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Internet Solutions upgrades storage, backup


Internet Solutions has upgraded its storage and backup architecture at its Rosebank, Bryanston and Cape Town sites with the assistance of Dimension Data and Drive Control Corporation (DCC).

This implementation significantly decreases IS' backup windows and restore times and, since IS also offers backup as a solution to its clients, the increased storage capacity has provided the ISP with growth opportunities in the storage requirements.
Says Gys Geyser of IS: "The volume of data IS needs to manage has grown from 24TB to 35TB in the space of eight months and we needed to upgrade our backup platform to cope with this. Our previous solution consisted of LTO-1 tape drives, the throughput of which was no longer acceptable to meet the daily incremental and weekly full backup windows.
"We thus decided to increase our storage capacity and the speed of backups by introducing a tiered disk-to-disk-to-tape backup solution. Retaining critical data on disk for a pre-determined time would also decrease the time taken to restore in the event of data loss."
The solution proposed by Dimension Data included the implementation of EMC Clariion Disk Libraries (CDLs) as well as Overland NEO Series 8000 and 4000 tape libraries (provided by DCC) which would be managed by  IS'  existing Legato Networker backup software.
IS had some exacting requirements. Explains Ronald van Staden of DiData: "The disk solution needed to cater for a weekly full backup to remain on the disk for two weeks and the daily incrementals for one week.
"The solution had to integrate with IS' existing environment, a Legato Networker SAN-based backup. In addition, we had to improve the estimated maximum throughput that IS was experiencing (275GB/hr uncompressed) using its LTO-1 tape drives."
Raul Del Fabbro, Storage Division Manager at DCC, adds: "A site survey was conducted together with DiData and the Overland NEO Series 8000 and 4000 tape libraries were selected. Providing up to 800TB capacity and with a smaller footprint and greater functionality than comparable products, the Overland solutions were ideal for IS' purpose.
"Besides being an EMC Global Value-add System Integrator and EMC Global Velocity Signature Partner, DiData is also an Overland Gold Partner, giving us the assurance that the solution would deliver maximum benefits for the client."
An EMC Clariion Disk Library (CDL), which emulates a tape library and can scale to 174TB RAW capacity and up to 522TB compressed, was added to both the Rosebank and Bryanston environments and configured to provide 30TB and 15TB of usable capacity, respectively. An Overland NEO 8000 tape library was also installed at the Rosebank site, while Bryanston was fitted out with an Overland NEO 4100. At the Cape Town site, an Overland NEO 8000 with 4 LTO-3 tape drives and an EMC CDL with 12TB usable (enough for two weeks' worth of data) capacity was installed.
Van Staden explains: "The CDL looks, and acts, like a tape library to the backup servers and supports aggregate bandwidth of approximately 64 Mbps. Additionally, data is RAID protected within the CDL, which offers a significantly more reliable storage medium than magnetic tape.
"Although the CDL was proposed to enable disk staging, it is in fact a direct replacement for physical tape libraries and complements IS' existing LTO-1 backup infrastructure and new Overland NEO series tape libraries. The CDLs connect to the tape libraries via the SAN and facilitate a tiered storage architecture by automatically moving data from disk to tape for offsite storage. They interpret and execute EMC's Legato Networker backup software's commands for this action.
"Using this architecture we anticipate that IS will achieve up to 95Mbps in a single stream of uncompressed data throughput to the disk, while we estimate that it could get 170MB/s utilising two streams."
Geyser says: "This new solution has allowed us to increase our backup speed four times over. A key challenge was to upgrade the backup systems in a live environment but DiData's planning, technical knowledge and understanding of our business ensured a smooth migration. DiData provided a turnkey solution and their commitment to the task ensured our success."