NASA Chooses Bacula Enterprise to Back Up IBM HPSS
A vast number of NASA sites are now relying on Bacula Enterprise to protect its data, to a greater extent than any other backup solution. One example is NASA Langley, which was using SyncSort Backup Express (“BEX”) backed by an IBM High-Performance Storage System (HPSS) hierarchical storage management system to backup 250TB of data from some 300 scientific computing and mission support systems. In 2013 NASA Langley began evaluating various products to replace BEX; alternative software products evaluated included Amanda Enterprise, Arkeia, Commvault Simpana and Bacula Enterprise.
“Of those evaluated, Bacula Enterprise was the only product that worked with HPSS out -of-the-box without vendor development. provided multi-user access (BWeb), had encryption compliant with Federal Information Processing Standards, did not have a capacity-based licensing model, and was available within budget”, said Mr. Barkstrom, Systems Administrator at SSAI (NASA Langley contractor).
“We evaluated Bacula Enterprise for about three months and attended ‘Bacula Admin I’ training. The ‘Admin I’ training was helpful to us in becoming more familiar with the product, as well as providing excellent technical hands-on training for our system administration personnel” said Mr. Barkstrom.
NASA Langley decided that Bacula Enterprise was the solution able to meet its rigorous requirements. The deployment period was about 4 months to migrate all clients from the old system to Bacula, and was extended over that period to allow for tape media migration from BEX to Bacula data in HPSS. The most important criteria in NASA’s selection of Bacula were:
- Ease of integration with an existing Hierarchical Storage Manager (HSM)
- Ability to transfer data over SAN from satellite storage servers (storage daemons) distributed about NASA Langley’s campus.
- Centralized web-based management allowing delegation of different groups of backup clients and operations to different system administrators in various organizations.
- Provision of encrypted backups that are compliant with U.S. Federal Information Processing Standards.
- Highest levels of security options and functionality in backup software
NASA Langley’s IBM HPSS implementation consists of an Oracle SL8500 tape library using Oracle T1OOOC tape drives (STB) providing a sliding capacity file system to Bacula for its disk volumes, presently l.5PB in size. Current capacity of Bacula backups are 300TB client-side and 750TB serverside, with a 225GB Bacula catalog database. An additional 24-tape LT0-4 library is managed by Bacula.
The Bacula implementation at NASA Langley leverages the IBM HPSS hierarchical storage manager (HSM) to provide migration to/from tape media; from the Bacula perspective, all of its data resides on volumes on disk. “Because Bacula Enterprise does not place small metadata files unnecessarily in the disk storage structure of a virtual tape volume device directory- unlike some competitors – Bacula can be deployed easily within an IBM HPSS environment. Additionally, because of Bacula’s flexibility in device and volume configuration – specifically in unique volume naming, labeling, and allowing volumes to be used only once – management of disk volumes is simplified in an HSM: purged volumes are simply removed from the HSM, which is a database-only operation in HPSS and does not require reading the files from tape to disk for the volumes to be purged, saving disk space and eliminating 110 when volumes are purged”, said Mr. Barkstrom.
The impressive flexibility of Bacula to handle multiple libraries, multiple storage servers, encrypt backups, provide centralized management, significantly increase data security and provide additional features such as Bare Metal Recovery met and exceeded the selection criteria.
“Bacula Enterprise gave us a cost savings of about 20% over renewal of support with SyncSort BEX. while providing an additional 200 client licenses, MySQL server backup plugin, and Bare Metal Recovery plugin” said Mr. Barkstrom.
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Langley Research Center is a research campus with several thousand employees and numerous computing facilities for aeronautics and spaceflight research. Data from many missions and experiments are modeled, stored and analyzed at NASA Langley.
To know more about NASA, visit www.nasa.gov