Knowing how long to keep copies of production data in backup repositories is a problem that companies only give scant attention to now. When companies back up production data to tape, they tend to only invest minimal time and effort managing the data after it is backed up. The backup data remains on the tape until the data is overwritten during the next backup job; or the tape, and data on it, is simply discarded when the tape wears out. Besides, taking a more proactive approach to managing backup data on tape is time consuming, difficult to implement and has, to date, shown minimal return on investment (ROI).
Storing data on disk changes this perspective in a couple of ways. It makes the backup data as readily accessible as production data plus the rewards for optimizing the placement of data on disk are more tangible (less disk capacity, freedom to use different tiers of disk, lower power costs, smaller data center footprint, etc.). The key is to use software that automates the placement and movement of backup data on disk.
In response to this emerging corporate requirement for backup data management, Asigra now offers BLM (Backup Lifecycle Management) Archiver as an option to its Televaulting software. BLM Archiver (as shown above) compliments and manages the backup data gathered by its DS-System server in the following ways:
- The DS-System collects data from individual Asigra Televaulting DS-Clients (not shown but these clients do the agentless backup of corporate servers).
- The DS-System then aggregates and globally deduplicates the data it collects from the DS-Clients and stores this data in its data store (as shown above).
- The BLM Archiver communicates with the DS-System and identifies what backup data in the DS-System data store that companies need to use for DR purposes versus what backup data is stored there in an archiving role. Companies set policies that define when backup data is archived based on its age and whether or not it is unchanged in the DS-System data store. If it backup data meets this criteria, it is classified as archive data by the BLM Archiver and copied into the BLM Archive data store.
By using BLM Archiver along side the DS-System, companies realize two primary benefits. First, the licensing for backup data stored in the BLM Archive is cheaper on a per TB basis than for backup data stored in the DS-System data store. Since Asigra licenses its Televaulting software on a per TB basis, the more backup data that companies can move into the BLM Archive data, the lower they can drive their software costs. Second, since the BLM Archiver only archives data from the DS-System that is over a certain age (say 30 days) and unchanged (usually representing data that is deleted on production data stores), companies do not need to worry about moving data out of the DS-System data store that is needed for recoveries while keeping the size of their DS-System data store at an optimum level.
The automated management of backup data stored on disk is the next frontier of backup management. Through its introduction of BLM Archiver and BLM Archive data store, Asigra Televaulting provides companies a way to seamlessly introduce automated management of backup data into their backup environment without jeopardizing backup data needed for a simple file recovery or a full-scale disaster recovery Yet these are just some of the benefits that using BLM Archiver provides. In forthcoming blog entry, I will do a deeper dive into why the BLM Archive uses Staging and Consolidated (Disk Based) areas as part of its archive and what benefits these provide.