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Virtual Backup Storage Brings Cloud Down to Earth

TSM Architecture Gives STORServer Customers Long Term Control

Virtual this and virtual that have become watchwords for technology geeks tracking what’s happening in the IT centers of practically every sized company. But a revolutionary idea that has almost three decades of development behind it makes virtual ‘storage’ a reality for data protection aficionados.

Get this. How about a backup and archive architecture that doesn’t store your data on media? How is that possible? By designing backup and archive buckets, or pools, that float like clouds right in your own datacenter.

Most backup solutions assume that all data mover technologies must take data from some production media source and then move that data to another set of media. In the data protection world, though, data may need to sit around for years. No media can cost-effectively store the bits and bytes of various file structures longer than the life of a piece of media.

Unless, of course, the media is transparent.  Unless the media doesn’t matter. Consider the freedom of managing your backed up and archived data without worrying about the underlying media.

The three-year life of disk or tape doesn’t always work out like you figure. Few IT shops own media that was purchased at the same time. Media lifecycles are all over the map in an IT shop. Most media purchases take place multiple times a year.

Timing the MTBF (mean time between failures) for aging media with stored data that must live longer than the life of the media is mind-boggling. So, rather than force folks to painstakingly and manually move backed up and archived data around, most solutions and IT managers simply shrug and figure media failure isn’t something they can fix.

Yes, I said it. Most managers of data protection solutions find themselves ignoring the likely possibility that no matter how well they implement backups or archive functions that media consistency may not be manageable. Recovering data from a mixed age of backup storage has a high probability of failure.

In fact, the end-of-life for some tape or disk purchase three to five years ago may be forcing many IT folks to shop around for a brand new data protection solution for this media lifecycle issue alone. Rather than go through the trouble of moving data to a newer set of media, just start over! Ouch.

Herein lies the genius of a pool-based, virtual storage solution. Change the media anytime, to any kind of storage, whenever you want to. Update one portion of media as it ages, and don’t worry about it.

Upgrade portions, or even all, of your backup and archive storage when you want to. When the cost of new storage brings higher capacities at a better price. Before the media failures start. Continue data protection operations normally, and automatically migrate to a new media.

We call virtual storage in our STORServer a type of cloud concept, because the data doesn’t worry about where it sits. The backup cloud holding your backups and archives sits in your own datacenter. That’s a down to earth idea worth thinking about.


By John Pearring, manager of sales and marketing for STORServer. As STORServer’s president from 1995 to 2008, he built the original OEM alliances and the original e-business infrastructure for the company. https://www.storserver.com

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