In a few technologies recently we see that, by design, performance grows linearly as building blocks are added. In clustered systems a building block will include CPU, Memory and disk resulting in linear growth of compute performance and capacity. In the backup world linear just doesn’t cut the mustard.
Who cuts mustard anyway?
Don’t get sidetracked with silly questions like that, use Google! What I am trying to say is that for backup systems there is a requirement for the “work done to achieve backups” to grow significantly slower than the growth of data to protect.
Imagine a world where 1TB of protected data requires 10% of a building block of “work done”. Where “work done” is a combination of admin time, compute, backup storage etc. If our backup processes and technologies required a linear growth of work done then much badness occurs. Diagrammatically…
No one would ever get to the situation described in the diagram above as they would soon realise that “this just ain’t workin’” and rethink their systems. However the question is what should the “work done” growth look like? It needs to be a shallower growth curve than that of the data protected and needs to slow as the capacities increase. So we can imagine that we would want to achieve something like this:
But how… How… HOW!?!
A number of methodologies can be employed to work towards this goal. The first and most obvious step is to A-U-T-O-M-A-T-E (sounds better if you say it in a robotty way).
Phase 1 -Take the drudge processes (and believe me there are plenty) and automate them:
- Checking backup logs for failures
- Restarting backups that have failed
- Generating reports
Phase 2 – Take some of the more difficult but boring jobs and automate them too!
- Restore testing
- New backup client requests
- Restore requests
If your environment is at Google scale you may want to automate crazy things like purchasing, receipt and labelling of new backup media. This is an extreme case but you get the principle, break down the tasks done in the backup process and see what you can get machines to do better and more accurately than humans.
There are plenty of people that have already done all this and many products to look at for help. Start Googling…
Is that it? – No, we will return with other methods to help backup at scale