Data Center and Hardware

Enterprise Backup and Storage

Overview

Protecting data by storing backups offsite facilitates recovery of vital information or systems following a disruptive event. Texas A&M Division of Information Technology offsite data backup and storage service efficiently replicates business-critical data through the LEARN network to a co-located data center in Dallas, TX. This distant disaster recovery site provides extra protection in the event of a natural or man-made catastrophic event. Data is encrypted at rest at both the primary and secondary sites, and encrypted in flight during transit. The service uses the incremental forever backup strategy, which is more space efficient. Instead of periodic full backups, incremental forever starts with one initial full backup, then an ongoing (forever) sequence of incremental backups. The service is available for Windows, Linux and Solaris OS machines, and requires client code to negotiate with the base server.

Texas A&M units using this service include Enterprise Information Systems, Instructional Technology Services, University Libraries, Bush School of Government and others.

Getting Started

To request this service, email tamu-it-bcteam@tamu.edu.

Cost

Texas A&M University System FY19 Rates displayed below.
View FY18 and FY19 TAMUS Auxiliary and Non-TAMUS Rates.

Service Description Unit Rate in $ Item Code/ Product/Service
Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) Backup GB/Month 0.150 TSM BACKUP/GB/MO

Service Details

Prevention of data loss is an ongoing concern for all IT administrators. Whether an accidental deletion of a file, a corruption of a database, or the functional loss of a server or the data center, plans and processes need to be in place to quickly recover a campus member’s environment to a full production status. In order to better support our campus member’s needs for backup and disaster recovery (DR) processes, Texas A&M Division of IT has implemented IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM), a LAN-based data management product. Texas A&M IT's Business Continuance (BC) Team is assigned to manage and monitor these processes.

Methodology

TSM uses a "backup everything" methodology when processing a specific server node. All data accessible (disk, CD, NFS, etc.) is included in a backup scan unless specifically excluded. TSM uses a robust INCLUDE/EXCLUDE rule set for defining a campus member's backup needs. Charging for the TSM backup/DR service is based on total data storage costs (total GB stored).

As originally designed and scaled, TSM's main function is for DR processes, i.e., the timely recovery of a campus member's environment from a point-in-time to full production status. Long-term retention of data (backups) is not generally encouraged, but can be supported. Long-term data migration (commonly called archiving) is not supported past one year due to resource contention. Archiving services may be offered in the future if deemed necessary for campus members.

Backups

Texas A&M Division of IT uses TSM in a "continuous incremental" mode for creating backup and DR copies of campus member’s data. To protect the data from incorrect classification, all data processed through TSM is treated as "sensitive" and is encrypted in-flight between client server and TSM server. For each backup cycle (usually 24 hours), changed files are identified (by comparing to last version) and copied over the LAN to the TSM backup server. Concurrently, data is replicated to a co-located data center in Dallas (Databank).

The BC Team works with each campus member to set up their backup environment to their needs. Though most settings are customizable, the following settings are default:

  • The BC Team initiates and manages the backup/restore processes on the campus member's server(s)
  • The campus member initiates and manages the backup/restore of databases. BC Team provides assistance to DBAs as needed.
  • File level backups done nightly between 6:30 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
  • Retention for copies of each data file set to 14 versions (not days).
  • Retention of expired data (rolled-off version) is 30 days
  • The BC Team works one-on-one with the campus member's to customize inclusion/exclusion lists for volatile and unnecessary data (log files, networked drives, peripherals, etc.)

Recovery

Depending on the type of recovery required (single file, entire system), the BC Team can assist campus members in getting their system back to full working order. Generally, restore requests are made, prioritized and tracked through the ServiceNow system, though service "Enterprise Backup - TSM (TAMU)." Also, an option for customer-initiated restores is available.

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