News
6/10/2011
03:46 PM
George Crump
George Crump
Commentary
50%
50%

Big Data A Big Backup Challenge

Backing up Big Data requires a system that is fast, cost effective, and reliable. These are conflicting terms in the world of storage.

Big Data is, well, big, and size is not the only challenge it places on backup. It also is a backup application's worst nightmare because many Big Data environments consist of millions or even billions of small files. How do you design a backup infrastructure that will support the Big Data realities?

First, examine what data does not have to be backed up at all because it can be easily regenerated from another system that is already being backed up. A good example is report data generated from a database.

Once this data is identified, exclude it. Next, move on to the real problem at hand--unique data that can't be re-created. This is often discrete file data that is feed into the environment via devices or sensors. It is essentially point-in-time data that can't be regenerated. This data is often copied within the Big Data environment so that it can be safely analyzed. As a result, there can be a fair amount of redundancy in the Big Data environment. This is an ideal role for disk backup devices. They are better suited for the small file transfers and, with deduplication, can eliminate redundancy and compress much of the data to optimize backup capacity.

Effective optimization is critical since Big Data environments are measured in the 100's of terabytes and will soon be measured in the dozens of petabytes. It is also important to consider just how far you want to extend disk backup's role in this environment.

Clearly deduplicated disk is needed, but it probably should be used in conjunction with tape--not in replacement of it. Again, often a large section of this data can't be regenerated. Loss of this data is permanent and potentially ruins the Big Data sample. You can't be too careful and, at the same time, you have to control capacity costs so that the value of the decisions that Big Data allows are not overshadowed by the expense of keeping the data that supports them. We suggest a Big Data backup strategy that includes a large tier of optimized backup disk to store the near-term data set for as long as possible, seven to 10 years worth of data being ideal, then using tape for the decades worth of less frequently accessed data.

Alternatively you could go with the suggestion we made in a recent article "Tape's Role in Big Data" and combine the two into a single active archive--essentially a single file system that seamlessly marries all of these media types. This would consist of fast but low capacity (by Big Data standards) primary disk for data ingestion and active analytical processing, optimized disk for more near term data that is not being analyzed at that moment, and tape for long-term storage. In this environment data can be sent to all tiers of storage as it is created or modified so that less or even no backups need to be done.

Big Data is a big storage challenge, not only to store the data but to put it on a fast enough platform that meaningful analytics can be run while at the same time, being cost effective and reliable. These are conflicting terms in the world of storage. Resolving that conflict is going to require a new way of doing things.

Follow Storage Switzerland on Twitter

George Crump is lead analyst of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. Storage Switzerland's disclosure statement.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
10 Recommendations for Outsourcing Security
Enterprises today have a wide range of third-party options to help improve their defenses, including MSSPs, auditing and penetration testing, and DDoS protection. But are there situations in which a service provider might actually increase risk?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-1637
Published: 2015-03-06
Schannel (aka Secure Channel) in Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2008 SP2 and R2 SP1, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 Gold and R2, and Windows RT Gold and 8.1 does not properly restrict TLS state transitions, which makes it easier for r...

CVE-2014-2130
Published: 2015-03-05
Cisco Secure Access Control Server (ACS) provides an unintentional administration web interface based on Apache Tomcat, which allows remote authenticated users to modify application files and configuration files, and consequently execute arbitrary code, by leveraging administrative privileges, aka B...

CVE-2014-9688
Published: 2015-03-05
Unspecified vulnerability in the Ninja Forms plugin before 2.8.10 for WordPress has unknown impact and remote attack vectors related to admin users.

CVE-2015-0598
Published: 2015-03-05
The RADIUS implementation in Cisco IOS and IOS XE allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (device reload) via crafted IPv6 Attributes in Access-Accept packets, aka Bug IDs CSCur84322 and CSCur27693.

CVE-2015-0607
Published: 2015-03-05
The Authentication Proxy feature in Cisco IOS does not properly handle invalid AAA return codes from RADIUS and TACACS+ servers, which allows remote attackers to bypass authentication in opportunistic circumstances via a connection attempt that triggers an invalid code, as demonstrated by a connecti...

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
How can security professionals better engage with their peers, both in person and online? In this Dark Reading Radio show, we will talk to leaders at some of the security industry’s professional organizations about how security pros can get more involved – with their colleagues in the same industry, with their peers in other industries, and with the IT security community as a whole.