Case Study: Modernizing Disaster Recovery for a College with IBM Spectrum Protect and Dell EMC Data Domain
A college with 350 academic programs serving about 6,000 students faced data loss due to double-disk failure on a disk-storage appliance used for their IBM Spectrum Protect backup server.
The client was procuring a new tapeless data-protection solution but had concerns about the duration of recovery from off-site tape copies.
SMARTS helped restore the server database and recover the primary storage pools, which contained data with mandatory retention requirements, using an off-site tape recall and disk storage allocation.
- The client’s double-disk failure caused data loss and concerns about the recoverability and duration of their aged legacy backup solution from off-site tape copies.
- The client required tape recall from an off-site tape vault, allocation of disk storage to restore data from tape, and replacement of the failed disk-storage appliance.
- SMARTS helped restore the server database and recover the primary storage pools in one week, recalling 50 LTO-4 tapes from an off-site tape vault and allocating disk storage to the Spectrum Protect server.
- SMARTS designed and implemented a new tapeless data-protection solution based on an IBM POWER9 processor-based Power Systems server and a Dell EMC Data Domain to replace their legacy tape library.
- The new solution leverages container pools, cloud container pools, and file-device pools, maximizes disk storage with inline data deduplication and LZ4 compression, eliminates tape media management and processes, and integrates replication with Data Domain or Spectrum Protect.
- IBM Spectrum Protect backup server
- LTO-4 tape media
- Disk-storage appliance
- IBM POWER9 processor-based Power Systems server
- Dell EMC Data Domain
- Container pools, cloud container pools, and file-device pools
- Inline data deduplication and LZ4 compression
- Replication with Data Domain or Spectrum Protect
A college with 350 academic programs serving about 6,000 students.
The client experienced a simultaneous double-disk failure on a disk-storage appliance, which was used for the database and primary storage pools of their IBM Spectrum® Protect backup server.
The drive failures caused the client’s server application to crash, corrupted their database, and caused complete data loss of their storage pools. Coincidentally, the client was in the process of procuring a new tapeless data-protection solution at the time of the failure.
They had concerns about whether their aged legacy backup solution was recoverable from off-site tape copies, as well as the duration of the recovery process. What’s more, the storage pools affected in Spectrum Protect contained data with mandatory retention requirements.
After restoring the server database from the most recent full database backup on LTO-4 tape media, SMARTS brought the client’s server application back online. The next challenge SMARTS faced was recovering the primary storage pools.
The reality sank in that the client would require a tape recall from their off-site tape vault in order to recover the data. At a minimum, they would also need enough disk storage to restore the data from tape back into the respective Spectrum Protect disk pools. In total, 50 LTO-4 tapes were recalled and required for recovery.
After another disk storage appliance was identified as a replacement for the failed unit, the disk storage was allocated to the Spectrum Protect server and formatted as file systems on the operating system. The recovery took only one week, despite tape library gripper calibration issues due to earthquakes and tape media corruption.
50 LTO-4 tape volumes successfully recalled
18TB of data restored (99.99%)
Recovery in one week
SMARTS utilized a variety of advanced technologies to overcome the challenges presented by the client’s data loss incident. These included:
- IBM Spectrum Protect: Spectrum Protect is a leading enterprise backup and recovery software solution designed to help protect data from potential threats such as system failures, human errors, or malicious attacks.
- LTO-4 tape media: Linear Tape-Open (LTO) is a magnetic tape storage technology used to store large amounts of data. LTO-4 is the fourth generation of the LTO technology, with a storage capacity of up to 1.6 terabytes per cartridge.
- IBM POWER9 processor-based Power Systems server: POWER9 is the latest iteration of IBM’s Power Systems server family, featuring advanced processing power and scalability to support the most demanding workloads.
- Dell EMC Data Domain: Data Domain is a disk-based backup and recovery solution designed to provide fast, efficient, and reliable data protection for organizations of all sizes.
- Tapeless data-protection solution: This refers to a data-protection approach that does not rely on traditional tape-based backup systems, instead using disk-based solutions that offer faster backup and recovery times.
- Asynchronous replication: This is a data-replication method that allows data to be copied to a remote location without the need for synchronous communication between the source and target systems. This approach can improve performance and reduce the risk of data loss.
- Container pools: Container pools are a type of storage pool used in IBM Spectrum Protect to store backup data. They provide greater flexibility and efficiency than traditional tape-based storage solutions.
- Cloud container pools: Cloud container pools are a type of container pool that allows organizations to store backup data in the cloud, providing greater scalability and cost-effectiveness.
- File-device pools: File-device pools are a type of storage pool used in IBM Spectrum Protect to store backup data. They provide high-performance, disk-based storage that is optimized for file-level data protection.
Infrastructure as Code
After restoring the server database from the most recent full database backup on LTO-4 tape media, SMARTS brought the client’s server application back online.
The next challenge was to recover the primary storage pools. With the reality sinking in that the client would require a tape recall from their off-site tape vault in order to recover the data, SMARTS utilized their expertise in disaster recovery to devise a tapeless data protection solution based on IBM POWER9 processor-based Power Systems servers and Dell EMC Data Domain.
Leveraging container pools, cloud container pools, and file-device pools where appropriate, the new solution provides a much more efficient and high-performing alternative to tape storage solutions. The management of tape media, such as check-ins and check-outs, and tape media processes such as mounts, dismounts, migrations, backup of storage pools, and more, are eliminated. Instead, the disk-only solution leverages asynchronous replication, allowing for recovery in minutes to hours, with no need for data handling or retrieval. Data is online and available for access at the DR site as soon as the replication context is synchronized.
Additionally, the solution maximizes disk storage with inline data deduplication and LZ4 compression, resulting in a more cost-effective and space-efficient storage solution. The integration of replication with Data Domain or Spectrum Protect, depending on whether the storage pool is a container pool or file-device pool, further enhances the solution’s reliability and redundancy.
Overall, SMARTS’ tapeless data protection solution offers significant benefits over legacy tape storage solutions, such as faster recovery times, higher efficiency, lower costs, and increased reliability. By leveraging the latest technologies and their expertise in disaster recovery, SMARTS was able to address the client’s challenges and provide a solution that met their needs and exceeded their expectations.