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Backup Solution Help

Posted on 2002-07-08
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Does anyone know a good source of infromation that would help a small business develop a backup solution that will not break the budget? There is a lot for large businesses but I cannot find any good info on backup solutions for a small business.
Thanks
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Question by:mrtorino
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by:SysExpert
ID: 7138359
The solutions are similar, it is the implementation that is different.

1) What are you backing up - Just servers are also workstations ?

2) How much data ?

3) How often ?

The win2k Server NTBACKUP has a good explanation of Backups since it is a scaled down version of Veritas.

Check Veritas.com and any other large backup corp. They also have smaller versions for smaller needs.

I hope this helps !
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by:SysExpert
ID: 7138380
You also need to do an ROI on disaster recovery so that you can get the budget for your backups.

What is the cost of recovering data lost in the last hour, 24 Hrs, week ?

What happens if you do NOT have backups and a disaster strikes ?

Good Luck !
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by:SysExpert
ID: 7138381
You also need to do an ROI on disaster recovery so that you can get the budget for your backups.

What is the cost of recovering data lost in the last hour, 24 Hrs, week ?

What happens if you do NOT have backups and a disaster strikes ?

Good Luck !
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by:mrtorino
ID: 7138397
We are backing up 3 Servers and about 13 10/100 connected workstations. It will be around 100GB I would guess but not everyday. Incremental would be used throughout the week and a full once a week or so. That is what I would guess. I am not a backup expert I have choose to spend my time on other items. Now it's biting me in the rear...
I need to have a solution ASAP.
I need some good hardware and software choices that will work with our requirements.
Any recommendations?
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by:SysExpert
ID: 7138630
Buy a DLT Library and either Veritas Backup Exec or CA ArcServe.
That should cover you.
You need to also think about future capacity/growth.

You should be buying now for at least the next 24 months.

I hope this helps !
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by:magarity
ID: 7138783
See sysexpert's point about an ROI - you did not comment on that in your reply.  Did you miss it or not understand?  With that info you can plan your budget and we can make some recommendations.

Also, what operating systems are in use?  If you have an all Win2000 operation, for example, the operating system comes with a basic backup utility that works well for most purposes.  Otherwise, you might have to buy software as well as some kind of tape widget.  And when pricing tape drives, don't forget to figure in the price of tapes.  Some proprietary cheap drive will certainly take proprietary expensive tapes.
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by:1cell
ID: 7139569
ironically, i found myself in the same situation as you about two weeks ago when I got hired for a new job.  the previous admin hadn't thought of backup solutions at all and conversely cost the company about $62k in a week.  it wasn't hard to get my budget approved but I didn't want to kill them after a big hit like that.  here's what I did.  it might not apply to your situation but at least it can give you some ideas.

We have one file server running Windows2000server.  Currently, it has one 100GB hard drive but plenty of processor and memory.  it servers as our PDC and also serves Active Directories.  in order to provide a quick solution to hardware failure, we are adding 4 more hard drives to that system which will be combined in RAID 0+1.  This takes care of hardware failure on the storage drives.  The existing drive will be used later and a new 20GB will be used for the system drive carrying windows and all software.  An image of that drive will be maintained in network storage.  if ANYTHING were to go wrong with the system drive it would be a matter of dropping a new one in and loading the image from the network. the same is done for all workstations while critical data for each user is stored in a separate location on the server which is included in the backup process.

We will use active directories to push backups of user directories and file server data to another workstation which will recieve the old 100GB hard drive and just be used as a storage device.  The backups will occur once per night and be maintained for 7 days.  This will take care of the unrecoverable data corruption or virus infection.  At most, we would lose a day of data but there would be almost no downtime.  

Once this system is stable we plan to also push the same backup off-site to storage at a sister company.  at that point, not data, hardware, terrorist, or act of nature could separate us from our data.

obviously, this plan is for less than 100gb per day of backup but it's scalable.  we're planning probably 20gb per day realistically.  it's also just a small chunk of the upgrades we're doing but you can see from the parts list that it wouldn't be too expensive and there's only the maintenance cost of replacing bad disks.  no worry or inconvenience of tapes and tapes can be a pretty time consuming process.

to really get specific on your plan, we need to know what your budget, exact backup size, and what operating systems you're working with.  one thing that never hurts is to have extra parts on hand.  nothing is worse than being taken out of business for an hour because you have to go to the local computer store to buy a nic card.  hard drives, fans, even processors despite the volitile market could be cost effective if they are ready to go when something goes wrong.
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by:mrtorino
ID: 7140910
All right Thanks for all the help I will try to give you some details. I think the budget will be around 2 grand or so. Maybe less Maybe More?
We currently have three servers running Windows NT 4.0. We are going to upgrade one of them to windows 2k and do a complete server upgrade. This will allow the second one to be taken out of service unless I find a need for it somewhere. The third will be in limbo.
We have around 15 workstations that are mostly windows 98. (Win 98 is needed for a critical government dos program that we use) We have a few Windows XP systems also. Each computer will have one directory that will need to be part of the daily backup. This will total around 20 to 30 GB. The servers will also need to be part of the backup but I think it should contain the entire drive. Currently the main drive is only mirrored. The new server will be a 3-drive raid.
We currently have a tape device that has never worked properly and we are abandoning it. We need to have off site storage in case of fire, flood, or other disaster.

I want a good tape drive that will be reliable and will work on it's own for long amounts of time. Of course the disk swapping will be a manual event.

I think if we got a 100GB tape we would have enough to do the entire backup each night.

A short down time is not to costly to the company. Most everything can be accomplished without computers. I would like to defend against it though.

Any comments?
Marques

ROI I understand the Return On Investment if that's what you mean. I will certainly accomplish this.
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by:magarity
ID: 7141249
"I think the budget will be around 2 grand or so. Maybe less Maybe More?"

To price a backup solution:
Assume all company data on current network is totally lost.  How many worker-hours at average payrate is needed to restore all company data?  Any price less than that for a backup solution means the company saves.  And if you really want to get fancy, you can do a time value guestimate of when a total crash will occur and discount the worker-hours price to now.  As a suggestion, assume a total wipeout will occur three years from now.  Discount the price three years at 10% per year.  There's your maximum backup budget.  Make a couple of pretty PowerPoint slides diagramming this logic to present to the boss.  Proceed to recommend a tape drive that costs at least 33% less than this amount and make a big deal of all the money you are saving the company.

To price tapes:
Per hour during the day, how much new data is created?  Use the price per worker-hour in the above to calculate how much you can spend on tapes.  Daily incremental backups in the evening is usually best for most situations.

For the machine that is now a server and headed for limbo, consider making it a dedicated backup server.  Win2000 server and pro both come with a nice backup utility as mentioned already.  Just remember you can't backup Win2000 system state data remotely.
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by:mrtorino
ID: 7141328
Wow Thanks for all the help so far..
Can anyone give me some more suggestions on places to go research different backup solutions so that I can figure out what we might need.
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by:1cell
ID: 7141405
to be honest, once you install Windows2000 server, it sounds like you already have most of the hardware to do what we did and it will set you up for the off-site storage as well.  when you talk about three disk raid, are you planning on just striping them?  There is no redundancy in that.  You would want to use level 5 or 1+0 (requires 4 disks min) so you could get some hardware fault tolerance. Use the second server which you say you might have no use for as a local but remote storage device for nightly backups.  This would handle data corruption or unrecoverable virus infection though you would lose a maximum of 1 day's data. Depending on the size of the total daily backup and how long you will want to keep the backups effects only how many hard drives you should put in the remote system.  Once you decide to push off site, you can do it the exact same way and everything will already be in place.  

For the user directories, do like I did.  Since they are on 98, it's a bit different but you can create logon scripts which will create a user directory on the server and automatically map it to their login.  They can store all data in those directories and thus, you will be able to backup everything from one server.

cost-wise, you're looking at a copy or two of windows 2000 server, a few hard drives, a RAID card, and the time spent reconfiguring the server.  You'd be taking care of the need for backup and save a lot of money in the process.
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by:mrtorino
ID: 7141445
Wow Thanks for all the help so far..
Can anyone give me some more suggestions on places to go research different backup solutions so that I can figure out what we might need.
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by:mrtorino
ID: 7141448
Wow Thanks for all the help so far..
Can anyone give me some more suggestions on places to go research different backup solutions so that I can figure out what we might need.
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by:1cell
ID: 7141529
microsoft has some good info on it.  http://www.microsoft.com/technet/ and search for backup planning.  you'll get more info than you want.
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by:SysExpert
ID: 7141932
OK. Does the 2K include tapes for a year, or just the hardware ?

If you can manage it, start looking for a Tape drive that supports at least 100 Gb Of data backup. This sounds like you will need a library, and 2K is not going to cover anything that I could recommend.

Also see if NTbackup supports a library, as I do not think it does. You would need Veritas or Arcserve to support this I think.

So, If you can find a tape device that can store 100 GB on a single tape , you are in good shape.

Other options.

Buy a Removeable SCSI Hard drive ( 120 GB ) and use NTbackup to backup to that, rather than tape.

This should be within your budget, even if you need to buy 3 or 4 drives.

I hope this helps !
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by:magarity
ID: 7142060
"least 100 Gb Of data backup. This sounds like you will need a library"

A single AIT-2 type tape can hold 130GB so a library isn't really needed in this situation right away.

For example:
http://www.storagebysony.com/categories/categorymain.asp?id=8
The SDX-500C/TB (halfway down on the left) can handle up to 130GB on a single tape for $1100 mailorder.  Sure, the AIT-3 format can handle up to 230, but those drives start at $3100.

If you want more than one tape at a time, a library is a little much.  A basic 4-tape autoloader is more the right speed:
http://www.storagebysony.com/categories/categorymain.asp?id=9
The TSL-A500C using AIT-2 starts at $2800 mailorder while the older AIT-1 TSL-A400C starts at $2200, so might as well get the 500...

These Sonys are given as examples of AIT and not as a specific recommendation.  I've only used an IBM AIT tape drive and can tell you the AIT format in general is really nice.  I recommend AIT, but pick your favorite OEM: Sony, IBM, HP, Seagate, etc, all have AIT models.  A four tape autoloader would give you plenty of growth for the future - more than quadruple your current requirement.  

Here's the best part of an autoloader:  You only have to fiddle with it once a week instead of swapping tapes daily.  On the other hand, if you want to put daily incremental backups all on the same tape, you can do that and only fiddle with a single-drive unit once per week too.  Also, is your 3 minutes to swap a tape convienence worth $1700?

So, I can't really recommend an autoloader or a single drive because that's too subjective but I do stick with AIT-2 at this point.  Oh, and AIT-2 tapes start at $65 each mailorder.

And finally, the specification for AIT requires new generation drives be backward compatible with older tapes.  So far through 3 generations they've held to that principle, so your AIT-x tapes will be migrateable in the future if you need to get a new higher capacity drive one day.

regards,
magarity
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by:SysExpert
ID: 7142280
magarity :  Do you or anyone else know if NTbackup will work OK with an autoloader ?

If not, then with the budget defined, he won't have enough for a software upgrade and an autoloader.

Also those tapes may say upto 130 GB, but in reality due to compression, you are probably lucky to get 65-85 GB, unless you really have a lot of compressible data.

I hope this helps !
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by:magarity
ID: 7143644
I've used ntbackup with an autoloader.  It can be told to pick from any one tape to start, but doesn't automatically switch to the next.  At least it didn't with an IBM 7-tape AIT box.

As to the question of whether a 100GB compressed tape will hold all of the data in question, it is all user data and should compresses very nicely.  However, we should not assume this, so here is a test:

Use WinZIP or WinRAR to compress one of the servers (preferably the one with the most data).  Start in the root directory and include all subdirectories.  Make sure there is enough free space to hold the finished zip file.  Use the option for 'fastest' compression.  This should give a rough (very rough) estimate of how well the tape drive can compress.  WinRAR is the best choice because it has a setting it calls 'zip archive' which uses a very light and fast compression that should be closest to what a tape drive will do.  Set this test to run AFTER the main workday shift as it will introduce a noticeable load on the server.

If you can find a chance to do this, it will help immensely in deciding what tape capacity is best.  To be completely thorough, you can WinRAR all the servers (if you have free space) and a typical Win98 workstation or two.  Please let us know the results.  This may seem like a lot of hassle, but I think this is a really good test for planning purposes.  If you need any help with WinRAR settings, let me know.  It is important to find the 'zip archive' setting because the normal WinRAR compression is highly efficient and will compress a heck of a lot more than the tape drive can.

regards,
magarity
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Author Comment

by:mrtorino
ID: 7144311
So much information. What does everyone think of a server/removable hard drive based backup. I seen it mentioned above but not talked too much about. The server could double as a file server. Also to save money would IDE be an option? if it is a raid then you still have redundancy.

Thoughts?
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SysExpert earned 34 total points
ID: 7144326
Yes you can use a removable IDE instead of a SCSI, it will be just a little slower, but plenty fast for just backups.

You have to differentiate between fault tolerance and a backup.

RAID should be used on any critical servers.

But that is not going to help you during a fire.
You need removable media that can be stored offsite.

I hope this helps !
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by:1cell
1cell earned 33 total points
ID: 7144330
that's exactly what I was talking about minus the removeable drives.  depending on the actual size of backups, removeable drives might be necessary and yes, you can use IDE if cost doesn't permit SCSI.  Remember though that using RAID only covers hardware failure.  In order to protect from data corruption or virus, you would still want to make regular backups.  that's where we are using a second system simply as storage space with an OS.  Windows 2000 server can push compressed data to any location you want so it makes it very convenient for restore and the compression is not bad.
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by:magarity
magarity earned 33 total points
ID: 7144342
The problem with removeable hard drives is that they are delicate compared to tapes.  If you remove and carry the whatever you choose around to the offsite storage, odds are you will one day drop it.  As soon as you do this, the hard drive will probably break but the tape cartridge will be OK.  One of the major points is that hard drives are delicate precision machines while tapes are old standbys.  One of the primary reasons to want a tape backup is because you're worried about hard drives breaking in the first place.

Hot-swapping removeable drives are REALLY cool for keeping your server running non-stop while you change a defective unit, but not so cool as an offsite backup solution.

Will you have time/opportunity to do the compression tests?
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by:1cell
ID: 7144376
we definately need to know how much data we're really talking about.  myself, if you can't tell, I hate tapes.  but it's just me feeling and I know that they do have their uses.  However, if you are able to backup all of your data within the network to a remote machine, it will really cut down on the cost and time of backup maintenance.  If the backup machine had 6 100GB drives in addition to the system drive, you could use raid 0+1 and have 300GB of redundant space available for backup storage which was always available on the network without swapping tapes or drives.  Then, the only question would be off-site storage at which point I ask, does the company have any other locations which are accessible to the network?
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by:mrtorino
ID: 7144488
Well I can see the good and bad in each one. We do not have an offsite location that has access to the network.
I can see that a hard drive is more likely to break in a fall. Though what are the chances of breaking a drive then having a complete network failure. You could also do the backups on two drives and only take one offsite.
You could get a foam case to carry it around in.
I am just thinking out loud.

1cell I do not like tapes too much either but that's due to inexperience with them. I also have had some bad experiences with some junk personal tape drives.

DATA wise we will not have more than 100GB at any given time. That would be a full backup of each server and the documents off of each workstation.
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by:1cell
ID: 7144549
how worried are you about your site burning down, flooding, being bombed, etc?
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by:mrtorino
ID: 7144562
Well that is always a concern for data backup.
I would need something offsite.
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by:1cell
ID: 7144591
lol, just a question.  the reason that I ask is that your off-site solution will have to be physical in that you cannot connect and transport data through the network.  at that point, tapes or removeable drives would probably treat you equally.  of course, thinking about it, hotswappable drives would probably make for faster backup & recovery times than even a SCSI tape drive.
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by:magarity
ID: 7144787
"I also have had some bad experiences with some junk personal tape drives."

While it's hard not to bring QIC-80 floppy interface tape drives from the early 90s to mind when thinking of tape drives, please do not.  Modern AIT and DLT type devices are COMPLETELY different.
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by:SysExpert
ID: 7144861
I agree with magarity on the quality of tape drives. But they cost accordingly.

And you also have the cost of the tape media.

I hope this helps !
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by:tharris1917
ID: 7151670
Hardware RAID is a very nice option, but it should not be considered a backup solution. For instance, the goal of RAID 1 or RAID 5 is to keep running until the failed hard drive has been replaced.
A tape backup solution is suggested. If 100 GB needs to be backed up, try for a tape solution in native mode - not compressed. Autolibraries are very nice, but for a small business overkill. Plan to manually rotate tapes daily and weekly. Hint: Use something like MS Outlook and the scheduler to create a tape rotation scheme. Simply have a designated person carry the previous night's backup tape home...this takes care of off-site. But create a formal schedule in whatever tool you wish, and label tapes.
Ideally should have one tape per day, plus one weekly tape. In uncompressed mode, look at the manufactureres estimated time for backup to see if solution is realistic (if the tape solution takes 12 hours, this wont work!). Every tape manufacturer has a recommended usage (example maximum 2-3 hours daily). Do some homework! Once you think you have the desired product, BEFORE buying check the manufacturers web site for recommendations on usuage = how often tape should be cleaned, routine maintenance, type of media to use, supported/tested backup software.
AND, if you do not plan and IMPLEMENT a regular test restore procedure, forget about backing up...when things crash and burn and you do that real restore for the first time...odds are it wont work because things have not been backing up correctly (for whatever reason!).
From "Been there and made all those mistakes"
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by:magarity
ID: 7201631
This thread was a lively conversation but suddenly died almost a month ago now.  mrtorino, what ever happened? Did you make a purchase?  Still have questions?  What's the status of this project?
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