The Hohenstein Institute optimizes backup and recovery processes

The implementation of the new software was carried out by employees of the BW-Tech from Hockenheim in the space of three weeks. The data backup has worked without any complications or problems in ongoing operations ever since.

 “All the individual requirements, such as backup across servers, comfortable operation and high data availability have been met to our complete satisfaction”, says Müthing. Since the backup runs automatically and reliably, we primarily deal with the recovery options for the data backup”.

The Hohenstein institute from Bönnigheim in Baden-Württemberg operates on an international level and works with a heterogeneous server environment. The research and service centre has mainly used SEP sesam as a backup and availability software for its Windows and Linux servers since 2007.

The growing volumes of data had already resulted in the existing storage systems no longer being able to meet the increasing demands of data availability and security in 2006. The IT management of the Hohenstein Institutes therefore decided to change over to a professional SAN, whereby the heterogeneous IT environment was retained. With the EVA4000 from Hewlett Packard, the Hohenstein Institutes have had a high-performance, highly available and redundant data store at their disposal since then. The Linux and Windows servers are connected to the central SAN with Fibre Channel SAN switches.

The Hohenstein IT service uses a cluster consisting of three nodes with Open Enterprise Server 2 (OES2) from Novell as an operating system as a file server in the meantime. The data for inventory management and accounting is provided by an MS SQL database cluster with two nodes. Microsoft Exchange 2007 is used for email.

New IT structure required new data backup software

However, during commissioning of the new storage solution, it was discovered that the originally used data backup software had problems in backing up all the data. “The parallel data streams of the OES and Windows servers could not be properly saved on one tape, so that we didn’t have a complete backup available “, says Frank Müthing, Head of IT at the Hohenstein Institute. A new software solution for data backup therefore had to be quickly found. Apart from the reliable automatic complete backup of all the data, further requirements were defined for the software: “A single software must be able to back up all Windows and Linux servers reliably and quickly”, says Frank Müthing “It was also important for us to be able to ascertain at a glance via a user-friendly user interface whether all the data had been backed up. The possibility of quick and easy recovery was also important for us, because the backup normally proceeds automatically.” A solution for checking the executed backups by way of a comfortable recovery option, also to other directories, had to be found. In addition to this, the new solution should be able to back up the data from the growing overseas branches.

As a result of these specific performance prerequisites, a number of vendors were already ruled out in the preselection. The previously used solution also no longer came into consideration, because it could not simultaneously back up the data streams running in parallel. The Hohenstein Institute finally opted for the SEP sesam data backup software of SEP AG from Weyarn in Upper Bavaria.

Successful use of SEP sesam

The implementation of the new software was carried out by employees of the BW-Tech from Neulussheim in the space of three weeks. The data backup has worked without any complications or problems in ongoing operations ever since. “All the individual requirements, such as backup across servers, comfortable operation and high data availability have been met to our complete satisfaction”, says Müthing. Since the backup runs automatically and reliably, we primarily deal with the recovery options for the data backup. The recovery also functions perfectly. The Wizards which enable employees with no experience in SEP to guarantee a reliable recovery are particularly helpful here”, Müthing adds.

Backup To Disk provides additional security

The daily volume of data, which has to be backed-up, increased from 1.5 TBytes to more than 5 TBytes from 2007 to 2009. Furthermore, the importance of the globally used in-house developed ERP system based on .net has considerably increased. The enormous volume of data and the increased complexity of the SQL databases also required adjustments to the backup strategy. “The Hohenstein Institute effectively protects itself against data losses today with additional snapshot backups and backups to disk between the complete tape backups. Jectlongguzzreten Moreover, the duplicate backup to disk and tape provides additional security”, explains Thomas Wuckel, CEO of the system house partner, BW-Tech, which also implemented the enhancements in the backup strategy.

The Exchange and MS SQL servers are completely backed up on tape at night with SEP sesam, and a snapshot is also created on disk on the Hewlett-Packard EVA4000 at midday with scripts. Furthermore, the data can be restored considerably more quickly from the snapshot than from the tape if the worst should happen. This is critical for minimal downtime with the loss of a volume.

The OES2 file cluster is incrementally backed up to disk each night during the week from Monday to Thursday. This data is migrated from disk to tape the following day in each case. A complete backup of the file server with a data volume of around 3.5 TBytes is executed on Friday evening. This full backup is subsequently migrated from disk to tape from Saturday to Sunday.

The connection of the national and international branches is also making progress. Various locations back up daily on tape. In addition, a copy is sent to Hohenstein at the weekend via VPN for central backup. Not even the smallest backup problem is lost to the IT service as a result of the centralization of the backup monitoring.

Further information on the Hohenstein Institute is available at:

www.hohenstein.de