many layers of security and is included in application design, internal and external network protection, data in-flight and data at rest. Securing protected data adds complexity because this data is often stored in multiple locations. The phrase, “…only as strong as the weakest link” most certainly applies to securing protected data.
While storing data and securing it are essential to any data protection strategy, the real value of protecting data is found in the ability to recover it in the event of loss of the primary copy. In most cases it’s a single file that needs to be recovered. Generally, backup/recovery applications can efficiently and quickly recover a single file, however, restoring entire folders or LUNS can often be more problematic. The challenge of recovering an entire LUN is made even more challenging when you fold in the requirement to recover a volume from a particular point in time.
To solve the problem of recovering an entire LUN, use of Snapshot technology at the array level is often employed. This technology is built into many mid-range and enterprise storage arrays and is an instantaneous, point-in-time copy of a given LUN. Snapshots are used in a number of ways, such as these:
• Secondary copies for Test/Development/QA
• Source volumes from which to accomplish backup
• Recovery sources for lost data
While the latter is a good use for Snapshot technology, it isn’t without its own risk. If the entire array were to fail, or the primary LUN from which the snapshot was taken becomes corrupted, then the Snapshot cannot be used as a recovery source. But what if you could protect the Snapshot as you do other data? Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has a good answer to that question.
As part of HPE’s extensive portfolio of storage solutions, they have recently added an integrated solution using their 3PAR StoreServ arrays and their StoreOnce Backup solutions that provides a reliable way of protecting Snapshots from array failure or LUN corruption. The process involves backing up Snapshots created on the 3PAR StoreServ array directly to the StoreOnce Backup appliance without the use of a third-party backup application. This process is referred to as a Flat Backup.
With 3PAR StoreServ Virtual Copy, you can schedule point-in-time copies of volumes and maintain 100’s of these copies if desired. The StoreOnce Backup appliance is a purpose built backup target and provides both deduplication and encryption of data, allowing for petabytes of data to be stored securely in a relatively small footprint. Together, these solutions integrate with major database applications and hypervisors to provide a quick method for backing up entire LUNS and maintaining multiple points in time apart from the primary array.
To find out more about how this solution works and about how 3PAR StoreServ and the StoreOnce Backup appliance solutions store and protect terabytes and petabytes of data efficiently and securely, while also facilitating fast restores from multiple points in time, you can visit the following sites: