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Tape or Disk that is the question

naexpert asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2011-10-03
Hi all,

I am seeking your advice.
I've been asked by my boss to come up with a loution that works. Our budget is meager.....

We have Small Business Server
A couple of Win 2003 servers
SQL 2000 on 1 server
SQL 2005 on 1 server (We intend to increase these for testing only (MSDN))
8 Win XP PC's

I've looked at the data on our network and it's adding up to around 100Gb, I accept that a lot of that will compress down but I know this data will grow in size.

I'm constantly looking around for a 'low cost' but accurate backup solution. I've downloaded Yosemite 8.1 and it looks rally easy to use but with all the add ons the price mounts up.

The other area is what media to back up to.......
We have a 'clapped out' tape drive, Tanberg MLR3, and want your recommendations on a tape drive, poss USB 2.0?


Backing up to external USB 2.0 Discs, I think this may be an option as they're quite cheap per gb of storage, what do you think?

Any advice on this would be great!
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Assuming MS SQL;

Well the SQL options add up but you don't need them, just create a maintenance plan that does a daily backup under SQL enterprise manager that backs up to disk and then backup the SQL backup server with Yosemite, Backup Exec or whatever you want. No open file option needed, no SQL option just remote agent.

Or do the enterprise manager backup to a share on another machine, that way you don't even need to backup the SQL box at all but you will have to rebuild it from scratch of course if it dies rather than restoring the OS and SQL program.

XP clients are backed up free with Backup Exec, I presume same with Arcserve.

As to devices I'd use both disk and tape, cheap USB SATA disk to leave on site for quick restore incase someone deletes a file and then copy the backup to tape to keep a remote copy. You could get away with a couple of cheap USB disks instead of tape but tapes are cheaper if you want to keep monthly copies for archival.

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Most Valuable Expert 2015
You could use the builtin ntbackup as software. It should work OK, although you don't have open file agents and I don't think you can backup an open M$SQL database. You can dump the database and backup the dumps. If you are also using exchange ntbackup can back that up online. If you don't need to archive data for a long time, HD's are good, if you need to archive your data for a longer time, a tape device (LTO?) is better and in the long run cheaper.
I wouldn't back up the PC's, that's too much hassle and not necessary, people should save their data on the server, that's what it is for.
For 100 GB you should go with 250GB hard disk on another machine which can do overnight backup of main working (raid?) array.  Then during day, after working drives backed up to other hard disk, you can cut that other data to tape or DVD.  Prefer dual-layer DVD, have 8 GB per disk, this is more reliable and permanent storage that tape, DVD ISO certified for 20+ years, tape only good for 2 at most.

So total cost is $200 for 250 GB drive and $55 for dual layer SONY DVD burner, and $40 for dual disks.
Total $300 best backup strategy available today, and note that there is no interruption or down time of critical server function the way I describe above, i.e. backup to 250GB at night, cut that to DVD in day.


Hi David,
We use Mtce Plans so I aggree with you that we should continue to use them so avoiding the purchase of MS SQL Agents.
When you mention Remote Agent, I assume you mean Server Remote Agents?
What tape backup system would you recommend, internal or external USB2.0?
I also feel that backing up to Disc and then Tape would be a good move.

Hi Rindi,
We use the SBS2003 backup for that server inclusing the Exchange Server, it seems to work well.
I also agree that backing up Users  PC's is a waste of time, maybe the bosses would be good though!

Hi Scrathcyboy,
I think 250Gb External Drives would be good for this unless you think otherwise?
I've not considered DVD as a plausable medium, the reason, I don't fancey insering blank DVD's to deal with a 100 Gb backup unless you know of some software that can compress 100Gb down to 8Gb?

Any further comments would be appreciated and thanks again for those of you who've already posted to this issue.
Offsite Storage:

Cost about $400 to $1000.00 for an average setup, but possibly more.  Allows backup to "Offsite" locations over the internet.
I would suggest you use server NTBackups (as it looks like you are) for each server to itself, or a network share.

On a single server you install the tape drive (I would look to buy a new LTO2/3 drive) and again you can then use NTBackup to stream to the tape. If this is off a little used server (DC) then this could be done during the day without too much impact.

SQL you can simply do a system dump to another part of the server dis, and these are the files you need to back up.
Don't forget system states, and look carefully what it is you REALLY need to backup for a successful recovery.

There is always a trade off between having full and inclusive backups vs the time to do said backup. Weigh this against a really cut down backup vs the time to restore.

Clients should all be storing data on the servers so no backups required here. I would simply use an image file for each PC, or even better is they are all built using a GOLD brick DVD and so would just be rebuilt in case of a failure.

Personally I would not use a USB drive for regular backups. They are useful for moving data and the odd backup/image process but not something I would rely on to recover my critical data.

Total spend is probably

1 x LTO tape drive and media
1 x internal storage for consolidating your nightly backups.

Hope this helps
IPKON Networks Ltd
Tapes are OLD SLOW and you have to start in the beginning....easiest, most advanced solution is either...external hard drive with a master backup, and/or network storage device on a dedicated network with the server(s) that collect all the data for backup....i recommend network storage
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