A Quick-Guide Article to Reducing Backup Times

Aug 09, 2011, 11:25 ET from Diskeeper Corporation Europe

LONDON, August 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

Though backup software vendors continue making advancements in technology to speed up the process, the time it takes to backup can still be very time consuming for many IT managers today. A recent survey conducted by Vanson Bourne on 1,000 UK companies suggested businesses are on average backing up to tape once a month, with one rather alarming statistic from the same survey showing 10 percent were only backing up to tape once per year.

This infrequency of backup could realistically be strongly attributable to the time factor involved. Likely, many companies would run their backups on Friday evenings, in the hope for it to be completed by Monday business start. But with such large data pools, these backups might not complete in time, and can therefore often be postponed for larger time frames.

Three Important Backup Time Factors

Backup solutions use different techniques - they could be file level, where the files are searched through and copied to the backup media, or block level backups which go further and copy the underlying file system 'the actual blocks' on the disk. Regardless of the technique in use, the backup times will also depend on other factors like available bandwidth/throughput, the media in use and/or how badly fragmented the drives are.

  1. Bandwidth

Bandwidth measured as bits/s is the maximum throughput of a logical or physical communication path between devices in a digital network. Essentially the more bandwidth or better throughput you have the quicker it takes for the backup jobs to complete.

  2. Backup Media

There are numerous backup media available today: Magnetic tapes, hard disk and remote backup service. The Magnetic tape is the preferred media for bulk backups and archiving, although the access times are poor since they are sequential access devices, it is preferred due to the cost ratio and it's been available for a long time. Backups to other devices like hard disk and remote backups through broadband internet access would essentially mean the backups complete faster.


  3. Fragmentation

Along with the above mentioned factors fragmentation can cause a severe negative impact on the backup time. The more fragmented the files are the longer it takes for them to be copied to the media, as the blocks are out of sequence and the resulting excess I/Os generated can also cause a negative effect. Defragmenting the volume completely before the backups start, has proven to dramatically reduce the backup times - in some case by half.

Didier Guieu, System-Architecture Engineer at HSBC France, commented, "The data and files access times were taking far too long. We noticed that when the server was fragmented, the backup time sometimes needed twice as long to run."

Also new technologies like de-duplication, copy on write and shadow copy solutions are becoming common. If you have such solutions, be sure to choose a business class defragmenter with disk and data growth prevention technologies in place such as that found in Diskeeper® performance software (http://www.diskeeper.com).

Taking into accounts these key-points, you should be able to dramatically decrease your backup times.  

SOURCE Diskeeper Corporation Europe