In the realm of cloud backups, the idea of supplementing, or entirely getting rid of your local storage devices, with cloud storage devices is quite appealing. Cloud backups offer a lot of benefits but at the same time also present challenges. When you use backup to cloud to protect your business applications, it is also necessary that you take into consideration the optimal parameters to use when it comes to uploading the data.
Incorrect parameters can lead to either poor backup performance or even backup failures. So before you pat yourself on crossing off your to-dos list for the backup to cloud operations, do not forget this critical one: Fine-tune your backup to cloud jobs to ensure they are performing optimally for the network conditions they are operating.
Backup to Cloud is nothing but the ability to upload File System and Application objects being protected to a cloud storage device. Naturally, doing a synchronous upload of each object, one by one, would be very slow. You need to upload the objects in parallel to achieve acceptable performance.
Backup Exec uses Cloud Connectors which are based on Open Storage Technology (OST) that offer seamless connectivity to Amazon Web Services (AWS) S3, Microsoft Azure as well as Google Cloud storage to achieve the parallel uploads. So it is important that the number of parallel connections are tuned correctly so that the Cloud Connectors and in turn the backups to cloud are able to perform optimally.
Fine tuning options with Backup Exec 16 Feature Pack 1
Backup Exec 16 Feature Pack 1 provided you the ability to manually tune the upload (or Write) connections that the Cloud Connector uses for Cloud-based backup jobs as shown in the figure 1. You can increase the number of ‘Write Connections’ in order to better utilize the available network bandwidth. On the other hand, the number of ‘Write Connections’ will need to be reduced if there are bandwidth limitations in the network.
The hard part is to make these adjustments manually and determine what ‘Write Connections’ would reliably work for backups in your network configurations. For more details on how to manually fine tune the Cloud Connectors, you can refer to the following links.
- Tuning the Cloud Connectors in your environment
- Video:Tuning the Cloud Connectors in your environment
Enter Cloud Connect Optimizer with Backup Exec 16 Feature Pack 2
Backup Exec 16-Feature Pack 2 introduces Cloud Connect Optimizer, referred to as CCO, that automatically tests the network for various ‘Write Connections’ and then suggest a best suited value that can be applied for subsequent backup jobs. It runs as a Backup Exec Utility Job and uses the same OST framework as what backup jobs use.
The CCO feature attempts to address two main concerns:
- Poor Backup performance – Although the network has a capability of a high upload speed, the backup jobs are unable to utilize the available bandwidth to achieve a better backup performance
- Frequent Job failures – Networks with low bandwidth encounter frequent backup to cloud jobs failures with write errors after the job has run for a while
You can be run CCO for any configured Cloud Storage device in Backup Exec as displayed in the figure 2.
Due to possible variations in network conditions at different times of the day, Veritas recommends running the CCO job as close to the backup window as possible to get the best possible results. In order to facilitate this, the CCO job can either be scheduled to run immediately or at a later date and time.
The CCO job tests different values of ‘Write Connections’ by uploading relatively small test data sets to the cloud storage and monitoring the throughput. What values to test and how many tests are conducted is decided by an internal adaptive algorithm that works on the basis of obtaining feedback from the underlying Cloud Connector component. The CCO then consolidates its test results and suggests what is best suited for the tested network. The suggested value of Write Connections can then be applied either manually or updated automatically so that subsequent backup to cloud jobs can benefit from this value.
The Cloud Connect Optimizer feature in Backup Exec 16 Feature Pack 2 allows you to quickly test your network and suggests parameters that will help ensure the backup to cloud operations are performing optimally. It does this in an automated fashion thereby saving a lot of time and effort in fine tuning these parameters.
And finally, it represents our continued commitment to quickly bring incremental improvements to new features that we release based on feedback from our customers.
If you are not a current Backup Exec customer, we invite you to learn more about the solution at the following link: