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  • Pete Ganze

StorageCraft

Updated: Feb 20


Pete Ganze (edited for clarity): Hey. This is Pete. I wanted to talk about StorageCraft a little bit.

We do a lot with StorageCraft and I like the product a lot.

Essentially, StorageCraft is a suite of apps that you run that will back up at x amount of times during the day and you can set that as low as once every 15 minutes, and it takes a picture of the drive image.

What's different? So, you take your initial backup and then you get a bunch of images that are the differences.

So they're small. I've seen StorageCraft backups that run in less than five minutes every hour.

The idea is that all that gets backed up to a local server on your network, and that local server is what they call a backup and disaster recovery server (a BDR).

That server has the right software and setup so that if you have a blow-up, like you completely lose a server, you should be able to boot up your server (the blown up server) as a virtual on the BDR.

Now this is theoretically beautiful, but in practice there are a lot of moving parts, and it doesn't always work.

You have to watch them because, since it's taking images every hour, it's basically a chain, and if that chain gets a corrupted link in it, the chain is broken, and you're not going to be able to restore your data.

Because of this, we end up storing a lot of data.

So, once a month we'll back up the chain and we'll start a new chain because we want to be able to go back.

So, let's say you lost something that is from three months ago, we want to be able to get to that backup, but we want to start a new chain just so that we have one that we know works.

You end up storing a lot of data, a lot of it.

Let's just say you have three servers and they're each two terabytes apiece.

I would figure on probably four terabytes to store each one of those servers.

If you're going to save three months worth of backup chains, you're talking about a ton of space.

So, a couple of things: first, the BDR is set up with Image Manager, which will crunch all the pieces down and make it a little bit smaller. It still gets to be pretty unwieldy, pretty big.

The BDR will also propagate out your backups, so it'll kick on like once a night, and it'll start dumping your data off-site.

We have an off-site. That's why this video is in the Syracuse office, and that's the purpose of our Syracuse office is that we have a 100 by 100 fios connection over here and we do off-site backups for clients.

So, if you're looking for off-sites for your StorageCraft, we can definitely help out with that.

We do spin them up once a month.

We make sure that we can mount the chain, make sure that it looks like they're getting updates. Pretty common that it stops.

StorageCraft can be a management project. If you are just four people working in an office and you don't have somebody that you want to pay to constantly monitor your backups, you might be better off with a Barracuda or maybe even with a Carbonite scenario.

If your recovery time objective is an hour, two hours, StorageCraft or Veeam are going to be you pretty important.

They're going to probably fit into that mix for you pretty nicely.

So, with the StorageCraft, as it crunches down every night, it kicks on and does a maintenance routine where it gets rid of the pieces that you don't need, the piece of the chain that you don't need, and as it crunches it down, that makes more space for you, but it can use a ton of disk space.

This has gotten us into freenaz and refurb Dell servers.

Essentially, freenaz is an operating system that will let you create iscsi targets on a server and then we'll get an old Dell.

R510s is what we've been using.

They have 12 drive bays up front and they'll take large drives with the right RAID controller.

They'll take up to ten terabyte drives, so we have three servers now plus a couple for customers that we house for them in our Syracuse office here, and that's where our backups end up going, so we're kind of experts on freenaz, running iscsi target because you can just put a freenaz and a iscsi target you could take your BDR server and you just add the space for an R510 with 120 terabytes with ten gig drives.

So, I guess it'd be less. It'd be 110 terabytes, but you can basically tack that space onto one server or multiple servers, and it's very helpful if you're just storing a lot of data, which we do.

StorageCraft is probably an advanced subject.

I am certified as an expert. I took their courses.

It was two weeks of sitting in class, and then there were tests involved, and I did the certification process, so I am certified on it as a master or expert or whatever it is.

If you're going to do StorageCraft, we should probably talk.

There are many subtleties.

It's a fantastic product. We use it everywhere.

If we're managing somebody's backups for them and they don't care what we do, they just want to make sure they can back up, we use StorageCraft, but we manage it.

We don't just set it and forget it. We make sure that we check them regularly.

We check them often.

There's a cloud product. You can set up a server that monitors your StorageCraft backup, so we have one of these things that we check every day, and then we go in and we make sure that we can mount the chains on a very regular basis because any tech is as good as their last restore and we're going to try to be good at what we do.

If you do do StorageCraft, that's a great way to go.

Let's talk because we can help you out, maybe co-locate a backup device for you here in the Syracuse office, so if it's ever a really really bad day, we can get your data back for you, and we can also do outside verification that your backups are viable and check for best practices and audit it so you feel comfortable that, when you have a bad day, you're going to have a good solution.

So, let me know. Give me a call. We'll talk. Thanks.

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