Read legacy backup data from more than 100,000 tapes

Sep 16, 2022

The Client

A manufacturer

The Situation

As part of an IT services consolidation process, the customer decided to move from data centers managed by an MSP to Microsoft's Azure Cloud. To achieve this goal, the company sought an easy-to-use and cost-effective solution for all legacy backup data from multiple servers, created with different backup programs on more than 100,000 tapes.

The customer's tapes had to be able to withstand a long storage period and included file formats from the last three decades. The backup tape types include DAT, DDS, DLT, and LTO, and the backup software used also varied. In addition, IBM TSM, ArcServe, and HP DataProtector were all used to write data onto the tapes. The data backed up in their existing major data centers was found to be layered to speed up the backup process. After analysis, it was discovered that some of the written tape media reported up to three separate layers of backup.

In short, the company needed a solution that could handle all these catalog files from different tapes.

The Solution

All available catalogs of the different backup solutions were delivered to Ontrack. Once collected, all of the tape inventory catalogs were consolidated, and it was then possible to identify specific data. Therefore, when specific data is needed, we were able to identify the desired file and generate a list of tape IDs needed to restore the files. Using this report, the tapes are processed with proprietary tape extraction tools that are independent of the original backup agent used to create the tape. The necessary files are then transferred to an encrypted external hard drive, ready for shipment to the customer's own data center. When the files are small enough, they can be uploaded to a secure FTP site for immediate customer download.

When the customer required a restoration of multi-layered tape backups, all of Ontrack's expertise was deployed. We were able to recover large WAFL files that were spread across multiple tapes to form one contiguous file. The WAFL file, which was essentially an NDMP dump of the NetApp Filer LUN, contained numerous iSCSI snapshots. In cases where the tapes contain iSCSI snapshots, Ontrack used its proprietary data recovery tools to extract the native files. In fact, this task consisted of two parts; tape restoration and data recovery. We were able to leverage our 35 years of experience in data recovery and tape recovery to extract the files to a native file format.

The Resolution

When a "Business As Usual" restoration request, an internal investigation, or a legal request comes into the customer's IT department, they are now able to quickly deliver the legacy data.

By leveraging Ontrack's comprehensive tape services, the customer now has significant cost savings from their legacy tape management. The customer had considered staying with the MSP to facilitate tape restore requests, but this involved maintenance and licensing of legacy software and hardware products, as well as the cost of managing these environments. Migrating large amounts of tape for storage in a new cloud solution would also have been excessively expensive. Where the customer could have spent more than $250,000 a year maintaining their legacy tape environment, they now save up to 90% of that cost.

Simply put, using Ontrack's unique solution, the company can now dismantle its legacy backup system to cut costs.
 
More about Ontrack backup tape services https://www.ontrack.com/en-us/tape-services