Highly Reliable Systems: Removable Disk Backup & Recovery

How to Seed Your Initial Cloud Backup

By Tom Hoops

How SpeedSeed works

If you’re an IT professional, you’ve realized that cloud backup is a great way to get data offsite.  But you’ve probably also realized that it can take weeks or months to get large data sets “seeded” to the cloud.  The normal method is to use a USB drive to copy the data onsite, and then ship that (or drive it) to the data center.  We’ve thought a lot about this problem and come up with SpeedSeed™, a method of cutting down on the amount of time this takes.  With that in mind, let’s talk about how to seed your initial cloud backup.

SpeedSeed™ takes advantage of another of our technologies called AMT.  The NetSwap Plus and RAIDFrame Plus appliances can mirror their storage drives (or any removable drive) to any other removable drive automatically and without intervention.  We call this “Automatic Mirror Technology” (AMT) and it provides better protection for most backup software by transparently providing a redundant copy of data.

Seeding the Cloud -The Old Way
Day 1:  NAS is installed on network, the backup job is setup to go to NAS that night.
Day 2:  Technician goes to client, plugs in seed drive, start it copying from NAS
Day 3:  Technician returns to client, unplugs seed drive (which has now finished copying if there are no errors), go back to the office, pack it up, then goes to FedEx or UPS and drop it off.
Day 4: Drive arrives at datacenter.  They plug drive in, Tech has to remote in and start copying.
Day 5: Copying is finished, and Tech can then start the backups replicating over the Internet.

Seeding the Cloud -The SpeedSeed™ Way
Day 1:  NAS is installed on network, backup job is setup to go to NAS that night. Automatic Mirroring Technology (AMT) is turned on so that removable drive gets a duplicate copy.
Day 2:  Technician goes to client, uses SpeedSeed™ function, unplugs removable drive.  No need to copy since it is already in sync. Sends drive offsite.
Day 3:  Removable drive arrives at datacenter.  They plug it into their High-Rely storage device and use SpeedSeed™ function.  This flags the removable as the primary drive in the mirror.  Tech can start replicating changes over the Internet in minutes.  No need to wait for copy.

Not only does this trim 2 days off the time, it saves considerable technician time and effort as well.  On Day3 using the SpeedSeed technique to retain redundancy the NetSwap or RAIDFrame system begins updating the mirror in the background.  This process does not slow down the ability to begin replication immediately.

What about the flip side?  Let’s assume a client’s server is stolen or destroyed (along with their backup drive).  We know it will take way too long to restore from the cloud.  We need them to ship us a physical drive!

Restore from Datacenter – The Old Way
Day 1:  Technician realizes server and local backup have been destroyed.  Calls Data center to get a copy of data.
Day 2: The datacenter gets a USB drive and plugs it in.  Technician starts remotely copying the backups to it.
Day 3: The copying is done, the datacenter packs up the drive, and gives it to FedEx or UPS to ship  back.
Day 4: The drive arrives, probably in the afternoon.  Start restoring the data, which probably wouldn’t finish until…
Day 5: The restore is done and tech can then start up the replacement server.

Restore from Datacenter – The SpeedSeed™ Way
Day 1:  Technician realizes server and local backup have been stolen.  Calls Datacenter to get a copy of data. Since Datacenter uses High-Rely device with AMT, they pull the mirror and ship it.
Day 2: The drive arrives. Plug in and use SpeedSeed function.  Start restoring the data from NAS to the server just a few minutes minutes later.
Day 3: The copying is done, tech can then start up the replacement server.

By the way, restore can be speeded up even more by installing the removable drive into a low cost slimline or one of our other DAS devices and plugging it straight into an eSATA or USB3 port on the server.  DAS connections usually have a slight speed advantage over NAS and a few hours can make a big difference in a server down emergency.  The system can even be designed in such a way that it is up and operating within minutes of installation of the SpeedSeed from the data center in.

Tom Hoops

About Tom Hoops

CTO/VP Engineering, Highly Reliable Systems, Inc. View all posts by Tom Hoops →

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