Archive IQ Backup System First Impressions

Large companies merging together and having various data backup system utilizations can equal one major headache for those tasked with weaving the mess into
something viable. Some how I knew I had just stepped in it when the deal was finalized. Literally. Virtually overnight our company nearly doubled in size and I was staring right into the face of one heck of a screwed up data protection/recovery and backup quagmire. Since the merger I have been struggling with several different backup systems, namely NetBackup, BackupExec and NetVault across several different tape libraries and backup-to-disk fiber channel/iSCSI SANs/NAS systems. As you might imagine it is incredibly difficult to not only manage all of these different environments but we also have had to consolidate and clean up and out about five years worth of bits and pieces. usually when you have this much junk to throw out you can just call Waste Management and have them roll a dumpster off into the driveway. No such luck with this mess! Did I mention all of the outdated servers that have been dropping like a rock of late? I’ll save that for another post.

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As those in the business know your best source for a solution to a problem can often come from fellow engineers with other organizations and that is precisely the avenue I chose. Am I ever glad I did! After sending out some inquiries and having some discussions with some top notch administrators it was suggested to me that we should be taking a strong look at a backup/data protection system, Archive IQ. Trusting those offering up the advice I decided to give DSG’s Archive IQ a try as I really need to get this animal under control like sometime yesterday.

A simple 15 MB installation and we were up and running in just a few minutes. Outstanding! Archive IQ is a backup-to-disk de-duplication system which, in a nutshell, means you are not backing up every bit of data every time it runs. That’s right, “de-dupe” simply backs up the information that has changed since the last run compressing it down to about a 10:1 or so ratio. (I won’t argue with those claiming a 20:1 ratio as I am not familiar enough with the program to know for sure if this information is accurate.) Identifying and eliminating redundant blocks of data will reduce the amount of disk space needed significantly while dramatically speeding up the process thus saving bandwidth, which can be very useful when backing up across a WAN. Archive IQ utilizes VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) to backup the system state, Exchange, SQL and any other application that supports VSS. Since de-duplication with Archive IQ takes place at the software level we are not tied to expensive hardware solutions, instead we can choose which disk vendor to do business with on the back end. Another advantage of being able to choose our own disk vendor, besides saving big money, is we can use the vendor’s replication technology to copy all data off of our in-house SAN/NAS to our disaster recovery site! Keep in mind the initial backup of the system will take some time for a few reasons. For example, all of the processing takes place on the client end which by it’s very nature will slow things down. Archive IQ must also lay down a base line copy prior to the system de-duplicating all future backups so depending on the amount of data involved this can really take up a chunk of time. It’s well worth it though when everything is in order and all future backups can be done in a fraction of the time it used to take and a fraction of storage too!

Of course one of my main concerns is restoring lost data and how well this program is going to work for me on that end. No worries at all folks! Finally, someone has done it the right way. What I mean by that is we now have simple drag and drop, point-in-line restore functionality. Archive IQ utilizes an interface that looks almost exactly like Windows Explorer and you simply drag and drop any files you wish to restore. I discovered the Windows Explorer looking interface is actually a front-end to the back end WebDav page so you have the ability to access the restore files within your web browser. Way cool indeed. Now, finally, I am truly a happy man.

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One Response to Archive IQ Backup System First Impressions

  1. Pingback: Blog My Nog | Tech Topics » Blog Archive » Migrate your desktops with Archive IQ

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