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Backup and DR suggestion.

We are a small company and we're trying to figure out the most cost effective method of backup and disaster recovery.  Emphasis on the most cost effective, since one of my biggest struggles is budget.

There are approximately five critical mission servers.  One with RAID5 and another this is our AD server.  Also an AD server at our remote site that we have replication setup between.  Collectivity these machines make up approximately 150 to 200 gigs of data that need to be backed up, while the servers need to be up and running at all times and quickly back on line in the case of a Disaster Recovery.  The latter is especially true in the event of a hurricane and in the possible days long power outage due to natural disaster.  

I am looking for insight/suggestions on the best way to organize a backup and DA system.   I am considering both a software and tape(Veritas and SDLT) drive in additional to off site backup storage via a backup service.  This would be the ideal setup I think, but should I consider just relying on a off site backup service?  Would that be smart/reliable?  Also, with the amount of data I have to backup off these servers, does it make sense to invest in a single SDLT tape drive or would it require considering  a tape library instead.  I have no experience with tape libraries.  In regards to the Disaster Recovery a generator is not an option do to the way our building is setup.  I am considering a written plan outlining servers and power supplies that would be taken off site and to certain backup(home) office setups in order for users to gain access to the servers.

Any suggestions/opinions on how to best approach these decisions and implementing these processes would be greatly appreciated.


3 Solutions
Veritas is a very good choice; if you have issues, you easily can locate others to help you rebuild, and Veritas is reliable.
Veritas also has an agent that can backup block-level changes over the WAN, and it is very efficient, so I would use that.

As for your drive choice, I'd change it.  Check out the LTO drives on the following link: http://h18006.www1.hp.com/storage/tapestorage.html
LTO provides much faster backups and restores: you can backup to one of these as quickly as you can backup to disk, and you won't need a library.

Your overall costs for this will be very low.  If you want, you can add a second LTO drive and a second copy of BE to dupe the data to the offsite to get up and running quickly.  You also can ship tapes ther, but they can be stolen, lost, damaged, or something else, and the cost wil remain.
Hello Dee30

I've done a lot of DRP work in the last 2 years, and I think this is much a too big a subject for a forum question, but here are a few pointers:
- if you want cheap, tape backups are still the best option
- offsite backup is absolutely essential, but I'm not sure what you mean by "via a backup service".  Do you mean backup over a network link?  This is a good option if you can fit it in your budget, but the cheaper solution is usually simple to rotate backups to another location.  It is a good idea to use an external service provide for tape storage...if only because they will turn up every day and expect somebody to give them tape...it's a good way to ensure the tapes are actually going offsite.  
- I highly recommend using autochangers or tape libraires....because manual tape mounting is unreliable.

Most important:  Test your recovery procedures thoroughly and regularly (e.g. annually).  This is a big job, but unless you test your procedures you do *not* have a working recovery plan. You will almost certainly find that restoring from tapes is harder than you think, and your first attempts will fail.  The day after a disaster is not the time to find out what is missing in your recovery procedures or your backups.
We use Veritas here with this 1 Terabyte External Lacie Drive Firewire


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I second gpriceeee.

I wouldn't use an external backup service, as you would be giving critical, company data and procedures out of your hand, and you never know how reliable they are. Also, backing up 200 GB or so over a Wan link isn't really a practical option. I do agree, though, that you need to keep your tapes off site. Best hire bank safes and keep the grandfather and father tapes in those safes.

Backupexec also has an option which lets you backup your system similarly to a ghost image. Whenever you make bigger software change to your server, I'd make such a backup. This should help you restore a crahed server fast.

Another thing, about best practices. After each backup, check the backup by recovering 2 or 3 files from the tape and opening those files using the original application, so you know if the backup worked. If possible, try restoring files which you know are on totally different parts of the tape. Don't use the builtin verify function of backupexec. This doesn't do much except make sure your backup takes double the time. You would also get more error messages about "failed" backups just because the files might have changed from the time of backup and the time when the verify takes place.
I agree with rindi

When you choose to hand your business to an outside source, your control over the data is lost: control over access OF it, control over access TO it, control over restoration, control over the data housing company going out of business (because no data housing company ever goes out of business ;-))

If the company does go out of business, and you have to go through arbitration to extract your data from the disks that the company no longer owns or controls, you won't be happy.  In the past, outsourced connection protection companies--ie firewall services--have gone bankrupt and simply truned off protection.  Whoa!
Hi, fellow budget struggler.  How's the solution choice going?
dee30Author Commented:
Still working up a plan, while Hurricaine season is fast approaching...
Feel free to post your final couple of choices if you are weighing them.
same here...

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