Typically in organisations there are two distinct roles assigned in the storage department.
1. Storage Admin – the person who provisions and supports primary storage to application or server admins
2. Backup Admin – the person who administers the backup software, tape solution and/or VTL
So where is the role Backup Storage Admin then?
Firstly we need to describe what is changing to open up the field for this new role. Traditionally all backup task and operations have been dragged through some kind of backup application. This consists of a number of components:
1. The Backup server – tracks and catalogs all backups, manages schedules and retention etc
2. Media or Storage node – performs the data movement of the data to be protected
3. Backup client – gathers and informs the server what files need backing up.
All of these components make up the backup product. They need specialist skills and training to understand how to implement them. The application guy doesn’t know the details of how NetBackup, Networker or TSM work, he understands how his application need protecting.
So what needs to change to the way backups are done to allow for this new role?
In our last post we discussed the DD Boost for RMAN feature of the EMC Data Domain. This allows the application guy to use his own backup tools to speak directly to the back end Data Domain storage. This puts the application admin in control of scheduling, retention and management of backups.
Scale this up and think about how this might develop. Imagine you had a VMWare admin who wanted to manage his own backups to a central Backup repository, or a NAS administer that wanted to point his NAS device directly at the backup storage device. Repeat the same question for any number of apps and databases.
No need for a dedicated backup software?
What we have described is that each application uses its own custom data protection method to send backups to a central backup storage device. This means that no longer is the backup admin managing all the database and file modules of a backup product, but is provisioning storage to application teams to be used for backups. In fact the provisioning of the backup storage could be automated too so that when a service is brought online the backup storage is automatically provisioned, I will avoid using the word cloud at this point
Who will know what is backed up though!?
Good question! There would have to be a way to catalog all these disparate types of backups into a common format that could then be used to report and review backup success. Easier said than done you may think but not an impossibility by any means.
So in summary then, what would the responsibilities of a Backup Storage Admin be:
- Manage pot of storage specifically as a backup target
- Provision backup storage based on requests from application or server teams
- Manage the backup catalog
- Report on capacity trending
- Chargeback storage usage to the application or server teams