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Best practices for sharing a SAN-attached tape loader between servers.

When configuring zones to allow a tape loader to be shared by multiple servers, is there a preferred zoning method?

For instance, I have my primary fabric configured so that the zone for each data server using a LUN on my array consists of the primary port of the HBA on the server and the primary port of the HBA for each controller on my array.

My backup server does not use any LUNs on the array, so its zone consists solely of its primary HBA port and the HBA port of the tape loader.

If I want give my data servers access to the tape loader, should I add the tape loader's port to the zone of each server, or should I add the port of each server to the zone that currently consists of only the backup server and the tape loader?

Or does it matter?

The network is small:

One Windows server dedicated to backup, three NetWare servers handling data storage and 12 other VM servers running a mixture of Linux, NetWare, and Windows that handle various services but don't contain any significant amounts of data.

My intent is to give the 3 data servers access to the tape loader directly, so that their backup streams don't involve the LAN.

The remaining servers are small enough that backing them up over the LAN is not an issue.

I doubt that it matters for this, but the SAN switches are MDS9124's and the SAN array is an HDS AMS2100 with active/active controllers.

All server HBA's are dual port, as are the HBA's on each array controller.

In addition to the primary zone, each server and the array controllers are attached to a failover zone via the 2nd port of the HBA's.

Unfortunately, my backup software doesn't support NDMP, so I can't back up the array LUN's directly to the tape loader.

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Best practices for sharing a SAN-attached tape loader between se

NDMP is for backing up NAS platforms.

Does your backup software support "LAN-Free" backup ? Typically enterprise backup software like Netbackup, TSM, Networker require a special license/agent that gets loaded on server where you are going to implement LAN-Free backups. Without that software/license servers will be fighting for tape resources and it will be a mess (if it works at all). Also you want to use dedicated HBA or port on dual HBA for tape traffic, do not mix tape and disk traffic on the same HBA/port. In big shops people configure dedicated "tape" VSANs but that would be an overkill for your current environment.

@dynamoxxx

@dynamoxxx
2 REPLIES
Silver

Best practices for sharing a SAN-attached tape loader between se

NDMP is for backing up NAS platforms.

Does your backup software support "LAN-Free" backup ? Typically enterprise backup software like Netbackup, TSM, Networker require a special license/agent that gets loaded on server where you are going to implement LAN-Free backups. Without that software/license servers will be fighting for tape resources and it will be a mess (if it works at all). Also you want to use dedicated HBA or port on dual HBA for tape traffic, do not mix tape and disk traffic on the same HBA/port. In big shops people configure dedicated "tape" VSANs but that would be an overkill for your current environment.

@dynamoxxx

@dynamoxxx
New Member

Best practices for sharing a SAN-attached tape loader between se

Thanks for the reply.

Yes, the software I use has support for shared tape devices and I have the applicable license.

Unfortunately, I cannot dedicate an HBA port on the servers for tape traffic, since the 2nd port is set up for multi-path failover.

The servers only have 2 expansion slots and both are in use, so I can't add an additional HBA.

Oh well, I guess I'll have to choose between failover and reduced backup windows....

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