SUMMARY: Unix(&Novell) backup systems

SUMMARY: Unix(&Novell) backup systems

Post by Graeme Woo » Fri, 14 Apr 1995 04:00:00

I recently sent out a short questionaire to try and find out what people
were using to backup their systems.  This is a summary of the responses
I received.

There were four* responses.

The number of systems backed up varied widely between 4 and a few
thousand. The actually numbers were 4, 8, 9, 10, 12, 10-15, 20, 23, 30,
20-50, 60, 200, 400, a few thousand.

Most backup systems were backing up Unix systems of various types with
several people also backing up Novell servers and PCs.  Nobody was
backing up Macintosh systems.

The amount of data being addressed by the backup system varied between
6GB and over 1TB. Most people were backing up between 60 and 150GB. This
is roughly in the bracket where Edinburgh currently sits, though we
would see this doubling over the next year.

Nightly backups were dumping about 2-5GB.  The larger sites were backing
up 100-300GB nightly.

All but one person said that they used incremental backups.

Four respondants said that they did a full backup once a week.
One respondant said they did a full backup tri-weekly.
The others said they did backups every two or three weeks.

The backup software that was used is as follows:

Amanda                  2 people
Networker               5 people
EpochBackup             2 people
Software Moguls sm-arch 1 person
IBM ADSTAR              1 person
Novell Arcsolo          1 person
cpio scripts            1 person
dump scripts            3 people

Everybody was surprisingly happy with what they were using (except the
person who had just started in a new job and had to do all the backups
by hand) though a comment was made about Networker being very CPU
intensive especially if you used its software compression facility.
The people using Epoch seemed particularly happy, especially with the
support they were getting.

Most people were using Exabyte drives. Three people used DAT. Three
people had some form of Exabyte stacker.  One person had a Exabyte 120,
one had an Exabyte 60, one person had an Exabyte 480.  The person using
ADSTAR had an IBM 3494 connected to their Cray (we also have one of
these but it is there purely as a data store for our Cray T3D and Y-MP).
One person had an ADIC 12 tape stacker and a Spectra 4000 jukebox. One
person had an optical disk device.

Everybody said that they were satisfied with their backup device.  One
person said that they had had some trouble with their 10i stackers.
Interestingly, 5 people said that they were looking at DLT as a means of
increasing throughput, reliability and volume.

Thank you to the following people for responding:


Unix Systems Support                        Phone: +44 131 650 5003
The University of Edinburgh                 Fax:   +44 131 650 6552

for your multimedia conferencing support    WWW:


1. Unix(&Novell) backup systems

The University of Edinburgh is currently re-evaluating its backup strategy.
We would be interested to hear from people who are using backup products to
provide an enterprise-wide backup/retrieval service. We would be especially
happy to hear from people who have been using Networker and also those with
an EXB-120 jukebox.

If you can spare the time from backing up all your systems and retrieving files
for your users :-), could you please answer some of the questions below and

responses I receive and post the results to this group.

Thank you for your time.

1. How many systems do you backup?

2. What types of systems are these?

        - Unix workstations

        - Unix mainframes/time-sharing systems

        - Novell servers

        - Macintosh servers

        - PCs

3. How much disk space in total is backed up?

4. How much data is backed up nightly?

5. Do you run incremental backups or full backups all the time?

6. If you use incremental backups, how often do you do a full backup?

7. What software do you use?

        - Networker

        - Budtool

        - Palindrome

        - ARCserve

        - PMP

        - dump/restore/cpio/tar

        - home-grown scripts

        - something else

8. Are you happy with what you are using (if not why not)?

9. What backup devices are you using?

        - Exabyte

        - DAT

        - Optical disk

        - Stacker

        - Jukebox

10. Are you happy with the performance of your backup device (if not why not)?


Unix Systems Support                        Phone: +44 131 650 5003
The University of Edinburgh                 Fax:   +44 131 650 6552

for your multimedia conferencing support    WWW:

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