Backup Solutions for SBS 2003 - Hardware/Software

Hello Experts,

I can no longer get tapes for my backup system for SBS 2003.  I need to get a new tape backup unit, as well as backup software.  I have five workstations logging onto the domain.  We are using Exchange server so I will have to be able to backup Exchange server.  I have 2 Xeon processors, 2 GB of RAM, and need to run unattended backups.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  This issue is fairly urgent for this site.  

Thanks again.

Who is Participating?
Lee W, MVPConnect With a Mentor Technology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Not really.  I've used SDLT often and like it.  I think the LTO tapes are a little smaller (physically).  It's a technology developed by Quantum and though it's still evolving, I believe it's been around longer.

I believe you can download and demo both ArcServe and Veritas and their agents.  The agents can cost as much as the software (to warn you).

You might also want to check tape costs - I don't recall off hand how much the difference was, but SDLT tapes (160 GB Capacity - uncompressed) were going for around $65-75 each last time I checked.

Which actually brings up another idea.  It might be a little more costly, but you could consider an external firewire card and a device like a Firewire Drive Dock from  It would allow you to attach pretty much any IDE drive to your system and use that as a tape.  Initial cost for this solution would be MUCH less than an SDLT drive and tapes, but over time, it's POSSIBLE it could costs more (IDE hard drives are more expensive than tapes - though if you look, not THAT much more expensive) - and depending on how you configured the backup situation, they might even give you faster access to restores.  (Tape is simpler, definitely, but I do have to wonder about the hard drive solution).
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Most of the hardware you listed is unimportant in the equation.  The one important thing is the amount of data.  10GB?  100GB?  1000GB?  That will dictate the backup solution - along with your estimated growth.

Your options are:

DDS4        12-20 GB Uncompressed
DLT/DLT1    35-40 GB Uncompressed
SDLT        110-300 GB Uncompressed
LTO         100-400 GB Uncompressed
AIT         25-50 GB Uncompressed (AIT1/AIT2)

(there may be others, but these are the ones I'd consider).

What are you using now?
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
As for backup software, I'd recommend either Veritas or ArcServe.  I'd probably go with Veritas, now that 9.1 has been out for a while. 9.0 was a MESS.  I personally liked ArcServe interface and database of backed up files better, but I was managing a 1000 user network with 2 TB of data backed up weekly.  Either one would probably be fine for you.  The Veritas solution would be slightly better as Veritas made the included backup solution with 2003 so it uses the same tape format.
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PeggyPitchfordAuthor Commented:

Thanks for the feedback.  I need to backup about 80 GB of data.  In terms of the drive -- I know it is an OnStream.  We have 80 GB compressed.  I am not sure if it is SCSI or IDE, but I believe it is SCSI, using some type of Adaptec card.  Sorry for not being more specific.

The software we use is TapeWare, which is OK, but does not do a good job with Exchange.  So, Exchange is more of a manual process on backup.  

Based on your suggestions, SDLT or LTO would be the way to go.  Do you recommend one over the other?

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Note: Any time to implement a non-standard solution, the cost in your time is likely to go up - so the hard drive idea might turn out to be more expensive then buying a known solution of tapes and a drive.
I agree with leew, get either an sdlt or lto drive, Veritas has a Small Business Server version of its software that comes with the agents for exchange and sql =)
PeggyPitchfordAuthor Commented:
Leew and Mazaraat, thank you, thank you, thank you for all your help and answers.  You were very helpful and informative and allowed me to make an informed decision.  I ended up selecting Veritas SBS Premium software, and a SDLT drive (160 GB).  Thanks again.  
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