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eSATA: BackupExec fast, Windows Backup Way Too Slow

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March 13, 2007 5:36:51 PM

I recently upgraded from firewire to eSATA on a Windows 2000 server that backs up approximately half a terrabyte of data a day.

Using BackupExec, the time, predictably, is blazingly faster than firewire for completing this backup. When Windows Backup Utility is used to perform the same task, the time more than quadruples to barely faster than the firewire solution (14 hours versus 15 hours for firewire). BackupExec completes the backup in 4 hours.

BackupExec completes its backup in one single file, where as Windows makes about 450 1GB files when backing up. My immediate thoughts are that the extra retrieval time across the pci bus to create and retieve these files is the culprit, but that seems at worst a software issue and not alone enough to account for all the extra time.

Were this my personal computer, I would simply use BackupExec and be happy... however, this is a financial institution machine and the idea behind using Windows Backup is speed in rebuilding a network following a disaster... it's faster to use windows to retrieve a back up than to first have to find and install BackupExec before restoring.

Has anyone encountered this, or know the reason, or--hopefully--a solution?

Thanks for any help you can give in advance.

EDIT: MEDIA IS AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE
March 13, 2007 6:05:13 PM

I avoid windows back-up like it's the plague.

What are you making the back-up to? Tape, Disk, Other? I use Symantec Back-up Exec and I find it to have good speed.
March 13, 2007 6:34:30 PM

Backing up to an external hard drive.

And like I said, I'd use BackupExec, except that every second counts in a disaster recovery, and the bank needs to be back online, which is why I'd prefer a native backup ulitity to windows 2k to a program that has to be installed before I can restore images.
a c 155 G Storage
March 13, 2007 6:44:08 PM

How is that backup software(symantec) for only replacing only changed files?

Seems like a waste to backup un modded files(files that are already on the drive anyway and have not been edited on the original drive)
March 13, 2007 6:48:59 PM

See if compression is turned on in NTBackup. That uses CPU power to compress the data, which can slow backups to a crawl. I learned this on NetBackup: rely on the hardware, not the CPU, to do the compression. If the hardware won't do it, don't compress at all, if you want speed.
March 13, 2007 6:50:06 PM

Quote:
I avoid windows back-up like it's the plague.


Well, it's certainly not the best backup software, but it gets the job done. I use NetBackup, but in this case, NTBackup obviously fulfills his requirements.
March 13, 2007 7:02:46 PM

If all you're trying to do is "backup" certain files or just data files, then either program is fine. If speed is the major concern then use the appropriate product.

But, you said the major concern is to "RESTORE" the system. If that's really the case, you should consider using drive imaging software rather than backup software. Backup restores files, an image restores the entire contents of the drive. This includes system or hidden files, the OS, programs, and etc. My personal favorite is Acronis True Image, but others prefer Norton Ghost. I will never use "backup" software again on my personal computer, but maybe your "business" situation is different.

Jim L
March 13, 2007 7:52:25 PM

Quote:
But, you said the major concern is to "RESTORE" the system. If that's really the case, you should consider using drive imaging software rather than backup software.


That is the worst recommendation ever for business purposes.

Quote:
Backup restores files, an image restores the entire contents of the drive. This includes system or hidden files, the OS, programs, and etc.


Backup software can restore the entire contents of the drive as well, even Bare Metal Restores. I've done this on many occasions through NetBackup and NTBackup. Also, tape is much cheaper than disk, and it can be shipped offsite for DR purposes.

Quote:
My personal favorite is Acronis True Image, but others prefer Norton Ghost. I will never use "backup" software again on my personal computer, but maybe your "business" situation is different.

Jim L


I even backup my home PC using NTBackup. It's simple and does the job entirely well for my home PC purposes. As for enterprise level, I use NetBackup entirely for filesystem backups. I do use Symantec Livestate for online imaging for DR purposes, as I can bring a system back more quickly if a disaster occurs, but then i can still use my tapes to "roll the system forward" using the incremental tape backups if needed.
March 13, 2007 7:56:56 PM

Use the Symantec Backup Exec Intelligent Disaster Recovery option for your Backup Exec software. It is designed to automate the recovery process by making a bootable recovery CD for each server.

Normally, to recover a server from disaster, you have to install Windows Server, install Backup Exec, inventory the backup media and prepare catalogs, then do the restore.

With IDR, you boot the recovery CD, which installs Windows, Backup Exec, and all drivers. After it's finished, you run the Disaster Recovery Wizard, which restores the previous system state from the backup media.
March 13, 2007 8:46:40 PM

belvdr,

You really ought to learn to read before you characterise someone's response as "worst ever". Notice that the OP was asking for alternatives, and that I did use the word(s) CONSIDER, and BUT MAYBE your business situation is different. You then close your response by saying you use Symantec Live State under certain circumstances. You may also be interested in the fact that Symantec sells a version of Ghost as an Enterprise solution.

As far as THE WORST recommendations are concerned, you mentioned tape. Are you seriously purposing tape as an alternative? In this day and age, tape is horrible. Analog methods are far less reliable, and certainly slower than digital methods. It is also not a "cheap" solution. The hardware is expensive and the media needs to be replaced relatively often. Given media life and reliability, it is unsuitable for long term storage, and IMHO for important data.

I'll admit that imaging software may be unnessary, depending on his situation. But it would certainly do the job, and MAY be a better solution. Again depending on his situation.

Jim L
March 13, 2007 9:11:16 PM

Quote:
belvdr,

You really ought to learn to read before you characterise someone's response as "worst ever". Notice that the OP was asking for alternatives, and that I did use the word(s) CONSIDER, and BUT MAYBE your business situation is different.


I did read, and re-read, but I see no mention of the word "alternative" anywhere but in your post, and now mine.

Quote:
You then close your response by saying you use Symantec Live State under certain circumstances. You may also be interested in the fact that Symantec sells a version of Ghost as an Enterprise solution.


True, but they are not my sole backup solution. You can't simply ship off 8TB of disk easily and cheaply each week. I'm not sure why you're bringing up Ghost. I use LiveState just in case of DR, as a second backup. Plus, the software will allow us to convert a physical image to a virtual image without much interaction.

Quote:
As far as THE WORST recommendations are concerned, you mentioned tape. Are you seriously purposing tape as an alternative? In this day and age, tape is horrible. Analog methods are far less reliable, and certainly slower than digital methods. It is also not a "cheap" solution. The hardware is expensive and the media needs to be replaced relatively often. Given media life and reliability, it is unsuitable for long term storage, and IMHO for important data.


Sure, why not? Tape is not unreliable nor is the "analog method". I haven't had a tape error in a two years now. And, as I said before, it's very easy to ship and store off-site in case of a disaster. With two LTO-3 drives, you can put around 160 MB/sec onto tape ideally; 130MB/sec is not unheard of. What will you do when the room burns down and destroys the local disk that is holding the only backup of your data?

As for cheap, that is a relative term and that's based on how much you can spend. For about $30k, you can get a tape silo with 2 LTO-3 drives connected via fiber which can backup 40TB without swapping a single tape, and 150 tapes.

Regarding reliability and replacement, we replace tapes around every 2 years, depending on how many cycles they have through the silos. That cost drops as new tape formats are introduced. We purchased 200 LTO-2 tapes for $6k (80 TB worth) about 3 months ago.

As for long term storage, I don't see why that would be an issue as I've recovered data from 5 years ago already without issue. It's a matter of being cautious of what tapes and manufacturers you use, and how you store the tapes. Speaking of cautious, we put important data onto two different backup sets.

Quote:
I'll admit that imaging software may be unnessary, depending on his situation. But it would certainly do the job, and MAY be a better solution. Again depending on his situation.

Jim L


No argument there.
March 13, 2007 9:12:46 PM

Quote:
As far as THE WORST recommendations are concerned, you mentioned tape. Are you seriously purposing tape as an alternative? In this day and age, tape is horrible. Analog methods are far less reliable, and certainly slower than digital methods. It is also not a "cheap" solution. The hardware is expensive and the media needs to be replaced relatively often. Given media life and reliability, it is unsuitable for long term storage, and IMHO for important data.


In the consumer market, tape is not a good choice given the price/GB on hard drives.

In the enterprise market, tape is the backup medium of choice. The myths you refer to in your post have long been superceded.

First, tape hasn't been analog for a very long time. All enterprise tape formats in use these days (DAT, DLT/SDLT, LTO) are written in a full digital format.

Tape drive/loader hardware is expensive, but tape itself it very cheap. SDLT-S4 tape is $84 for 800GB native. A 750GB Seagate is $285. So you're looking at cost/GB for the tape of only 27% compared to disk.

As far as media replacement, linearly-written tape (which includes DLT, SDLT, and LTO, but not DAT, AIT, or EX-8 ) is extremely tough. I've seen DLT tapes that had been submerged in rain water still be readable after being dried out and cleaned up (try that with a hard drive). I have SDLT tapes sitting on my shelf that are 8 years old and still readable.

As far as speed, modern tape will drop your jaw. SDLT-S4 writes at 60 MB/sec native. 8O It's likely that the hard drive on the system you're backing up or the network itself is actually your bottleneck, not the tape.

Disk backup is great for small backup sets (i.e. a few hundred GB) and retaining only the most recent copy. But in the enterprise, where you need to retain several backups from different days/weeks/months, and need to back up TB of data instead of GB, tape rules all.
March 13, 2007 9:27:25 PM

Quote:
First, tape hasn't been analog for a very long time. All enterprise tape formats in use these days (DAT, DLT/SDLT, LTO) are written in a full digital format.


:D  I wasn't going to go too deep there, but that's the reason behind my quotes around analog format above.

Quote:
SDLT-S4 tape is $84 for 800GB native. A 750GB Seagate is $285.


I've been looking at SDLT recently, but never looked at the cost of media. Our LTO-3 media is about $60/tape. Are there benefits SDLT offers over LTO-3 (asking from an experience perspective here)?

We just finished migrating from DLT to LTO entirely and been loving it ever since.
March 13, 2007 9:49:39 PM

just use syncback, google it, it's tiny, free, simple to use, powerful, and backs up just the changed files.
March 13, 2007 9:54:20 PM

Quote:
just use syncback, google it, it's tiny, free, simple to use, powerful, and backs up just the changed files.


Only SyncBackSE does incrementals. Not sure I'd trust it without testing, but not bad for $30. Good find! :D 
March 13, 2007 10:12:09 PM

Originally LTO had a distinct advantage over DLT and even SDLT-I in terms of capacity and speed.

But I've always been a DLT guy. I had an old DLT-I drive, a DLT8000, currently a SDLT320, and soon probably a new SDLT-S4.

The SDLT mechanisms are simpler than the LTO mechanisms, the tape transport is very gentle to the tape (only touches the tape in 4 spots, not including the head), is self-cleaning, and is backward compatible with many older generations of DLT tape. Quantum's DLT/SDLT mechanisms have also been field-proven through many more years of operation than LTO.

And, just recently, SDLT-S4 has again re-taken the lead in capacity and speed over LTO-3.

Anyway, when it all boils down to gravy, either technology works very well. When the disaster strikes, as long as something can read the tape you're OK.
March 13, 2007 11:29:37 PM

We retired 16 DLT8000's recently, and moved to 8 LTO-2 drives. Actually we were running them in parallel to make sure we had no issues, then retired the DLT's. The DLT's still worked fine, but moving to fiber channel drives allows us to move between systems effortlessly, if needed in a disaster. It's much easier to buy a FC card than it is to find a compatible SCSI card (LVD, HVD, SE, blah!).

At first, I thought the DLT S4's were 800GB compressed, but that's native, wow! Had I known that, I may have gone to those, but hey, I haven't even moved to LTO-3... yet. A new one will be purchased this year.
March 14, 2007 3:47:20 PM

Hey, flyboyky, did turning off compression help any or are you still having issues?
March 16, 2007 3:28:18 PM

Hey guys, thanks so much for all the great ideas, I've been consumed with preparing to move our operations center into a new building this week and I haven't had a chance to try out some of these solutions.

In the meantime I've been using BackupExec which accomplishes the task within 6 hours on all but our busiest days (this server backs up images of all documents the bank processes through our sorters, sometimes several hundred thousand).

The data hasn't been compressed, belvdr, to answer your question.

And to further specify our situation, we arent going to be switching back to tapes on this particular machine, we use 10 eSATA's in a rolling history backup of all the files and store in off-site vaults.

I'm also entertaining the idea of creating 2 system images of this machine containing BackupExec in a ready to use configuration to eliminate the "find it before you restore it" problem we "could" experience in a disaster recovery situation because of the simple fact that it does seem to perform so much more readily than wbu.

Thanks again for all the ideas, friends, it's very appreciated. =D
March 16, 2007 3:43:23 PM

no it's not, the free one does incramental backups all day long, been doing it for years, it's exactly what he needs. I dunno why he's still struggling about it.
March 16, 2007 3:52:12 PM

The 'powers that be' demand full backups, not incrementals, that part is out of my hands.
March 21, 2007 2:21:56 PM

As a side note/question..

Anyone in here using BackupExec or NTbackup to backup datafiles harddisk to harddisk?

I am going from Sata II to Sata II .. My write rates are 39MB/sec in a benchmark I did, but I'm getting really slow writes in the backup programs.. with or without compression.

IE: It takes 6 hours to backup 155gb, or about 15 hours for 300 gb of data.

This translates into about 20-29 GB/hour max.. or 450 MB/min or 7.33 MB/sec max throughput..

This is quite terrible.. I would think it should be much faster, otherwise why have HD's that can write as fast as they do?

I've seen other people say that with LTO3..rated at 80 MB/sec native, they were getting decent results, though not optimal at about 21 MB/sec, that is still much faster than I'm getting with Harddrives..

Can anyone confirm or comment?

(this isnt esata, but internal drives).

Thanks
!