On Tuesday we had a look around our customer's data centers here in Austria – hidden away in the labryinthine bowels of a very large building in Vienna. Typical data centre with a halon fire extinguishing system but exceptional in its neatness and organization. The star of the show was their new HP Superdome – 32 dual-core Itaniums with 1/2 a terabyte of memory. Very nice – providing a lot of headroom for their workload to grow (currently at four hundred thousand SQL statements per *second* – spelled out to show there's no accidentally added zeros).
One of the systems they showed us is responsible for doing backups. They stripe the backups across 12 devices using multiple network cards and can manage to backup 2 terabytes in two hours after tweaking the BLOCKSIZE, BUFFERCOUNT, and MAXTRANSFERSIZE! Now comes the cool(er) part - with backup compression on SQL Server 2008 they've benchmarked backing up 2 terabytes in 36 minutes! That's a pretty awesome number and makes for some excellent disaster recovery times.
(Details printed with permission)