Deployment Planning Considerations for Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files
Published 05 May 2006
Authors: Vasfi Gucer
Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files is specifically targeted at end-user computers such as laptops and workstations, as well as file servers. It provides continuous data protection of files, providing the highest level of protection possible, yet is simple to use and administer. When files change, Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files will make up to three copies of the file (or queue copies to be made later).
This Technote summarizes deployment planning considerations for Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files.
Although it is fairly simple to install and configure Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files, it is worth your while to spend a little time considering how to deploy the product so that you will get the most out of it. In this Technote we discuss general considerations to keep in mind as you install and configure the product.
For a single machine installation, the most important consideration is to make sure that you have a window of time to configure the product so that it is working most efficiently for you. Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files is a “set it and forget it” type of product, so once you have it set up, it will run in the background and you will be mostly unaware of it until you need to restore a critical file. To make sure that you can easily restore the correct version of a file at that critical point, it is well worth spending a little time up front to review your configuration.
Before you begin, consider the following questions:
- What are my critical files?
- Do I need scheduled backup?
- Where should I back my files up to?
- How often do I need to back up different types of files?
- Do I need the Vault feature?
We discuss these in detail in the following paragraphs.
What are my critical files?
By default, Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files will back up the contents of your \My Documents\ folder, along with a few other file types. If you typically save all of your critical documents under this directory path, then you will not need to add anything to the inclusion list. If, however, you save critical files in a different directory path, you should consider what type of files they are, and where they get saved. Some programs select a different path by default, or you may have set up a different location for some files. In this case, you must consider where those files get saved, what type of files they are, and what the file extension is. Depending on your situation, you will need to add either the directory path or the file extension to your inclusion list.
Do I need scheduled backup?
Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files also offers a more traditional form of backup, which by default includes all files on your hard drive except for the files included in your Exclusion list. You can back up these files to either a remote server or your pre-configured TSM server. We highly recommend that you include scheduled backup as an option if it is possible in your environment for the following reasons:
- You may have missed some important file types in your inclusion list.
- You may install software that creates a new directory structure for saving files, and thus would not be caught by the inclusion list.
- There may be other files that get damaged or accidentally deleted that are important for the operation of various programs on your computer. Having these files backed up on a schedule may prevent having to reinstall software.
Important: The Scheduled Protection option offered in Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files cannot be used to do a complete system restore in the event of total hard drive failure. It does not take a complete “snapshot” including system files (which would be required for a complete system restore).
Where should I back my files up to?
The default location for continuous data protection is to a local disk on your computer. Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files will automatically select the drive with the most free space as the target location. The primary use of this backup site is for you to have immediate access to recently saved versions of your files. If you save a version of a file but need to undo that save, or if you mistakenly delete an important file, you can easily restore a previously saved version of the file from your local backup. If you are working on a computer that is not connected to a network or any type of external storage, this will be your only backup location. If you have access to some sort of remote storage you will probably want to consider one or more of the other backup options. These options include a local hard drive (local network or USB drive), a remote file server, and a remote TSM server. We highly recommend using the remote backup option if at all possible in case of an event that your hard drive fails or is lost. You will need to know the fully qualified UNC path for your remote drive to configure it properly. Check with your network administrator if you do not know what to use.
Tip: If you will be backing up several computers to a single network drive, you do not need to set up a separate folder for each user. Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files will create a unique folder for each computer with the computer’s network name at the top of the directory structure, directly underneath the RealTimeBackup folder.
How often do I need to back up different types of files?
There is no easy answer to this question. The very best, but totally impractical, configuration would be to back up every version of every file and keep them forever. Since this is not possible, you need to think about what best suits your needs. If you are going to implement either the remote continuous option or the scheduled backup option, you will need to think about both the volume of your backup and the timing of it.
Although this backup option is labeled continuous, this is not always literally true. Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files makes note of all of your file saves, but if you are not currently connected to the network, or if you are in between the time intervals you have set up for TSM backups, a list of file changes will be kept to be backed up at the next possible time.
When you are selecting a time interval for TSM backups, keep in mind that the most recently saved version of a file will be sent when your TSM interval is due. That is, if you set your TSM interval for 30 minutes, and you save a file 10 times in that interval, only the last version of the file will be sent to your TSM server. The number of versions of that file kept in TSM is configured in TSM.
Although you do not explicitly set the time interval for continuous remote backups to a file server, you should keep in mind what percentage of time you are connected to the network. This will have an impact on the number of versions you select to keep on the remote target before they are eligible to be purged.
Do I need the Vault feature?
In some cases, you may have files that need to be preserved in their exact format for a period of time. One way to do this is to write them to a CD-ROM. However, with the Vault feature in Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files, you can protect these files in the same way. Once they are considered to be in the Vault, they cannot be changed in any way. They are available as read-only versions and cannot be altered or deleted. Some users may need this function for regulatory reasons. For example, if you are required to keep financial records in their original form for seven years, you can put these files in a directory covered under the Vault function. Tivoli Continuous Data Protection for Files will protect them from editing and deletion.
This material has not been submitted to any formal IBM test and is published AS IS. It has not been the subject of rigorous review. IBM assumes no responsibility for its accuracy or completeness. The use of this information or the implementation of any of these techniques is a client responsibility and depends upon the client's ability to evaluate and integrate them into the client's operational environment.
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