To ensure offsite backups don’t take longer than is necessary, the following practices should be observed:
When deploying an Axcient BRC appliance, consider whether to seed the Axcient cloud using a Direct Attach Storage device (DAS) before running the first offsite backup. Use the upload calculation formula to compute the amount of time the initial offsite will require. As a general rule, request a DAS if the initial offsite backup will take more than 14 days.
Utilize the QoS setting on the appliance to balance external upload bandwidth utilization for offsite backups with other business needs. Make sure that adequate network bandwidth is provided to support the maximum QOS settings, but take care not to saturate the network. In other words, know the actual upload bandwidth for the network, decide what percentage of capacity to make available for offsite backups, and set the QoS accordingly.
Rolling Backup Files
Avoid backing up backup files, which are generated automatically by some applications. The difference in content between successive files may be small, but because they have unique names (usually containing a timestamp), the Axcient backup treats each as a brand new file. As a result, a full copy of every file is stored in the Axcient backup chain and sent off site, rather than just the incremental changes. To handle this circumstance, exclude the rolling backup files from the onsite backup and copy the generated rolling backup file to a common file name each time it is generated. This will enable the same file to be detected by the Axcient backup so that only the incremental changes are captured and sent off site.
New Backup Jobs
The addition of a new backup job will introduce new data to be included in the next offsite backup. This typically occurs when a device is added for protection. If it becomes necessary to add multiple backups, try to do them all at the same time. Then, determine the amount of data to be protected in the new jobs and use the upload calculation formula to compute the amount of time the next offsite will take. If it is not acceptable, then consider re-seeding with a DAS.
Suspended Offsite Backup
Avoid suspending offsite backups for a prolonged period. Doing so may cause a significant amount of data to accumulate, which will ultimately result in a long running job. If offsite backups have been suspended for days or weeks, utilize the reporting tools on the Axcient appliance to determine how much new data has accumulated. Then, use the upload calculation formula to compute the amount of time the next offsite will require and decide whether it will be acceptable. If it is not, then consider re-seeding with a DAS.
Try to avoid moving data from one protected system to another, since the Axcient backup views such data as brand new. If it becomes necessary to rebalance data across systems, then determine the amount of data transferred and use the upload calculation formula to compute the amount of time the next offsite will take. If it is not acceptable, then consider re-seeding with a DAS.
Some firewalls are configured by default to constrain network traffic when sustained data transfer is detected. This can be verified by monitoring throughput using a tool like iftop. Data transfer speed will initially be at or near the available bandwidth, but then decrease dramatically as the offsite backup runs. To avoid this situation and ensure the offsite backup utilizes the available network bandwidth (subject to QoS settings), make sure the firewall is not configured for automatically reducing throughput on sustained data transfers.
Mailbox backups provide a means of rapid onsite restoration of Exchange objects, such as e-mail messages and contact details. However, if an entire Exchange database needs to be recovered, restoring one mailbox at a time can be impractical. Instead, an image backup can be utilized to protect the entire Exchange server, or a file backup can protect the Exchange database. So, if a mailbox backup is employed along with an image or file backup for the same Exchange server, consider synchronizing only the image or file backup off site. This will provide adequate disaster protection for recovering a lost Exchange server while reducing the amount of data to be transmitted in the offsite backup.