Avamar Tape Out using Data Transport

January 28, 2010

One hot topic when discussing Avamar always seems to be tape out for weekly and monthly backups. In the past it has been a functionality that was missing from Avamar. All that has changed with the release of Avamar Data Transport.
Avamar Data Transport is a server that runs virtually inside ESX 3.5 U4 or ESX 4.0. The Data Transport is a virtual 1TB node that acts as a replication partner to a primary Avamar server, once the replication job is complete, the data is then moved to tape.
It is currently EMC best practices to run at least 2 transport nodes in your environment, currently Avamar supports up to 4 transport nodes.

Avamar Data Transport system requirements:

  • Supports 1 to 22 TB configurations
  • Avamar versions 4.1.0, 4.1.1 or 4.1.2
  • A dedicated ESX server only running Avamar Data Transport Node and Control Node
  • ESX Host must have at least 4 gigabit Ethernet NICs with teaming capabilities for the Avamar Data Transport VM Network in addition to the dedicated NIC for the ESX VMKernel and Service Console
  • Tape backup server with either EMC Networker (versions 7.4 SP4 or 7.5SP1) or Symantec NetBackup
  • Memory requirements for the ESX server are as follows: Control Node 2 GB, Transport Node 4 GB each
  • Disk requirements are as follows: Control Node 60-90GB, Transport Node 1.56 TB of disk space for each node

Avamar Data Transport require two Avamar systems, a primary that replicates to the secondary Avamar that then exports out to tape, here is a diagram of all the components needed:



  1. This tape out functionality is not meant for daily tape out needs. Weekly or Monthly is approriate.

  2. What I understand from this short description is that the “tape out feature” is basically nothing more than replicating to a virtual Avamar server. This virtual Avamar server is then backed up by a backup solution as NetBackup that protects full VMguests to tape.

    First of all, this requires double amount of storage on disk for staging and second of all requires a dedicated virtual infrastructure. How long does this replication and backup to tape take?

    Let’s be honest here, the restore process is very cumbersome as it requires you to restore the FULL VMguest first to an available ESX server before you can actually restore a single file or dataset to your client.

    Avamar doesn’t seem to have real integration with a backup to tape solution. Overall I don’t see this as an innovative solution, that lacks the scalability for an enterprise environment.
    How do you keep track of the different tape outs and how do you correlate which version is stored where on tape? All questions that pop up when looking at this solution more in detail.

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