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Alternative to NTBackup

Posted on 2003-11-04
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I am using NTBackup with the Scheduler and it is a real pain.  Does any one know of a backup solution that does the basics of backing up a single server on a schedule for a reasonable cost?

I would consider $129 reasonable.  I think paying as much for backup software as you do for the operating system is too much.

Thanks.
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Question by:praflik
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by:ShineOn
ID: 9679790
What value do you place on the data stored on your server?  Wouldn't backup software that costs anywhere bewteen zero and the value of your data be worth the price?

Yes, NTBackup/scheduler is a pain.  You would do well to change to something more "enterprise class."

What you need to decide is what features do you want, and how much you are willing to spend for those features.

If you buy a tape drive with sufficient (preferably excess) capacity to do a full backup on one tape, it more than likely will come WITH backup software.  That backup software is usually very good for backing up a single system, as you want to do.

You could go to http://www.tapeware.com/ and check out their product.  I don't know how much it costs, but I do know that it comes along with a number of tape drives, including HP drives.

To reiterate - the cost of a backup solution should be measured against the value of the data you are protecting, plus the value you place on the features provided by the backup software.

As you have already found, "free" is NOT cheap!  Well, guess what, cheap isn't cheap either.  Go for what *works best* for you, not what *costs least*.
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by:praflik
ID: 9680798
ShineOn

"To reiterate - the cost of a backup solution should be measured against the value of the data you are protecting, plus the value you place on the features provided by the backup software."  WRONG!

Should I pay more for the gas that goes into a Mercedes than I do for the gas that goes into a Ford if they both take regular unleaded just because the Mercedes is worth more?

The cost of a backup solution should be based on Market Forces and nothing else.  If a company can produce a solution that fits my needs for $129 and mass market it to the many single-server-based companies out there and can do so at a profit then it is the right solution.

All I'm asking for is a simple reliable backup/restore solution that can schedule a nightly backup, no jukebox support, no raid, no extras.  It could be as simple as a reliable front end scheduler that called command line NTBACKUP commands that worked reliably.

If no one has produced such a product then someone should.  They'd make a million.  All I am asking is if one exists.

Thanks for your comments though.
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by:ShineOn
ID: 9680889
Have you explored the TapeWare solution I mentioned?  Does that exceed your (arbitrary) dollar limit?

Also, the example you cite doesn't really fit.  It's not how much the gas costs, but how much the replacement cost of the parts are.  You CAN'T get a Mercedes fixed for as cheap as you can have a Ford fixed.  You have to consider ALL the parts, not just the fact that there ARE parts.  A Ford and a Mercedes both get you from point A to point B.  Does that make them of equal value?  What is their comparative value to you?

A backup solution is not equivalent to gas for a car.  It is closer to having a storehouse of spare parts and a talented repair team to fix your car quickly if it has a problem.  It will cost more to stock parts and train technicians for repairing a Mercedes.
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by:ShineOn
ID: 9680907
Also, if you say that NTbackup is a Ford and ARCserve is a Mercedes, can you justify the expectation of paying Ford prices for your Mercedes?  I'm not suggesting you get the Mercedes, just the Buick.
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by:ShineOn
ID: 9680934
If all you want is a scheduler, there are many Windows-based schedulers out there that are reliable, robust and reasonably priced.  There was one I used a couple of years ago called Schedule2000.  Don't know what it's called now, but it's shareware and is very robust, and cheap.
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by:praflik
ID: 9681385
I have a call into tape ware to find out if there $99 package will run on Windows 2000 Server.  Many backup vendors don't allow you to run their $99 version of software on the server platform.

You may not like my analogy but you have nothing to refute my Market forces argument.

This backup software thing reminds of firewalls five years ago.  Back then then I said the a Firewall shouldn't cost $18,000 and that $3,000 is what I though was reasonable.  Last year I paid $2,700 for my Sonic wall applicance and it does all that I need and then some.

Why should I pay $800 for a backup solution on Windows 2000 Server and $99 for a solution on Windows 2000 Professional.  As far as the backup software is concerned they are the exact same operating system.  The server version may offer additional bells and whistles but I don't need those so why do I have to pay eight times the price?

If I run a Linux server and a Linux workstation do I have to pay more for the Linux server backup software...I don't think so!

I do get your point about paying for what you get.  In this case I just don't need much.  I have installed many expensive backup solutions for customers that were able to make use of the many features of BackupExec and Arcserve.  This customer is perfectly willing to be down for a day or two to recover a server so.... if a Ford is good enough then a Ford is good enough.
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by:ShineOn
ID: 9681468
The firewall analogy also doesn't wash.  Five years ago, a Pentium II PC with 128MB RAM and a 2.5GB hard drive cost $2500, plus monitor.  Today you can get a P4 with 512MB and a 40GB HDD for under $1000, with monitor.

If you can get a $99 solution for Win2K Pro and it will work on your Win2K server (features, tape drive support, etc.) then go for it.  Why not?  That's not my point.

My point is, if you REALLY care about your data and REALLY want to make sure you're covered and REALLY need features like GFS rotation and offsite storage tracking, you aren't going to get it with a $99 package.  Plus, it will cost more than $99 for the tape drive, anyway, so you may as well use the software that comes with the tape drive.

For someone in your situation, if you are starting from scratch, the best thing to do is to buy a tape drive that will suit your purposes that comes WITH backup software.  Even the "freebie" stuff that comes with a tape drive is better than what you've been using.
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by:ShineOn
ID: 9681677
A bit more invective on this part of your earlier post:

>"To reiterate - the cost of a backup solution should be measured against the value of the data you are protecting, plus the value you  >place on the features provided by the backup software."  WRONG!
>
>Should I pay more for the gas that goes into a Mercedes than I do for the gas that goes into a Ford if they both take regular unleaded >just because the Mercedes is worth more?

My statement is not wrong.  Yours is far from accurate.

Ask any customer, how much is it worth to you to recover all of your data?  If I were to walk off today with your file server, how much would you pay in ransom to get it back?

The value of a backup is equivalent to the value of the data being backed up.  It has no bearing on the cost of the OS that stores and manages the data.

What CAN be argued is relative costs.  You are arguing empirical operating costs.  If the customer's data is worth less than $200 to them, go as cheap as possible.  They will get what they pay for.  If it is worth their business, it is to their own benefit to ensure recovery can and will happen on short order, and accurately.

Your analogy is more like "how much do the tapes cost" rather than "how much does the software & tape drive cost?"

Both are valid questions, but if you buy a Mercedes and its requirements are 93 Octane gas, but your Ford Festiva takes 87 Octane gas, who cares?  You bought the Mercedes.  If you aren't even considering a Mercedes, why even mention it when considering what car to get?  Look at the Ford, the Chevy, the Dodge, and compare them.  If they all take 87 Octane gas, then that isn't even a factor.  How MUCH gas it uses may be.  What features the cars have is more likely - how many people will it carry?  How much can I put in the trunk?  How fast will it go?  Will it pull a heavy load?  Is it WORTH more to me than the other, based on what I want it to DO rather than what LOGO it has on the hood?

THOSE questions paint a *much* closer analogy between cars and backup solutions than your gas analogy does.
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by:praflik
ID: 9681796
Five years ago it was $18,000 just for the software.  I bought the appliance (hardware and software solution) for $2,700; thanks for refining my point though.  The only thing that has changed are market forces.  Someone is making a buck selling a good product at a fair price is the only difference now versus then.  Most of what was sold for $18,000 wass fear.  You gotta have the XYZ firewall or you'll lose the company.  Most people didn't understand what a firewall did so they bought it.  I handled most of my customers needs by filtering ports on the firewall and never had a problem.  More sophisticated customers had more sophisticated needs so I have installed a few Checkpoint and PIX firewalls.

The question is...will the software that comes with the drive work on the server?  Like I said, a lot of times the mfr. will disable the Desktop software on Windows 2000 Server.

We are not starting from scratch, the nonprofit org that I am working with bought an AIT tape drive off of eBay.  Sometimes it is not what you need but what you can afford.

They have a 32Gb hard drive, 25/50 AIT drive and 7 tapes.  They do a full backup every night.  Each day the head guy takes the most recent tape home and brings back the oldest.  All they need is backup software that will backup the server reliably each night which NTBackup is not doing.  GFS Rotation, Offisite Storage Tracking, Bare Metal Recovery, Open File Backup.... won't protect them any better.

As I stated earlier, I agree that you get what you pay for.  My only point is that the value of the data on the server should have little to do with the cost of the backup solution, as you had stated.  A backup program should work as well backing up cookie recipies as it does credit card reciepts.
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by:Wiired
ID: 9682966
What an interesting argument....

I myself am quite happy with the $1000+ purchases of Veritas and ArcServ for my network. To me, justifying that cost against the cost of not having the data was easy.....even the tightwads aggreed with me for once.
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by:ShineOn
ID: 9683073
Like I said, it's as good as your comparison of gas for a Mercedes vs gas for a Ford.  Once you have the car, who gives a crap about comparisons in gas prices?

The comparison has to be made at the product purchase end, and it should depend on what you want.  If you want a Mercedes with all the goodies, then you're gonna pay for it .  If you want (why would you...) a Ford Festiva with NO goodies, that's what you pay for.

However, if what you really NEED is a 3/4 ton pidkup, you HAVE to pay for a 3/4 ton pickup even if you only WANT to pay as much as you would for that stripped-down Ford Festiva.
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by:Wiired
ID: 9683203
Besides, I have yet to see "budget" backup software that will backup, say, open SQL databases.....
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by:Wiired
ID: 9683208
And, as a matter of fact, it was still cheaper that Windows 2003 Enterprise server it runs on....
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by:praflik
ID: 9683545
Wiired, you're so far out in left field...I don't even know where you came from.  I don't need to backup a SQL database; just one single simple file server.  I don't need a backup solution that will do anything more than a simple $99 desktop backup software solution would do; tell my why I should spend $1000 that the church doesn't have for that!  ALL I have to backup is one lousy 32Gb disk drive for gosh sakes!!!

ShineOn, we agree!  $129 is arbituray, that's just what I think it should cost for a single server backup solution; if it is more less than that then ok.  I need a simple reliable backup solution if it is more than we can afford then that's life.

Since there is little money for this then the solution might be to have a volunteer kick off the backup manually each day, which is free.

By the way, Tapeware desktop software won't run on Windows 2000 Server.  I can get the server product for $216, that might do.
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ShineOn earned 50 total points
ID: 9683592
You could also check into the scheduling product I mentioned.  It's called Schedule Wizard.  Here's a link to download it from Tucows: http://www.tucows.com/preview/195742.html

If you like it it costs $29 us to buy.  Worked really well for me to launch automated scripts.  It's calendar-based, and can issue Windows commands...  Give it a look.
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by:praflik
ID: 9683612
I'll have to give Scheule Wizard a look.  I've been looking for a way to get network clients to run the audit program once a month.  You can't depend on a logon script because many users never logoff.  NT Scheduler will let you run a command on every say 1st of the month but if that happes to fall on a Sunday when the PC is turned off....no audit again.

I'll see what it can do for the backup also.
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by:ShineOn
ID: 9683639
I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what it can do for you.  Good luck.
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by:sp10de
ID: 9684858
BackupMyPC works fine.

About $90.

www.stompinc.com

They bought the desktop version from BackupExec.  Its good.  And they've gave good tech support when I've needed it.

:)
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