CCE Theses and Dissertations


Storage Reduction for Distributed disk-Based Backup in Storage Area Network

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Junping Sun

Committee Member

Marlyn Kemper Littman

Committee Member

Peter Lin


For many organizations today, data is their most important asset. How to safeguard the data in this dynamic environment is an important issue in any organization. The backup process is cumbersome in large organizations. Typically, the backup saves files from a network client to a remote storage location on a daily basis. This means that the same file, often in multiple versions, is saved and stored many times, resulting in excessive storage. A distributed disk-based backup system collects the data to be backed up from network clients and stores files remotely on multiple storage locations in the network. In recent years, Storage Area Network (SAN) has become a popular solution to effectively store or access huge amounts of enterprise information. A SAN is a dedicated storage network designed specifically to connect storage, backup devices, and servers. By consolidating storage in one location, customers benefit from efficiencies of management, utilization, and reliability. Since there is no end in sight to the exponential growth of enterprise data, storage reduction technology plays an important role in enterprise backup. The goal of this study is to investigate how to effectively reduce storage usage through a distributed disk-based backup system in a SAN. The working name for the distributed backup system used for this study is SAN-Backup system. In SAN-Backup system, the backup storage reduction can be made at file level, block level, and backup catalog level. The design and development of this distributed disk-based backup system utilized a phased approach. The prototype of SAN-Backup system was validated through enterprise backup environments. The validation process included backup storage usage and backup performance comparisons between a backup application with an embedded storage reduction technology and a backup application without an embedded storage reduction technology both running in a SAN. The test results showed that SAN-Backup system reduced storage usage by 55.9% when compared to Backup Express Enterprise backup system, and also improved the overall backup performance by 43.74%. The test results indicated that SAN-Backup system did significantly reduce the backup storage usage and also improved the backup performance.

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