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How Agentless Backup Works

January 11th, 2018 by BrightCloud

Agent based backup and recovery software requires an agent to be installed onto each server that a system administrator wants to backup. The complexity of agent management is further complicated by the growing number of applications that also require agents running on the same servers. This proliferation of agents and its associated drain on CPU resources is often referred to as “agent pollution”.

Agent Based Backup Architecture

Agentless backup does not require any agents to be installed, completely eliminating the negative impact of agents. It instead reaches out over the network to backup operating systems, file systems, and applications, using industry-standard programming interfaces, which inherently makes it easier to install and support than other backup and recovery solutions.

To understand how an agentless solution backs up data over a network without the use of agents, consider how a local hard drive on a typical PC can be accessed remotely.

A system administrator only needs the right permissions to access that local hard drive over the network. A disk-to-disk backup is performed by simply copying the contents of the hard drive to another hard drive on the network. BrightCloud Backup is based on Asigra which uses a sophisticated extension of this idea, unlike other software that requires agents on every machine. Our solution is simple and elegant in concept, on a broad variety of operating systems and data types.

The architecture consists of two software components: the DS-Client and the DS-System.

The DS-Client

DS-Client software, installed on one server (Windows, Macintosh, or Linux) at each local and remote site, captures data from its target backup machines. The DS-Client then processes the data to reduce its size (compression and deduplication), encrypts it for security, and then transmits the data via IP WAN to the DS-System at the storage location.

The DS-Client does not require installation of any backup agents on its target machines. The DS-Client fully integrates with NT domains, Trusts and Novell NDS trees, and otherwise adopts the remote site’s existing LAN security settings. Using standard APIs, the DS-Client can remotely log into target backup systems, capture requested data, and securely manage transmissions to the central site. Utilizing common data reduction technologies, the DS-Client minimizes the amount of data transmitted and stored at the on-site or off site vault.

The DS-System

The DS-System manages the storage repository for backup data transmitted from one or multiple DS-Clients. The DS-System (configured as direct-attached disk, NAS or SAN) can be installed on Linux and Windows platforms.

Our software integrates a comprehensive feature set designed to maximize and accelerate data recoverability. An Autonomic Healing module, for example, runs seamlessly in the background to identify and isolate corrupt or otherwise problematic files. If a corrupt file is found to be irreparable, it is tagged to be re-transmitted on the next scheduled backup. Another feature, the Local Restore tool, allows remote-office storage of backup data.

This ensures that local users can restore critical data immediately and at LAN speed.

Additional tools include an Online File Summary, Long Term Storage policy-making, a Discovery Tool to automatically ascertain characteristics of primary data, Email Message Level Restore, Bare Metal Restore capability, Client and System Monitoring, and SNMP Integration.

Agentless Backup Diagram

Agentless Backup Architecture

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