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Backup solutions for Isilon

Level 2

Good morning all,

I have a client who does use Backup exec. They have an Isilon system with 600TB of data.  Does BackupExec have a solution? i see entries for NDMP and SMB but I am not sure of pros and cons of each solution. I also do not see any reports on how successful each solution is. I appreciate your insight.



Employee Accredited Certified

OK so basics first

- don't use NDMP option if the Isilon contains LUNs that are presented to other systems - we cannot do any granular content of LUNs for restores - you would have to restore the whole LUN which for most customers would be a problem

- whilst the NDMP option can backup to disk/deduplication on the BE server itself, it is primarily designed for you to hang a tape library directly off the NDMP device (in your case the Isilon)

- backup over CIFS/SMB can be performed - but 1) Incremental/differential style backups are not officially supported (in some cases they might still work, in others they will always backup as a full. 2) If the 600TB you talk about is lots of smallish files you will almost certainly experience performance issues 3) The CIFS protocol is, in theory, not as efficient as the NDMP protocol for backups


You should perhaps setup a trailware against both NDMP and CIFS (not at same time as you have to disable NDMP on the Isilon to use CIFS)


BTW 600TB sounds like a huge amount of data and as such you possibly might need to look more at what NetBackup can do as it could be a more appropriate product for the quantity.

Colin, thank you very much. I do not understand your statement "if the Isilon contains LUNs that are presented to other systems" do not use NDMP. Isilon presents directories as shares. is the word LUN means something else in your context? the OneFS documentation (attached) says the following for data recovery using NDMP backup.

  • Recover files through Direct Access Restore (DAR), especially if you recover files frequently. However, it is recommended that you do not use DAR to recover a full backup or a large number of files, as DAR is better suited to restoring smaller numbers of files.
  • Recover files through Directory DAR (DDAR) if you recover large numbers of files frequently.

so i wonder if i am missing something,

I like NetBackup and i am not oppose to it. i just have to figure out how it is licensed. if it is per TB, it will be too expensive.

i have also seen discussion on creating a "changelist" on Isilon which tracks what has changed and then a backup job can backup the items in the list. This saves the time for walking the directory tree.

we can do some scripting give this list to Backup exec or NetBackup. Question becomes, if NetBackup or BEX have been integrated with this funcationality? Do you know? IBM TSM may already have this.


Employee Accredited Certified

OK  so firstly an explanationof LUNs when used on NAS devcies


Most enterprise level NAS devices support a method of connection to the device via iSCSI instead of standard network protocols. When you do this it is common for a very large large file to created on the file system of the NAS that then becomes the container for the data that is written into it via iSCSI (making the NAS into a SAN) - this container is called a LUN (and is analagous to presenting physical hardware via LUN addressing from SCSI disks.) As NDMP backups look at the background file system, all the NDMP backup sees is the very large singe file and this is therefore the smallest individual object we can restore in such a config - we cannot directly restore the individual files that are inside the LUN, but you can restore the whole LUN to get at them (which would need a lot of space and take ages) - Hence my warning to you. However if you are using shares you are probably not using LUNs.

With regards using Isilon changelists I have never seen any documentation pertaining to Backup Exec that refers to using them so suspect that unless the Isilon presents these in a way that Backup Exec believes is a volume that this may not be supported by Backup Exec.

With regards the differences in licensing models between Netbackup and Backup Exec, there is no guarantee that  in the future we will not change both products to using similar license offerings. As such it probably will be better for you to look at overall performance more than cost in your decision making as the quantity of data you are talking about is way outside of the average (per backup server) quantity of data that Backup Exec customers typically protect.