Need Help with a Backup Solution.

Posted on 2004-11-04
Last Modified: 2011-09-20
I just began working at a small but quickly growing company and I need to setup some sort of backup solution.  Right now we have no backup strategy whatsoever.  I'm in the process of shaping things up around the office (setting up a domain, installing Exchange, etc.) and I really need to have a backup solution in place before everyone starts using these things heavily.  I would like to describe our current network setup and see if someone can recommend a solution that will allow me to back everything up without costing an arm and a leg.  The answer doesn't have to be specific down to the exact hardware, but at least a good overview of what direction I need to go in.  Here is my setup:

20 - 30 users (possibly growing to 50 users withing a year or two)

Server 1 - Domain Controller, DNS, DHCP
Server 2 - Domain Controller, DNS, DHCP, File Server (public shares, and redirected My Documents from users - up to 200 GB)
Server 3 - SQL Server (for development purposes, contains multiple large DB's - 200 GB total)
Server 4 - SQL Server (more large DB's - 100 GB) and public File Storage (100 GB)
Server 5 - Web Server, FTP Server, SMTP Server (located in DMZ, up to 50 GB of data)
Server 6 - Exchange Server 2003 and Project Server 2003 ( anywhere from 100-200GB)
Server 7 - ISA Server (Firewall, not much data here, probably needs to be backed up separately)

Most of our User's have Laptops, but as long as they keep their important files in My Documents they should be backed up to a server.  Occasionally there will be other servers brought in that will house Database information and they will also need to be added to the backup some how.

Some of these machines aren't currently in place, but I am in the process of getting this network setup.  I need a backup solution that will handle all of this data on multiple servers and allow a little room to grow.

I've kinda just been thrown into the middle of all of this, and I'm still pretty new at it so I'm not sure what all my options are.

Thanks in advance for any help.
Question by:naj2576
    LVL 1

    Assisted Solution

    Here is my advice...look for a software backup company that has the entire picture of data management...not just backup. For example, what happens when you grow out of your current config and need to move files intelligently?  New software install and go through this again??  What a nightmare.  

    I, personally, have had good luck with CommVault Systems Galaxy backup product and the migration product.  All of it is managed from a single interface and easy to use.

    As far as overall solution...probably use both disk and tape for backups of data.  Have policies agreed to by management that we keep it on disk for 1 year and then move it to tape for X years...or similar.  Also, you want to be able to do message level and file level restores and integrate well with the applications.

    Scalar products are nice for the tape side.  There are some good cheap ATA based disks ideal for backup functionality.
    check out the software...very nice
    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    Take a look at Symantec’s products like Drive image (ghost 9.0) for desktop solutions and Symantec V2i Protector® Server Edition. This is a good way of doing images of your HD and you can schedule it to run at night. (No need to shutdown your server). Restore times are fast and you can restore only the file you want in the image.

    I would recommend a solution where you have this kind of software that back’s-up on HD’s and use a tape backup to store the image offsite, and for archiving. If budget allows!

    Veritas backup Exec 9.0 SMB is good, and also has nice feature you can add on like storage central and storage foundation. These add on allow you to monitor and manage certain aspects of your servers like blocking certain file type like MP3’s. Not backing up duplicate files or emails in exchange server, reducing time and size of backups.
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    FYI...most backups have options for open files, single instance (single message and attachment) or brick level (which Veritas does...which copies single message, but possibly X number of the same attachment!) and duplicate files.  Also, hardware based fulls in which once a full is taken, there is never a need to do another full from production, etc.

    Let me know if you want more details on any of it...

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the info.  I've split the points because you each had good advice, and I'll most likely be using advice from each of you.

    Sorry it's taken me so long to respond.  I've had a lot on my plate the past week or so and I just haven't been able to make time to get back here.

    I checked out the CommVault stuff and it looks like a good product, but it is more than we need right now, and my boss doesn't like to pay for stuff we'll "probably" need in the future, because it will "probalby" be cheaper when we do need it.  I'm not sure if I agree, but I am not the boss.

    I'm trying to convince my boss that we need to use a combination of Hard-drives and Tape to have the most effective backup solution.  I just have to find out which hardware I need and what software to use.  I'm thinking about getting a Dell PowerVault Server with Internal Tape Drive and Veritas.  Backup each night to the "backup server" over the network and setup a tape rotation that can be run during the day, locally on the backup server.

    I'm not sure what is meant by "hardware based fulls", but I think that if I have a server dedicated to backup, then I can run a "full" backup on it once, and then each night the backup could just "update" the files that have changed, so there is always a "full" backup on the backup server.  I probably am not understanding this, but I think I might be close.

    Anyway... thanks for the help.  If you have any thoughts about the approach I'm considering, pleae respond if you get a chance.


    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Remember not to think of it only from a backup perspective...but also a restore.  If you do a full and then "updates" (called incrementals or differentials), then remember you have to restore the full and apply all of the updates to get it back to current condition.  So, you don't want to have to restore a full and then do 100 would take forever.  Do a new full every week or two so the worst case is (in the 2 week scenario) restoring a full and 13 "updates".  Be sure you also have a full offsite.  I see too many times where people don't do this and the building burns.

    I can easily replace the servers and is the data you can't reproduce!

    There is another product I ran into recently that does a nice job for the price...and has open file

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