Highly Reliable Systems: Removable Disk Backup & Recovery


Removable Drive Support for Imaging: Symantec, Acronis, ShadowProtect, Appasure etc.

By Darren McBride

How does Automatic Mirroring Technology (AMT) help you to provide removable drive support for imaging software?  What if you need to create extra local data copies, and still support continuous incremental images (including consolidating or collapsing those incremental chains by rolling them into a single file… aka synthetic backup) to a removable drive? AMT (and the older version called DXR) address this.  Let’s take an example:

Here is the 2 Bay AMT premier shoebox size direct attached storage unit (also available in rackmount).

USB 3.0 and eSATA mirroring backup

2 Bay Premier with Automatic Mirroring Technology

This is how it would work:  Plug a 2 bay unit like this (or 2 Bay RAIDFrame or FirstRAID AMT for more capacity) into an eSATA or USB3 port on the server.  Turn the internal mirroring on (we call it AMT for Automatic Mirroring Technology).  Now, the server will only see one drive (not two). Setup your image software to backup to the high-rely removable drive with it’s incremental and collapsing chain magic.  Since the external drive will never go away (you always leave the the main drive in place), the job can continue to run each night.  No struggles trying to get drives to re-appear after a swap.

The user swaps top drive every night.  Appasure, Symantec System Recovery, or ShadowProtect (whatever software) has no clue the drive has been swapped because it always sees a drive online (just like as if it were a NAS).  When the user puts in a new drive the AMT board starts a re-mirror.  It takes about 6-10 hours to mirror depending on whether you use 2TB or 3TB drive sets (Need more storage? The 2 Bay RAIDFrame AMT can backup and mirror up to 9TB).  An LED tells the user when the mirror is sync’d.  The mirrored drive can then be used for physical off-site transport.   Voila.

A low cost Slimline can be used to restore older archived trays without disturbing mirror setup.

Consider an extra $225 slimline removable drive system to simplify restores (You wouldn’t want to stuff a 6 month old drive with archival data into the bottom slot and accidentally over-write it when the mirror kicked in).  Not strictly necessary to use a separate device if you can remember to flip the mirroring switch off before attempting a restore from an older drive.  But….for the price it’s an easier way to avoid mistakes.

What do you think?

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