The new HFS on-site disk-based backup service


The old tape-based HFS backup service has now moved to an on-premise, disk-based backup architecture which brings with it improved performance and service to the backup of the University's information assets. The disk-based architecture is now in place in two data centres, allowing the asynchronous replication of client backups across sites ensuring both speed and security of those backups while all the time retaining online availability of those backups for immediate recovery. Modern back-up technologies including deduplication and compression will deliver efficiency savings in storage while strong encryption of data in transit and at rest will ensure the continued security of client data. All data has now been moved from the old service to the new, however migration also requires action on the computer being backed up. . If you have not yet reconfigured your system to use the new service please see the details of the migration process which can be found on the link below:

    The migration process to the new service    

A note about data risk

The service holds copies of all data on servers at two physically separate datacentres. There is no offline copy of backed-up data, and the service is not resilient against simultaneous loss of data integrity at both sites.  Customers with critical datasets requiring a higher level of resilience should consider whether additional backup measures are required.

Benefits of the new service

  • The service is now back to a dual-site fully resilient architecture.
  • Client data is encrypted both in transit and at rest.
  • Disk-based storage provides faster restores.
  • Deduplication allows deeper versioning of files beyond the previous standard 2 versions.
  • Deduplication allows faster backups in some use cases
  • Backups are time-limited (8-hours) rather than capacity-limited
  • Deduplication and compression offer improved capacity limits.


The solution continues to be licensed on capacity so there will continue to be both a fair use presumption as well as upper limits on total backup storage; these are yet to be decided, and experience will shape this.

  • Continues to use IBM Spectrum Protect software
  • Initial versioning has been set at 7 versions held for 90 days – this may be increased once we have more insight into how data storage grows
  • Backup window is no longer constrained by capacity, but instead by time – 8 hours per client.
  • Scheduled backups run overnight as previously but now 7 days a week (previously was 6 days a week).
  • There is no distinction between 'server' and 'desktop' systems - all systems get a daily backup schedule
  • Client encrypted data is not compatible with deduplication and compression technologies: encryption in transit and at rest removes the need for client encryption so that the IBM SP client must be able to access the unencrypted data.
  • A modern and highly functional solution for both server and endpoint back-up
  • Improved long term value for money, compared to the benefits received for the annual cost of the current back-up service
  • An enhanced central back-up service, reducing the need for Divisions, Departments and Colleges to seek their own back-up solutions
  • An improved speed of recovery for business critical applications, in the event of Major Incidents that destroy or corrupt data


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