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Submission + - Best way to do large volume backups economically?

Alpha830RulZ writes: I'd like to get the wisdom of the community for a good, economic way to do large volume backups. We are looking at establishing a data storage service for an offering of ours. The load characteristics are, daily inserts, very low volume of updates, and eventual large size of the database(s), with a total of ultimately some small number of terabytes of data. The DB's will likely be separate for each customer. The DB in question could be Oracle, Postgres, or SQL Server.

We're planning on doing backups from a dump of the database on a daily basis to a second system which will just be a disk farm, and then backing up that second disk farm to media of some sort. The size of the backup is such that tape speed will be a constraint, and deity forbid we ever have to restore. The vendors I have talked to all have the same answer: buy our gear, which requires a drive that will cost as much as the server we're planning on backing up.

As I am looking at the hardware costs for this second box, I have to ask the question, why don't we just buy multiple sets of removable hard disks, and swap out the disks for backup? It looks like I can buy sets of drives for less than I would pay for high end tape equipment, and this would greatly improve our recovery time if we ever need to use it. I'd set up the disk farm with a root disk to run the box, and then install the drives as a raid 5 set. The backup would consist of initializing the drives, and then saving the dumps to the drives. At the end of a week, we'd roll a set of drives offsite, and reinstall the oldest set. The insert volume is such that we will archive the daily update files, and in a restore situation we'd install the backup, and then reapply the daily files needed to bring us up to date.

Does anyone use this type of solution? What would make this untenable as a solution? I can see that we'd want to get some protective storage to shield the drives from shock, but that doesn't seem too onerous. However, I am feeling a bit cautious about this approach, as I don't hear of others doing it. What am I missing (please be gentle)?


Beginning Production Systems Architect.
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Best way to do large volume backups economically?

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