Minimising Impact on Production: The Backup LAN

If backup traffic is swamping your production LAN, one solution is to install a separate LAN dedicated to backup and recovery traffic. The backup LAN need only connect the backup server and those backup clients with large volumes of data - obviously it need not extend to workstations or even servers with only small volumes of data. This is a relatively inexpensive approach to minimising LAN congestion from backup traffic.

Hosting Backup

Isolated Backup and Recovery Network (BARN)

Advantages

  • Cost savings from more efficient use of tape resources - The bulk of backup traffic now travels over a dedicated backup LAN, which prevents congestion on the production LAN.
  • Increased backup throughput - LAN congestion works both ways, with production traffic impacting upon backup throughput as well as vice versa. A backup LAN enables backups to run unimpeded at the full throughput of the network.
  • Low cost - The backup LAN is the lowest cost of the various measures available to improve backup performance.
  • Simple to implement and manage - The backup LAN can be installed, configured and managed by the organisation's existing network staff or consultants. Storage expertise is still scarce in the local market, but this approach needs only a modest amount of input from backup specialists.

 

Disadvantages

  • Backup throughput is still likely to be network limited - A backup LAN will definitely improve overall backup throughput, but in most cases the network will continue to be the performance bottleneck in the solution.
  • Greater complexity makes backup solution more difficult to manage - A dedicated backup LAN is not a silver bullet to backup performance problems - it's no more and no less than one of many available approaches. Often it will need to be combined with other techniques in order to create a comprehensive solution.
  • Different security zones and firewall introduce additional complexity into a backup solution: how do you achieve the cost savings that a centrally-managed solution delivers, without compromising security in the process? A simple secure backup architecture may be the answer.