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What do I backup on Windows 2000 & 2003 servers

Posted on 2004-08-18
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Hi all,

I have Arcserve 2000 and I need to know what should I be backing up on Windows 2000 and 2003 servers.  I pretty much know that I need to back up system state, data and such, but I am looking for the best way to backup my servers and plan it out correctly so that if I need to restore it can be done successfully. I also have SQL servers and a Exchange server.  I have heard about brick level backups on Exchange.  Is this the best way to backup an Exchange server? Thanks.
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Question by:wayy2be
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Duncan Meyers earned 100 total points
ID: 11837602
It depends on what tape technology you have. If you had, say, LTO tapes then I'd do a full backup daily (depending on how much data is to be backed up). If you're stuck with 525MB QIC tapes (to take an extreme example), you'd be better of doing a weekly full backup and incremental (files that have changed since the last backup) backups or differential (all files that have been changed since the last full backup) backups.

So: what tape drive do you have, how many servers are to be backed up and how much data?

FInally, you can back up Exchange in two ways - a flat file or 'brick level'. A brick level backup means that you backup each mailbox individually. The advantage is that you can restore individual mailboxes easily and quickly. The disadvantage is that the backup is usually pretty slow as the backup software has to open each mailbox as if it were a mail client. A flat file backup takes a backup of the Exchange databases. Its quick! The downside is that you cannot easily restore an individual mailbox. You would have to restore the entire backup to another server, then extract the mailbox that you want to restore.

Horses for courses...
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by:Duncan Meyers
ID: 11837630
BTW, you'll need an Arcserve Exchange agent
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by:Cyber-Dude
Cyber-Dude earned 25 total points
ID: 11838555
Its a great question. I my-self had to a dvice a company referring on what to backup. There are two major streams on that issue:

1. Backup the whole thing: Backup Windows directory, Backup SWAP file, Backup all the existance of a hard drive. This is due to the fact that restoration will be easier.

2. Backup olnly what you actually listed above; Data, System state and SQL services.

Im for option 2. This is due to the fact that backing up the whole thing will require more space and it is not nesseary as well as un-efficient. The reason for this is that in each time youed have to restore an OS it is more likely that youed buy a new hardware set thus making all system backups obsolete. Take in mind that youed have to keep all media in a safe place (i.e. in a safe or outside the company).

Those are my thoughts...

Luck

Cyber
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Author Comment

by:wayy2be
ID: 11844523
I am backing up to a DLT drive.  My idea was to backup system state, data, SQL databases and the Exchange server.  Instead of backing up the OS, I would build a server with the current service packs and hotfixes and then image it.  This way if I have a crash, I could just re-image it instead of loading the OS and then do a restore.  What do you think?
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by:Duncan Meyers
ID: 11857237
>This way if I have a crash, I could just re-image it instead of loading the OS and then do a restore.

Good idea. The only wrinkle may be if the OS is on a RAID set - making Ghost play with a RAID array can be no end of fun. The biggest advantage is that you would save yourself an hour or so in the event of a disaester recovery.

I would nevertheless consider taking a full backup - presumably the backup is happening outside business hours, so the additional time it takes to backup an extra 2-4GB shouldn't matter, and it could save you lots of tears in the event that you need to restore from the backup.

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Author Comment

by:wayy2be
ID: 11908722
So basically I can either backup the entire drive, so if the server should crash, I just replace the drive and restore. Or I can just backup selected files, system state, reimage the drive, add any service packs and hotfixes and then restore my data. Which way is the most accepted and the most efficient?
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Expert Comment

by:matthew1471
ID: 12096115
I think if you use Norton Ghost, you can always reclaim the data files out of the GHO images... so what I did when I upgraded was pulled out the website out of that in Windows Server 2003 from my XP images..

A complete backup means you know your not missing something :)

It depends really on how often your data changes...and how often you want to backup
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