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Network Fine Tuning for Better Backup Performance with Backup Exec

Network performance is often defined as the “speed” in the network, and it is often overlooked.

Proper network-tuning improves the performance of any application. By “tuning,” we are talking about matching the components in the environment properly and ensuring effective configuration of those components.

Performance is a hot topic for data protection solutions and a source of customers' most asked questions. Many performance issues can be traced to hardware/environmental issues. A basic understanding of the entire backup data path is important in determining maximum obtainable performance. Performance depends on multiple factors like CPU, network, storage, application, etc. With proper planning and understanding, the performance of your data protection solution can be enhanced.

“The Bottom line – It’s All About Bandwidth”

Network infrastructure plays a key role in backup performance, largely due to the following factors:

  • Backups involve the transfer of large volumes of critical data
  • Data may be gathered from complex environments over complex networks

Some configurations or parameters that can affect the performance of your data protection solution are: 

  • Quality of service (QOS), large data transfers, improperly configured VLANs, out of date switch firmware, etc.
  • The speed of the physical connection
  • Features such as "full-duplex" and "auto-detect" may not be fully supported in every environment. For best results
  • Set the speed to 1GB/10GB and the duplex to half/full for the server-side
  • Set the SWITCH PORT setting to 1GB/10GB and half/full-duplex for the Ethernet port on the server that is connected to the switch
  • Keep in mind, when a hub is in place instead of a switch, full-duplex may not be supported

Here are some recommendations for better backup performance:

  • Configuring a dedicated network connection exclusively for backups is often the least expensive option
  • Promote systems with larger data footprints to Backup Exec Servers that:
    • Use locally attached storage
    • Keep data loads off the network
  • Limit network-intensive maintenance or communication, and schedule backups when network load is relatively low.
  • Ensure both the switch and the network cards have matching settings
  • If you have the Central Admin Server Option installed, you can distribute jobs over several network interfaces to improve performance. Managed Backup Exec servers can use alternate network interfaces to run backup jobs.
  • Use software compression to achieve a smaller network data load.

Make sure that nothing is interfering with your backup data. A common suspect is antivirus software. If every file you are trying to backup is being virus checked, you can lose a lot of performance. You might want to consider running your antivirus software’ scheduled scan outside of the backup window.

Here is some more information from Veritas Support about Backup Exec tuning and performance: