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Lennart_T

Buying a new server

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Hi.

 

Our Retrospect server is a 2GHz Pentium 4 with 1GB of RAM. We currently run Retrospect 7.0, but will upgrade to 7.5 later this year.

 

The PC simply won't cut it anymore (CPU usage running high), so we need to buy a new one. We run Disk-to-disk-to-tape and have a SCSI-connected Sony LIB-D81 autoloader with a Sony AIT-2 drive inside.

The Retrospect server backs up 20 servers and 65 clients, both Windows and Mac. We run at most 3 executions simultaneously.

 

I need some recommendations. Coming from the Mac world, I know PowerPC processors by heart, but Intel...

Is Retrospect fully threaded so we should go for multiple CPUs? Or dual core? Xeon or Core2duo? Or even AMD?

How much RAM do we need? (It seems as 1GB is enough as usage rarely goes over 700MB)

Currently we run Windows 2000 Server. Should we go for Windows 2003 Server or is Win XP enough? Any advantages/disadvantages?

 

Later this year we need to buy a new loader, too. AIT-2 has given us good service, but it now requires 14 tapes for a full weekly backup. Going to AIT-3 will require 7 tapes, which almost fills the 8 tape loader anyway.

Is LTO Ultrium 3 the way to go? Should we still use SCSI?

 

Whew! That was many questions and I'm not sure I didn't forget something important. I'm sure you will inform me, if that's the case. smile.gif

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First off, I need to let you know you are at the limit of what Retrospect can back up on a single server. If you add more clients or (more importantly) more servers it is recommended you add a second backup server.

 

That being said, you will be hard pressed finding a single core processor any more and there will be no savings if you could. Go multi-core. Xeon, Core2duo, AMD...all irrelevant as far as Retrospect performance; go with what your budget can handle but higher clock speed is better.

 

Don't discount the value of more RAM. If your system is using 700MB of physical memory for all applications, (Retrospect btw is only using 300MB max roughly on your 1GB) then going to 2GB of memory will give Windows more overhead to operate in physical RAM rather than page file space.

 

Since Windows 2000 server mainstream support ended a year and a half ago and support ends completely in a couple years, I would suggest going to Server 2003. You can use Windows XP but I wouldn't in your environment.

 

Finally, as far as tape drives, if you can afford it go LTO3 or DLT-S4 for speed. I have seen local backup running between 2 and 4GB/min on LTO3 and DLT-S4. Stick with SCSI for the fast file writes.

 

Good luck with your new machine!

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Thank you for your reply.

 

Can you please elaborate a bit:

1) All this PC will ever do is run Retrospect. Currently, peak (virtual) memory usage is 1GB. Is there really any swapping/paging going on when the PC has 1GB of physical RAM?

2) What is wrong with Windows XP? (Coming from the Mac world, I don't really understand the difference from Win 2003 Server.)

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Quote:

1) All this PC will ever do is run Retrospect. Currently, peak (virtual) memory usage is 1GB. Is there really any swapping/paging going on when the PC has 1GB of physical RAM?

 


 

Suffice it to say that 2GB is going to be far faster than 1GB especially if you are seeing 1GB of paging memory being used. I could expound on the default use of a 4GB paging file with 2GB reserved for programs and 2GB for the operating system and how page file is dramatically slower than physical memory. What matters is that 2GB of physical memory seems to be the current 'sweet spot' for 32 bit XP/2000/2003.

 

Quote:

2) What is wrong with Windows XP? (Coming from the Mac world, I don't really understand the difference from Win 2003 Server.)

 


 

One word: Stability. Windows Server 2003 (as with all their server OSes) is built to run 24/7/365. Windows XP is not.

 

Hope that helps.

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We just purchased a new Power Edge 2950 for backups and file serving. It's loaded with dual 2ghz dual core xeons with 4g of ram running windows storage server 2003 R2. All thru a gigabit switch. We're still working out some kinks in the software, but Retrospect has been able to take anything we throw at it with ease so far. We run disk to disk to tape as well with aproximately 20 clients (all servers) backed up to a 4tb powervault array, then to tape.

 

Good luck with your new machine.

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I use a SDLT4 800/1.6gb per tape.

 

Its a 8 disk auto loader so 12TB per loader.

 

We paid 4,500$ from PC connection, its great.

 

Sounds like you need a LTO3 or a SDLT would work better for you.

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Thank you all.

One HP ProLiant DL360 G5 Server series on order (with 2GB RAM and dual core Xeon) smile.gif

 

New tape loader has to wait a few months.

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Quote:

First off, I need to let you know you are at the limit of what Retrospect can back up on a single server.

 


 

What gives you that idea? speechlessgrem1.gif What determines the limit is whether Retrospect has enough time in the backup window to reach all the clients. The post doesn't tell us how much the size of the data set or how long the backup window is, but the user is just doing 3 executions at once and Retrospect can handle 8. My impression is that this doesn't even come close to what Retrospect is capable of.

 

Quote:

If you add more clients or (more importantly) more servers it is recommended you add a second backup server.

 


 

I'd bet the user could probably triple the number of clients before needing a second server!

 

Quote:

.all irrelevant as far as Retrospect performance;

 


 

Retrospect is not threaded, but you do get some benefit from dual/dual-core CPU. The rest of OS is always responsive.

 

Quote:

Going to AIT-3 will require 7 tapes, which almost fills the 8 tape loader anyway.

 


 

What about AIT-4?

 

Quote:

What matters is that 2GB of physical memory seems to be the current 'sweet spot' for 32 bit XP/2000/2003.

 


 

Quote:

2) What is wrong with Windows XP? (Coming from the Mac world, I don't really understand the difference from Win 2003 Server.)

 


 

Windows Server 2003 64-bit edition is bulletproof. Ours has never crashed in 2+ years. Even though Retrospect is not 64-bit, it does take advantage of the additional memory and I'd say 4 GB is the "sweet" spot.

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Thank you.

 

I didn't know about AIT-4 and while investigating, AIT-5 showed up, too. Yes it's worth considering.

 

It's good to know we can grow the number of clients.

 

Are you sure that Retrospect isn't threaded? In the Disk-to-disk-to-tape white paper from EMC/dantz it says:

"For every 2 tape devices, ensure you have at least 1 additional CPU."

At least that implies threading, don't you think?

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