The HFS backup service: technical information


CrashPlan is a cloud based backup service. The Oxford University service backs up to data centres in Ireland.

Authentication to the service uses the Oxford Single Sign On. To use the service you therefore need both an Oxford SSO and a corresponding account created on the CrashPlan service.

The HFS Hub (communicating with the HFS Portal) creates an account for you on the CrashPlan service during installation of the CrashPlan client (assuming you have logged in with your SSO and have a University card status that entitles you to use the service).

For information on how CrashPlan works see the page CrashPlan Architecture on the CrashPlan web site and links therein.

Spectrum Protect

The Spectrum Protect service is provided using pairs of IBM Spectrum Protect servers running on AIX on IBM Power systems. Each pair is split between two data centres with one of the pair being a primary server and the other a replica.

Clients (nodes) back up to the primary server where the data is stored on disk. Data deduplication and compression is used to reduce both the amount of storage space required on disk and the amount of data that needs to be transferred from the client. After deduplication and compression the data is encrypted for storage on disk.

Once a day new data on the primary is replicated to the replica server thus providing a second copy of the backed up data. Spectrum Protect supports automatic failover for restore so should the primary server be unavailable clients can still restore their data.

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