Tape Backup or DVD Writer? Which Software for small network?

Posted on 2003-03-02
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
We have a small network of 30 or so computers currently running on an aging Novell 4 server.
As good as Novell was, Techs are hard to find and expensive so we are moving to a new IBM server with running Windows 2000 Server.
I am looking for a feasible and practical solution to backing up.

The new server is IBM X220, duel CPU, 1gig ram + 2 Mirrored IBM 40 gig SCSI hdds (mirrored via windows 2000 software.. mixed feelings about it)

I prefer Dvd because the media and the drive are cheap, versatile and easily replaceable.

I like tape because then I wouldn’t have to swap media.
The most we would need in the tape department is 20/40 gigs.

I liked the software 'backup my pc' because its simple and you can backup to all types of media and it can backup from network drives (Very nice) but it seems it doesn’t work with Server version of Windows 2000. Veritas Exec 9 (Developers of backup my pc) costs 1200$!

Anyone with a good solution for me?
Question by:Juke24601
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Expert Comment

ID: 8056072
You're right, DVD is cheap, but is also a major pain as it will inevitably invole a lot of media changing, preventing you from scheduling unattended overnight backups.

A 20/40 internal DAT would probably surfice. Decent tape gear is expensive, but more reliable in my opinion. Like you said, the price is comparatively high, but they're available here in the UK for around £750. Personally I would try and be a little more forward thinking and go for something which stands more chance of accomodating future data-storage needs, maybe a 40/80 DLT, but that's almost twice as expensive.

The Windows backup software isn't the best, but it does get the job done, can be scheduled to run automatically needing only manual intervention to change the tape.

Personally, my thoughts would be to keep the C: drive for the OS alone, and all other data on another partition. As a secondary precaution - more of a disaster recovery tactic (however unlikely it might be with mirrored discs), I would think about taking say, monthly images of the C: drive direct to CD-R using Drive Image (or similar). We have used this strategy to great effect when we experienced a critical hardware failure which destroyed 3 discs from a 6 disc/1 swap raid 5 array. Drop in the new discs, boot off CD, reimage OS in 10 minutes, recover user data from tape. The kind of quick efficient crisis management that bosses love.

Don't know if that's any help to you whatsoever, but just my take on it..

(Netware 6 all the way - staying out of bed with Bill by the skin of my teeth)

Expert Comment

ID: 8057612
Between the DVD and Tape I would use tape.  But have you thought of just using a cheap removable IDE/USB system for you backup?  IDE/USB  devices that would cover you would be well below the $200 range and much faster than both DVD or Tape.

Again though I would agree with alextoft Tape is the most versatile and most reliable backup and you will find really quick that a DVD backup of 40 gigs (Using 9 DVDs @ 4.7GB each) will be a real pain and may not get done regularly.

Accepted Solution

zzconsumer earned 225 total points
ID: 8058687
Which backup solution you should choose, depends on how important your data are.
Since the server seems to be important (holding data of 30 working people), you should not be stingy concerning your backup solution. Mind the costs of loosing data of let's say 1 year of work done by 30 people. I think any backup solution is cheaper than that.
Taking care of what I mentioned before, you should decide to use a professional backup solution. Backing up on DVD or CD-R simply is not professional. The media are OK but not tested for backing up frequently. Additionally, you will be forced to buy new media by medía, which raises costs as well. Even rewritable solutions don't last forever, I wouldn't trust any RW afer a maximum of 5 rewrites.
So better use a tape. DDS type streamers are OK, but I know of 3(!) firms having lost data of 1 to 3 weeks because of defective media. Even if you use a DDS streamer, you MUST exchange the tapes every few months, depending on the frequency you use it.
DLT media last for many, many uses. Most media don't need to be exchanged for 4 years. You can't gain this with any other proven media. But DLT type streamers are extemely expensive.
Regarding the backup software, I think you should spend the money to one of the best software of which I know, Veritas Backupexec. This logs media errors, gives detailled backup logs and has a very flexible job scheduler. Anything else is suitable for client backup, but a server is something very important, especially to you as you serve 30 people.

I hope this helps a bit.
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Expert Comment

ID: 8058948
Get a small decent system (something sitting in a closet even), install a big fat 120GB (or bigger) drive as a secondary drive, install your software on it, run backups to fat drive.

For additional protection, get a another bf drive with a removalable rack drive (see Kingston DE110) and run backups of first fat drive to take offsite.

For less than 300 bucks you'll have super fast fat backups:) Sorry gang, but I think tape is dead.

Expert Comment

ID: 8064890
I do agree with everyone above... there is alot to consider about your data and the approach to take.  Check out this link.. it has a long discussion about tape backups that may help ou in deciding which is the best approach for your application.  Hope this hlep !!


Author Comment

ID: 8066714
Thank you for all your responses.
I didn’t know it would be this tough to pick suitable answer as there was its and pieces from everyone.

I picked zzconsumers answer because he is correct that I should not be stingy and risk 30 peoples (more like 50 peoples) work and efforts for a few hundred bucks. Thanks!

But I also want to thank Alextoft for his input and Partigan for his link. Thank you!

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