Best Automatic Backup System

Posted on 2006-05-09
Last Modified: 2010-04-11
Hi Experts,
Whic is teh best backup system to protect around 0.5 Gb of information (that is our database, main applications and personal folders of our users).

We wouldlike to do it on daily basis. Probably at night and automatically.

I just read something about tapes, also some kind of external hard disks and a mirroring system.

We are looking for the best combination. There is enough budget.

Would you please suggest us a plan and tell us teh advantages??

Best regards,
Question by:rguillermo
    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    How about a server with a reasonable amount of disk space in the co-lo and continual data protection that sends a copy of any data change from your servers to the hosted server in real time? Eliminates the backup window entirely. You'd have to backup the server in the co-lo of course since it would copy damage from a virus to the backup server (well not quite since it keeps old versions for a bit). Veritas version of it is at although there are similar products from other manufacturers.

    There are of course on-line companies that offer such a service, just type 'online backup' into Google.

    If you do host it at home remember you need to be able to send the data back to work at a similar speed as they sent it to you, hence SDSL or synmetrical leased line rather than ADSL.
    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    The best backup system is the system that works best for your company. This decision can include many variables of which many you have already answered.

    How much data  do you want to backup (0.5 GB)

    Do you expect this  amount to increase/decrease over time, if so by how much, double?, triple?

    Do you need to be able to recover deleted files, If so after how long?, ie: If a user deletes a file today, it can be recovered but what if he tells you about it 1 week later, 2 weeks later

    How much work 'loss' can you live without. This can be tricky, many people might say 'none' we can never loose ANY data, but what is the tradeoff? If you backup to the same media each night, and the media becomes damaged, you entire backup is lost, but if you rotate you might only loose 1 days work, if your latest backup has failed.

    I don't think there is one backup solution that will eliminate ALL risk, but a solution that is 98% effective might be thousands cheaper then a solution that is 99.99% effective, with lots of areas in between.

    Regardless of what scheme you choose, the following guidelines might help to maximize your investment:

    1) Decide what you can live with (and without), by answering some of the questions above, ensure the stakeholders agree on this requirements)

    2) Write down various methods that would implement such a solution. You already have come up with some examples, tape backups, mirroring, online services, external harddrives.

    3) Rather then write down the advantages and disadvantages of each one, simply compare that method to the requirements from step 1). Example: If you choose only tapes rotated weekly, there may be a 'backup window' ad described in which some data may be 'out of date' where deleted data cannot be recovered. If you choose a mirroring system as said, damage (deleted) files may occur both on the hard drive and the mirrored drive. A hybrid solution may eliminate these problems, but may take longer time and be more tedious.

    4) Regardless of what solution you go with, make sure you test it. Plan periodic intervals where you verify that you can recover information in a way that meets the needs met in Step #1. If it doesn't modify you plan accordingly.

    5) If you do choose online services, be careful of the wording of the contract. They may or may not guarantee certain uptime, time to recovery, consulting/support in recovering data. How important are these services.  Many will probably have a disclaimer stating they are not responsible for business damages resulting from loss of data which I've always found ironic since that's why you are paying them but they are just protecting themselves.

    Just some suggestions. Hope this helps

    Expert Comment

    A quick simple solution i use is a piece of software called iomega automatic backup...

    This will backup any file on a schedule or as it changes etc. and keep multiple revisions. The files are backed up to an external hard drive connected to my pc via usb. Works seemlessly in the background with no problems.

    Cost of the software and the hard drive is the only outlay.

    Hope this helps.
    LVL 32

    Expert Comment

    Rather than backing up to a tape or external disk, I would suggest using any other spare computer (or even one that is not otherwise very busy), creating some space there on the hard drive, and backing up the important files to that every night (or some other time of day). You don't even need to buy any special software. A small script with an xcopy command can be scheduled to run at a fixed time with the Windows scheduler. You can specify that only files that have changed should be backed up, etc.

    This approach is free, completely automated, and fairly light on resources. You do need another machine on the network with some free disk space.

    If you want to pursue this further please post back and I can provide more details about how to create a small script.

    Do consider the useful tips posted by bdetchevery above.

    Expert Comment

    Backup For Workgroups is a great disk based backup solution that is extremely quick and easy to use.  It is made by Lockstep.  It will do open file, Exchange, SQL, all for $300 per box.  Only $99 if you want just client.

    Veritas is the industry standard if using tape, for only .5GB disk based backup is ideal, you can store many revisions and even rotate out USB drives.

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