Backup Strategy Ideas

Posted on 2003-03-02
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I figure this is a good area to ask a question on backups.

just wondering what other people do for backup rotations. we used to have a single tape-drive where we would change the tape daily and take the previous nights backup tape off-site, keep an end-of week tape off-site for a month, and also end-of-month tapes in a safe at a bank.

now we just got a new tape drive, its a Quantum Superloader (autoloader) SDLT320. it has two 8-tape-magazine slots - we only have one installed.

we are trying to come up with an agreement on the best rotation strategy. i personally think that daily changing is no longer required, only the weekly/monthly tapes, anything more would defeat the purpose of the cahger..(?)

what does everyone else reckons!
Question by:sKuLLsHoT
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 8055945
How much data is needed to be stored/saved?  And you have only one Tape installed?  or one magazine slot?
Give us as much info as you got.
LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 8055958
The end-of-week/end-of-month tape concept implies you're doing incremental backups (only backing up files that have changed since the last backup) on a daily basis. In which case, all the "current" tapes should be off-site.

On the other hand, if you're doing full backups then the weeklies/monthlies are good for if someone realises they deleted a file several days ago (so the file wouldn't be on last nights tape).

However, the most current tape should be off-site in case a fire destroys the machine room, so I'd stay with the old rotation strategy. If you make 2 backups (or copy the tape) so you can keep one on-site for if someone deletes a file, then you don't have to bring the current tape back to site.

Expert Comment

ID: 8056520

We have two loaders with 8 tapes each.
One for DB machines, One for all the others.

Differential daily backups every day except for DB machines, which we do full backups.
One tapeset for DB, One for rest of machines.

The mailserver has it's own local tape. Took too long to do backup over network.

A full backup of just about every server including DBs are run during weekends. This is third tapeset used.
This set is put in saftey deposit box and we have 4 sets that roll around, taking out the set that's is at end of month, and end of year.

Hope you get a picture of how we do it.

So for us, tapes are only changed once each week in the DB loader and twice in the other, since that is the one doing the BIG everything backup.
That backup takes about 45-50 hours to complete.

/Hans - Erik Skyttberg
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Accepted Solution

zzconsumer earned 150 total points
ID: 8058983
Whatever you do, make sure
1. you back up anything important
2. you have a chance to recover your data quickly
3. you can still get back most of you data even if a tape is defective

This includes a paranoid backup schedule. Decide how much data is being modified or created daily and image what would happen if the data was suddenly gone. Decide if you need a daily backup.
Image what would happen if the tape was defective. Decide if you need to change the tape daily or if it's suitable to backup to the same tape until the next weekend.
Do you need full backups or incremental backups? If you need full backups, will they be done when work begins the next day?

You should make weekly full backups in any case. Make monthly full backups additionally. Change the tapes every week and month. Perhaps you should decide if you need an additional yearly backup.
Decide if you can circle the tapes or if -and how long- you need a new tape every backup schedule.

Always keep the option to restore to the pre-latest state at least. Better always keep more. Image an inactive virus becomes active after a specific date to destroy all data and the virus scanner's engine doesn't find it right now. Maybe it's on you latest tape. In case you then restore the backup, the virus would also be restored.

LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 8063459
Currently have two servers with approx 700 users spread over them. I used to back up to tape but now backup to disk. Its basically a base unit with 4 * 120Gb drives in it, connected to the network and kept in a locked location far from the server room.
I currently back up all user files/info each day with an end of week backup as well. Then on Saturday I back up the contents of the c: drive on each server and anything else I deem necessary.

So my strategy is
1/ Back up all user areas everyday.
2/ Back up the server at least once a week.

May not be perfect but it works for me.


LVL 21

Expert Comment

ID: 8064317
That's wierd - when I read this thread 5 hours ago, there was a comment about "tape is dead", but it's disappeared now. Did anyone else see it?

Expert Comment

ID: 8067283
tfewster, wrong question. You will find Bartley's comment in http://www.experts-exchange.com/Storage/Q_20535783.html

Author Comment

ID: 8115716
thanx for the input so far.

what we do at the moment is full daily backups and we have the ability to go back to any day in the past 4 weeks should we need to, from then its any week for the previous month, then on month-old tapes, then year-old etc

most of the old tapes are kept off-site in either the safe at the bank or at one of the staff houses
we always have the 2nd most recent tape off-site.

what im trying to ask is, does this sound like overkill? is there any smarter way we could use the rotational ability of the tape drive (its one tape drive with an 8-tape changing magazine) and still maintain the current level of redundancy? as i see it, we were silly gettin the changer option if we are going to switch tapes every day by taking one out and putting another into the magazine in its place.

we backup pretty much everything (4 server system states and full exchange/ad/sql/user data) and soon we will be implementing the disaster recovery option for Arcserve which will allow us to boot off the tape drive and do "one-touch-restore" any more suggestions appreciated.

Author Comment

ID: 8148902
well the scenario we have finished with is this (which makes everyone happy):

We have a tapeset of 7 tapes which are in the magazine, they get changed every week on a wednesday - old tapes go off-site, replaced by 7 blank/old tapes, these do full daily backups of all necessary data and system states using the automatic rotation.

We have the older tape drive which will only backup our central accounts system, on the weekdays which will have a 10 tape (2x5-day-week) rotation and all tapes kept off site.

This increases the total backup time by an hour, but adds some redundancy in both tape data and storage of backups.

So we basically went with a super-paranoid setup :D
we'll be archiving, end-of-week tapes for 2 months, and end-of-month tapes for 2 years. that along with 2 weeks worth of week-daily accounts backups, and 4 weeks of daily full backups should mean we will have lots of tapes(!!!) but a good solid redundancy.

Thanks all.

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