SearchStorageChannel.com's sister site SearchDataBackup.com has been running a series of tips on best practices for various backup applications. While each of these best practices will be useful to a relatively small group of users (for instance, a Tivoli Storage Manager administrator won't have much need for EMC Networker best practices), the whole series holds incredible value for storage solution providers.
As a solution provider, you have several conflicting interests, and this series may help. If you are like most channel organizations, you have a "go to" software application that you recommend when a customer is looking to make a change in backup software. By examining the best practices of these various applications, it becomes easier to identify potential weaknesses, both within your go-to application and within a competitive product. Sometimes something becomes a best practice to overcome a shortcoming in the product, and it's good to become aware of those shortcomings, whether you're already supporting the product or not.
Related to that, there may come a time in your storage integrator lifespan when you want to offer an alternative backup solution, and having a better handle on the practical uses of these other applications will help you make a good tool choice. Your choice of application is in many ways more critical than application choice that an end user will make. That's because, if you're successful with the product you select, you'll need to install and support it for a long time. And, you'll still need to support the prior software package. Make this course change too many times (a byproduct of choosing the wrong tool), and you'll end up supporting half the backup applications on the market -- which, of course, presents scaling issues, to say the least.
In addition, if one of these best practices tips is about the application that you know and love, are you actually using the best practices today? If not, does it make sense to integrate these tips into your backup implementation and support strategy? An old boss of mine used to say, "Success in life is the elimination of variables"; that statement has never been more true than when it comes to support of backup applications. The more issues you can eliminate before they end up with tech support, the better. The best support call is the one never made.
Finally, don't ignore the marketing opportunities that can arise from these best practices. Do some of these tips not make sense or did not, in your opinion, go into enough detail? Was there a best practice that you cannot believe wasn't discussed? As I said in a Channel Marker blog entry, you should have your own blog; an entry on this topic will get read. If you don't want to do that, send me your thoughts, and we'll write it up for you.
Here's a recent SearchDataBackup.com best practices story (find the whole collection in the box above):
EMC Networker backup best practices
Any time that you are going to be deploying a new backup product, there is a lot to consider. In this article, I will share with you some architectural best practices for using EMC Corp. NetWorker to back up your network servers.
One of the easiest things that you can do to increase NetWorker's performance and scalability is to add storage nodes to the network. Storage nodes are essentially secondary backup servers. What makes storage nodes so unique is that unlike traditional backup servers, administrators do not have to manage each storage node individually.
The primary (master) backup server is in charge of maintaining the backup schedule. Rather than performing all of the backups itself, the primary backup server farms some of the work out to any storage nodes that have been deployed on the network.
Read the rest of the story on EMC Networker backup best practices by Brien M. Posey.
About the author
George Crump is president and founder of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. With 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the United States, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland, George was chief technology officer at one of the nation's largest storage integrators, where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection. Find Storage Switzerland's disclosure statement here.