In Pushing Bytes through a Straw, we explored some things you can do with your Axcient appliance to optimize the performance of offsite backups. This time we look at best practices for avoiding common pitfalls with offsite backups.

An offsite backup job is a collection of tasks. A task corresponds to an onsite file backup, an onsite mailbox backup, a volume in an onsite image backup, or the appliance system data. For each task in an offsite backup, the Axcient system detects new or changed files and transmits the incremental blocks to the data center. The upload time for transmitting data depends on the amount of change since the previous offsite backup, available upload bandwidth, and Quality of Service (QoS) setting on the appliance.

There are a number of best practices to help ensure offsite backups don’t take longer than is necessary. Here’s a synopsis of those best practices: (the full knowledge base article is available via the Axcient Partner Portal.)

  • Seeding: Consider whether to seed the Axcient cloud before running the first offsite backup. Pushing Bytes through a Straw offers more discussion on this. As a general rule, seed if the initial offsite backup will take more than 14 days.
  • QoS: Make sure adequate network bandwidth is provided to support the maximum QoS settings, but take care not to saturate the network.
  • Rolling Backup Files: Avoid backing up backup files, which are generated automatically by some applications. The difference in content between successive files may be small, but the Axcient backup treats each as a brand new file. Disk Storage is like Closet Space goes into some detail on this topic.
  • New Backup Jobs: The addition of a backup job will introduce new data to be included in the next offsite backup. If it becomes necessary to add multiple backups, resulting in the significant addition of data, try to do them all at the same time and consider re-seeding.
  • Suspended Offsite Backup: Avoid suspending offsite backups for a prolonged period. Doing so may cause a significant amount of data to accumulate, which will ultimately result in a long running job.
  • Data Transfer: Try to avoid moving data from one protected system to another, since the Axcient backup views such data as brand new.
  • Traffic Shaping: Make sure the firewall is not configured for automatically reducing throughput on sustained data transfers, which can dramatically slow down offsite backups.
  • Microsoft Exchange: If a mailbox backup is employed along with an image or file backup for the same Exchange server, consider synchronizing only the image or file backup off site. This will provide adequate disaster protection while reducing the amount of data to be transmitted.

In addition to these best practices, Axcient continues to work on offsite backup improvements. For example, multi-threaded offsite backups were recently introduced to make more effective use of available upload capacity, and updates to the appliance UI provide better insight into offsite backup progress and data change. You can look forward to even more advances in the near future.

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