IDS Benefits from Bacula Enterprise
The Institut für Deutsche Sprache (IDS) was looking at how it could improve its backup infrastructure. “We needed a reliable backup solution, one that could take us towards a fully centralized solution, with everything consolidated. We have a variety of servers with different kinds of data to back up. Some are small machines that can run a full back up in minutes. But other, larger machines take days to make a full backup. Even with a fast network, the machine speed was limiting us”, said Oliver Schonefeld, Head of IT Technology at the Institut für Deutsche Sprache (IDS).
The IDS was considering a variety of commercial solutions. “But with these vendors, not only it was really complicated to arrive at a precise price, it was also clear that their prices were very high. Then Ulm University recommended to us that we try Bacula Enterprise”, said Oliver.
Oliver and his team decided to build a new backup system from scratch that could automatically manage the backup of the sheer amount of data that the IDS had. “For example, we wanted backup level capabilities such as ‘Incremental Forever’, so that we could meet our backup window targets. Identifying these requirements led us back to Bacula Enterprise, and so we made the decision to deploy Bacula at the IDS”, said Oliver.
“We had been using Bacula community edition since 2010 and I had also used Bacula successfully at my previous job. When we talked to Bacula Systems about the technical details, two things convinced us to use Bacula Enterprise: firstly, the compatibility with NDMP and secondly, the fact that Bacula Systems is a major contributor to the Bacula open source project”, said Oliver.
“Deployment efforts were more around getting the new hardware approved, and setting up the new machines. And since we already knew Bacula pretty well, the actual deployment went pretty smoothly. I had attended the Bacula Admin I and Bacula Admin II training courses, and I talked a lot with the support guys. They were very helpful, and this also helped us to quickly get up and running. For example, we used to do backup solely on disk, but then we got a tape library and the Bacula Systems team gave us help with getting it properly integrated”, said Oliver.
The IDS also chose Bacula because of its flexibility and the possibility to extend it with scripts, such as dumping databases to files. “We also do snapshots of specific filesystems using scripts. For management and monitoring, we use mostly the command line interface to Bacula in our day-to-day work, and we use BAT sometimes for looking at volumes” said Oliver.
“Our IT department is mostly focused on Linux and Windows. For virtualization we use VMware and we have about 50 physical machines, although not all of them are important to backup. We have about 60 virtual machines. We also have some proprietary requirements like our NetApp filer that does NDMP. Because the IDS has some Windows machines, having the advanced Windows inter-operability and capability of Bacula Enterprise helped us a lot. And it’s nice to know that Bacula has some other very useful inter-operability tools that we can choose to use at any time”, said Oliver.
“Bacula gave us the university discount. In fact, regarding pricing, one of the things I like about Bacula is that its license model is really fair. It is based on how many machines you have and the actual amount of data that needs to be backed up is not relevant, so it is completely unlimited. You just choose the subscription level that is appropriate for you, and we found it to be a really good deal. Afterwards, it gets even easier because there is no license manager – instead it is based on trust” said Oliver.
“We have a large collection of newspaper articles and other text files. Right now it has about 27 billion words. We run tools that enrich the data, using word types, and they can expand the data volume quickly. For example, for half a terabyte of raw data, we get about 3.5 terabytes in addition of annotations. These are text files and it is a big amount even after compression, so we just store the critical data. How and where the data is backed up is a question of how fast we might need to recover the data. Some data is more time-critical in a recovery situation, for example, the web services and the file server data. But Bacula handles all of these varying needs, no problem”, said Oliver.
“We have our own data center here in-house, but the main backup infrastructure is in the data center of the University of Mannheim, where we rented co-location space. We are fortunate that we have a 10GB fiber connection to their data center, which is 2.5 kilometers away. So we can store a lot of backed up data offsite” said Oliver.
“I am happy with Bacula Systems. It is a nice company and the people there are very helpful. I really enjoyed the professional instruction and support and the training classes were especially good!” said Oliver.