Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The backup problem – sometimes the backup isn’t worth the cost

Halamka has a great review of backup strategies and costs, but my favorite bit is in the last paragraph …

Life as a Healthcare CIO: Our Storage Backup Strategy

Over the past year, Harvard Medical School has worked with research, administrative, and educational stakeholders to develop a set of storage policies and technologies that support demand, are achievable in the short term and are affordable.

I recently gave a keynote at Bio-IT World where I described the HMS storage strategy to ensure scalability, high performance, and reliability.

Since that presentation, we've refined our strategy for replication/backup/restoration of data for disaster recovery. In many ways backup is a harder problem to solve and a more expensive project than data storage itself.

Our best thinking (a strawman for now that we are still reviewing with customers) is outlined on this slide. For databases and Microsoft exchange, we're using Data Domain appliances to replace tape …

…  Some departments have asked not to replicate at all, since it is cheaper to rerun an experiment than to replicate the terabytes of data each experiment generates. …

I recently sat through a fascinating recounting of a corporate IT outage. They thought they had sufficient redundancy, but there’s always a limit.

Backups aren’t just a problem for home users. Our current technologies don’t scale as well as one might imagine.

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