Should I Use StorSimple for Backups?

Should I Use StorSimple for Backups?

Q: Is my StorSimple device a good target for my organization's backups?

A. The StorSimple device is a great appliance that has a certain amount of in-box storage and also levages Windows Azure Storage to expand what it can store to pretty much a limitless extent. You need to understand that your organization will then have to pay for whatever is stored in Windows Azure Storage at standard Windows Azure rates.

The benefit of StorSimple is it has very powerful algorithms to decide what data should be kept locally on its local storage and what should be stored in Windows Azure Storage to provide the best performance.

Typically the StorSimple device will use up to 85 percent of its local storage and all other data will be stored only in Windows Azure. The process of moving data to Windows Azure Storage is known as tiering.

Consider a 4TB StorSimple appliance. After it's been running for a while and has reached the 85 percent local limit, that leaves only 15 percent (or around 600GB) local space available for its temporary storage and tiering to Windows Azure.

This means if StorSimple was used as a backup target, as soon as that 600GB was consumed, all additional data would have to wait as the data was sent to Windows Azure. This would likely cause a huge drop in backup throughput, even if you had a fast Internet connection.

A typical StorSimple appliance could support between 100-250MB/s depending on your exact configuration, whereas even with a 100Mb/s Internet connection, that would only be around 12.5MB/s, which is around a tenth of the previous throughput.

It's for this reason that StorSimple is really not suited to be the target for backups and is instead aimed at workloads that can really benefit from its tiering capabilities, such as file servers, Exchange archives, low IO Hyper-V workloads, and more.

Some Microsoft partners also leverage Windows Azure Storage for long term retention and tiering that might be better suited as backup targets.

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