Bucky Backup - Technical Differences Between Bucky Backup Lite and Enterprise
This document explains the differences between DoIT's Bucky Backup Lite and Enterprise service offerings.
Bucky Backup Enterprise and Bucky Backup Lite are nearly identical in function from a user perspective. They operate in pretty much the same way, but there are some differences on the technical side. In order to get the cost so low we had to make some compromises. As a result, there are some things that may not be suitable for Bucky Backup Lite. If you're not sure if your application is appropriate please and we will help you make the right decision for your data.
The purpose of this article is to help you understand what the technical differences and similarities are between Bucky Backup Lite and Enterprise, so that you can make an informed decision.
Enterprise and Lite both use the same IBM Spectrum Protect server software, which was formerly called Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM). It's still often referred to as TSM. IBM Spectrum Protect is a robust backup and archive solution and is a leader in the industry. We have been using TSM since 1995. It offers a very rich feature set and wide range of supported systems and application specific clients.
Enterprise and Lite both use IBM Power server hardware running AIX. The servers we use for Lite are lower end compared to similar generation of hardware purchased for Enterprise. They may have slower CPUs, less cores, less memory and less expandability.
We utilize several different enterprise class storage arrays for Bucky Backup. All of our disk storage has some level of RAID protection. A single disk failure will not cause data loss. Most of our storage gear (including the gear Bucky Lite uses) is running with RAID 6 protection which can protect against two disks failing at the same time in the same RAID group. All of our disk storage arrays have redundant controllers, which greatly decreases the chance of a component failure causing an outage. All of our disk storage is connected to the servers using our fibre channel SAN.
In order to save money for Bucky Lite, we bought a lower end storage array than what we have typically used for Bucky Enterprise. There are several reasons it costs less. First, the controller hardware may have slower processors and less disk cache. In most cases customers would not notice the difference since the physical disk drives are virtually identical, but under a heavy workload Bucky Lite could become slower during backups and restores. The chances are you won't be able to tell the difference, but under the right circumstances you could. Second, the Bucky Lite array is less expandable. The array has a smaller total capacity so we may outgrow it faster. Third, we chose a lower level of hardware vendor support. In the event of an outage caused by the storage gear it may take longer to get parts and make repairs.
Bucky Backup Enterprise uses a fast disk backup pool to allow it to backup more data in a shorter backup window. Bucky Lite uses the same disk it uses for data storage as a backup pool and it is slower. In many situations this will not be noticeable, but it could take longer to backup your data to Lite than it would to Enterprise.
Note: Having multiple versions of your files is not the same as having a secondary copy. A secondary copy means that there is an entire second copy of your backup data, versions and all, stored in a different location. To learn more about version control please see: Bucky Backup - How Tivoli Storage Manager Manages Backups
Bucky Backup Enterprise utilizes IBM enterprise class automated tape libraries to store a secondary copy of all data in another location on campus.
Bucky Backup Lite does not store a secondary copy of the data. That means there is a lower level of protection for data that is stored in Lite. While data loss is very, very unlikely, there is a higher chance in Lite than with Enterprise. Here are a few things that could result in lost backup data in Lite, but not in Enterprise:
- RAID group failure
- Triple or double disk failure (depending on RAID level)
- Storage volume corruption
- TSM stores data in file volumes
- Files can be corrupted for various reasons, software bug, hardware failure, operating system crash, etc.
- Only two 20 GB file volumes have been corrupted in the last 10+ years out of many thousands of volumes, however we were able to recover that data from the tape copy
- Data center disaster
- The data is only stored in one place, so a fire, flood, or other disaster could wipe out the backup data
Weighing Your Options
Ultimately, your data is extremely safe in either Bucky Backup Lite or Bucky Backup Enterprise. However, Bucky Backup Enterprise offers a higher level of protection for your data, better performance and better reliability when compared to Bucky Backup Lite.
Here are some factors we think are important to consider when choosing Lite vs. Enterprise or any other backup solution:
How replaceable is the data?How long will it take to replace the data and how much will it cost if it's not backed up?
Impact of data loss?Impact can range from a minor annoyance to loss of many years of accumulated research data. How many people will be affected?
Where are your backups stored?
If you do your own backups, are the backups stored in the same room? The same building? It is an industry best practice to have an off-site copy of your backup data to protect against local disasters like a fire.
Will you keep a a local copy?
If you will keep a local copy (most people do), Bucky Lite might offer all the protection you need since it offers an offsite backup. Your data will still exist in the case of a disaster in either location.
Or, will the only copy be stored in Bucky Backup? A somewhat common use case we see, especially for archive data, is to delete the data after it's stored in Bucky Backup. This is common for records retention and other cases where the data is rarely or never accessed, but still needs to be stored somewhere. In this case, Bucky Enterprise would probably be a better option due to the second copy.
What is your data like?
- How much data do you have?
- Large files? Small files? Databases? Email? Etc...
- How much new data is generated per day?
- How often does the data change?
CostCost is almost always a factor. We wish that this sort of decision could be made purely based on technical data, but budgets are reality. Bucky Backup Lite is much more affordable than Bucky Backup Enterprise, but it's still more expensive than using an external hard drive. While you are looking the cost of backing up your data, don't forget to look at the cost of not backing up your data.
In the world of data protection, some is always better than none. Even if your data is probably more suited to Bucky Enterprise (technical limitations aside), Bucky Lite will be a far cry from no protection at all.