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Best app to backup 300 XP PC's over the net?

Hi, I'm looking for suggestions on the best software for backing up 300 desktop WinXP boxes over the net to a central server?

Is EMC Retrospect (formerly Danz) a good choice?

Does Veritas have a product for this?

I would normally go with an OpenSource solution but my boss wants to spend money that's in our budget. So I'm not looking for the least expensive solution.
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veedar
Asked:
veedar
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8 Solutions
 
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Why would you backup workstations?  I'd spend the money on a better backup drive - or additional capacity.  Aren't you using a client-server system where users store files on the network?
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Expert4XPCommented:
Symantec Ghost Enterprise version has lots of options so you can spend to your hearts delight depending upon how many features you want.  www.symantec.com

Acronis True Image also has an Enterprise version.  www.acronis.com

You should define and plan out though first WHAT you are trying to accomplish:  backup images, deploy updates, recover desktops from server.  Also, offsite strategy, disaster recovery strategy for your servers, etc etc etc.

It's a big subject, and full time profession depending upon size of company.
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johanvz1Commented:
Hi,

I completely agree with Expert4XP backups are actually involved process and is very involved. Ie what is you internal company policies?.

Do you want to just backup data?.If so why not create central location on server with shared folders each user with his/her own and this way you eliminate all the extra traffic on the network. You backup from a centralized location. Its better controlled and easier to recover once data is lost. Backup Exec is industry standard but depending on your backup policy and disaster recovery plan you can use other applications like Tivoli or even Attix there are so many programs out there. But either give us more details of what you are planning,or device a backup plan what you want to achieve that would certainly answer you question by just looking at it.
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veedarAuthor Commented:
We already have shared folders on a server that are used to store data. That server is being backed up.

But our users also store some data locally. So I'm mainly looking to back up that local data. I'll check into symantec and acronis. Thanks.
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gurutcCommented:
I post this solution over and over again, but it's still the best way I've found:

 We protect 3 Terabytes per night from 200 remote servers with a backup strategy using RSYNC.  These include both Windows and Netware servers and some XP desktops also.  Our centralized backup file server runs OpenSuse 10 and has a combination of both RAID SCSI and USB External drives attached.  Then, each day, we back up the Linux box using a Windows server with a tape jukebox attached and running CA ArcServe.  That way we get a daily snapshot to tape allowing us to do a scheduled rotation.

This means we are following the Golden Rule of Backups, which applies no matter how much data you back up, which is this:  Always have 2 separate backup copies of important data.  And it's better if they are different types of media.

If you set your backup up and run it, you'll eventually get the chance to see how it worked.  We've restored over 30 servers with the system I described without any data loss.  The solution I described is scalable all the way down to a small workgroup network.

RSYNC has done what no commercial software seemed to be able to do: give us a good working backup system for our enterprise.  It uses very efficient synchronization and compression algorithms to move the changes from our distributed servers.  Here's a link to the RSYNC Project:

http://rsync.samba.org/

Here's the Novell RSYNC forum:

http://forge.novell.com/modules/xfmod/newsportal/thread.php?group_id=1148&group=novell.forge.rsync.help

And here's a good resource for RSYNC on Windows:

http://art.wilderness.org.au/software/help_cygwin-rsync.shtml

Here are two more good RSYNC Windows links:

http://www.itefix.no/phpws/index.php?module=pagemaster&PAGE_user_op=view_page&PAGE_id=6&MMN_position=23:23

http://www.nasbackup.com/

The NASBackup Project is a neat Open Source effort to make a gui-based RSYNC client for Windows.  It works very well.

More info:  RSYNC uses an algorithm that only sends the changes in the file systems.  This algorithm is so efficient that i can even get down to only sending the changed blocks in an individual file without having to send the whole file.  It works very well for us even over DSL/Cable speed connections.

Using a vendor to provide offsite storage is mind-numbingly expensive and does not guarantee protection of your data.  If you're willing to 'roll your own' solution, you'll save money and get better results, in my opinion.

Travis
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gurutcCommented:
Oh, and even tho my solution is open source mostly, you can spend the bucks on storage for it so that it can really store lots of backup info.

Travis
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scrathcyboyCommented:
Well, basically with 300 PCs -- absolutley YES you want to backup each workstation, but the MAIN thing you need is the SYSTEM FILES and user settings on each workstation (i.e. their individual customization).  That is the only way you can restore the WSs -- have a backup of their windows settings and registries.

SO what you need is a CLIENT - SERVER backup system, one that installs a server on some machine (not necessarily the file server, usually a backup machine with lots of storage, or link to a SAN array) and the client on each machine, installed.

Both Acronis and Symantec ghost have client server products, and they are not cheap.  But the one thing they do do, is centralize all backups to a centralized "backup server" perhaps including a SAN disk array.  If you boss can spend $10,000, invest it in a fiber-optic SAN disk array, and backup all 300 WSs and server to the SAN disk array -- this is lightning fast, no one fiddling with tapes that dont work properly, all data stored on disk array accessed by lightning fast fiber optic array -- this is trend of future.  Look into it, for 300 Wss, you are just at the right amount to make this worthwhile, it amounts to $33.66 per system.
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scrathcyboyCommented:
And I meant to add, you MUST go with the very latest Symantec GHOSTEnterprise, or Acronis client-server, only the latest versions can accurately capture the running files open by the OS, using "snapshot" technology, without these open running files on server and WSs, you cannot recover the complete working setup of any computer.
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schalcraftCommented:
Connected DataProtector is a pretty neat product.  Includes all the must haves... data encryption, compression, reporting, client pull restoration,etc. You can apply file selection rulesets and copy retention centrally,  and the product performs data optimisation on your back end storage.

http://www.ironmountain.com/US/dataprotection/pc/connected.asp
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MasPreguntasCommented:
Backup Exec 10D with desktop and laptop option.

http://www.symantecstore.com/dr/sat2/ec_Main.Entry17C?SID=49999&SP=10023&CID=0&PID=768374&PN=1&V1=768374&V2=&V3=&V4=&V5=11033758&CUR=840&DSP=&PGRP=0&ABCODE=&CACHE_ID=219398

"The Backup Exec Desktop and Laptop Option delivers continuous data protection to desktops and laptops whether in the office or on the road. End users can restore their own files without calling IT", stated on the site.

Personally I think the ability of the end user to be able to restore their own file is great. Once people see that they can do this they will use it more than you think.

We do not have this option where I work but we use Volume Shadow Copy Services with a Windows SBS server. This gives the ability for the user to also restore their own file using versioning. But for you, the laptop/desktop option would probably be better.
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veedarAuthor Commented:
Thanks all I'm looking into your suggestions give me a few days to settle on one.
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SimonUKCommented:
Some brilliant suggestions here, and I don't want to muddy the waters of some real backup expert suggestions.  However, if it helps, I also backup user workstations for people who just store the odd file on their machines.  I use a simple batch file with 7zip (command line compression).  It makes a compressed, password protected single file snapshot of their My Documents folder (no incremental stuff) and sticks it on the server.  The backup file then gets included in the server backup.

Users have to follow two rules - only use My Documents to store files, and run the batch process on their machines every day.  Or, if they do what they're supposed to and store files on the server, they don't have to bother!

Just an idea - if you'd like the batch file I'll post it, but it's very simple.


Simon
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MasPreguntasCommented:
You can actually map your My Documents folder to the server (folder redirection). If you do this, their 'my docs' will actually be stored on the server and not on the PC. This also helps improve loading-time of user profiles since the my documents folder does not have to be loaded/checked for changes; the actual profile is greatly reduced since 'my docs' is not part of the profile size. If you do folder redirection on the DC (using SBS 2003 or any other MS server OS), make sure  you place the folders on another disk set and apply Microsoft Shadow Copy Services (or at least think about it). This will allow users to restore their own files by simply right clicking files or folders then clicking on the 'version' tab. You can set the frequency and length of time the snapshots are taken. Although this is 'sort of' a backup method, the traditional methods of backup are still important.
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veedarAuthor Commented:
Guys thansks for all the feedback. My attention has been directed to other areas so rather than leave this open I'll spread the points around and close it out.

I did download a trial of Acronis True Image Windows. It seems to have a lot of good features. But that's about as far aas I got.

Simon, I would be interested in seeing your batch script if you have it handy.
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SimonUKCommented:
Hi, OK here's the (VERY simple) batch file to use 7za.exe to compress My Documents into one file, with a password, and send to a destination of your choice.

It needs to exist in folder c:\bak and you also need 7za.exe in the same folder.
Get 7-Zip and the 7za.exe command line utility here:  http://www.7-zip.org/

If you call the batch file bak.bat, you run it with three switches, ie:

bak.bat server01 jsmith johnbackup    would create a folder on \\server01 called jsmith and the backup file would be called johnbackup.7z

The batch file pings the server before starting backup - if your server doesn't respond to ping you need to rem that line out.

There's a GUI version of 7zip too, which can be used to unzip the file, or you can use a command line to extract files.  Be aware that someone with the Windows GUI version could look at the file listing without a password, but would not be able to view or extract the actual files.

Good luck!

Simon

@echo off
REM This version for both XP and 98 - it decides which version to run
REM Run with 3 switches
REM 1,2,3 = server network name, destination folder, destination filename
REM Destination path is always \\{servername}\backups\{finalpath}\{destination filename}
REM This batch file and 7za.exe need to exist in c:\bak

if "%1"=="" goto :inputerr
if "%2"=="" goto :inputerr
if "%3"=="" goto :inputerr

cd\
if not exist c:\bak\7za.exe goto :no7za
set tserver=%1
set tpath=%2
set tfile=%3

if "%os%"=="" goto :go98

:goXP
cls

REM Navigate first cos otherwise it all goes weird

:TXP
set tos=Windows XP, backing up \%username%\My Documents
echo Backup
echo Windows XP detected, backing up My Documents folder within username
cd\
cd Documents and Settings
cd %username%
cd My Documents

:startxp
set pw=
cls
echo Backup
echo.
echo CLOSE ALL OPEN PROGRAMS FIRST !
echo.
echo OS:        %tos%
echo Path:      %tserver%\backups\%tpath%\%tfile%
echo Username:  %username%
echo Password:  Not set
echo.
echo Choose a password.  Make it secure and remember it !
echo.
set /P pw=Password ?
 
if "%pw%"=="" goto :nopw

cls
echo Backup
echo.
echo CLOSE ALL OPEN PROGRAMS FIRST !
echo.
echo OS:        %tos%
echo Path:      %tserver%\backups\%tpath%\%tfile%
echo Username:  %username%
echo Password:  %pw%
echo.
SET /P conf=OK to continue?  May take a few minutes. (Y/N)  
if "%conf%"=="" goto :startxp
if %conf%==Y goto :Y
if %conf%==y goto :Y
goto :startxp

:Y
cls
echo Backup
echo.
echo CLOSE ALL OPEN PROGRAMS FIRST !
echo.
echo OS:        %tos%
echo Path:      %tserver%\backups\%tpath%\%tfile%
echo Username:  %username%
echo Password:  %pw%
echo.
echo Here we go !
echo.
(set /P MyVar=Checking for server... ) < NUL
ping %tserver% | find "TTL" >NUL
if errorlevel 1 goto :nosvr
echo found it !!!
echo.
echo Deleting your secondary backup, if it exists...
if exist \\%tserver%\backups\%tpath%\%tfile%.old del \\%tserver%\backups\%tpath%\%tfile%.old
echo.
echo Renaming your primary backup as a secondary...
if exist \\%tserver%\backups\%tpath%\%tfile%.7z ren \\%tserver%\backups\%tpath%\%tfile%.7z %tfile%.old
echo.
echo Compressing your files and moving to server...

REM  THIS IS THE ACTUAL COMPRESSION AND BACKUP ROUTINE !

"c:\bak\7za.exe" a -p%pw% -wc:\bak -r \\%tserver%\backups\%tpath%\%tfile%.7z
REM  For folder exclusions, add -xr!foldername/ or -xr!*.* for files

pause
exit

:go98
cls

set username=N/A (Windows 98)

REM Navigate first cos otherwise it all goes weird

set tos=Windows 98, backing up c:\My Documents
echo Backup
echo Windows 98 detected, backing up entire c:\My Documents folder
cd\
cd Mydocu~1

:start98
set pw=
cls
echo Backup
echo.
echo CLOSE ALL OPEN PROGRAMS FIRST !
echo.
echo OS:        %tos%
echo Path:      %tserver%\backups\%tpath%\%tfile%
echo Username:  %username%
echo.
echo You will be asked for a password when the backup begins.  If you choose
echo no password, your files will not be protected.
echo.
pause

cls
echo Backup
echo.
echo CLOSE ALL OPEN PROGRAMS FIRST !
echo.
echo OS:        %tos%
echo Path:      %tserver%\backups\%tpath%\%tfile%
echo Username:  %username%
echo.
echo Here we go !
echo.
echo Checking for server...
ping %tserver% | find "TTL" >NUL
if errorlevel 1 goto :nosvr
echo found it !!!
echo.
echo Deleting your secondary backup, if it exists...
if exist \\%tserver%\backups\%tpath%\%tfile%.old del \\%tserver%\backups\%tpath%\%tfile%.old
echo.
echo Renaming your primary backup as a secondary...
if exist \\%tserver%\backups\%tpath%\%tfile%.7z ren \\%tserver%\backups\%tpath%\%tfile%.7z %tfile%.old
echo.
echo Compressing your files and moving to server...

REM  THIS IS THE ACTUAL COMPRESSION AND BACKUP ROUTINE !

"c:\bak\7za.exe" a -p%pw% -wc:\bak -r \\%tserver%\backups\%tpath%\%tfile%.7z
REM  For folder exclusions, add -xr!foldername/ or -xr!*.* for files

pause
exit

:inputerr
echo.
echo Input variable missing !
echo.
echo This program must be run from a shortcut in the format:
echo bak.bat servername destinationfolder destinationfilename
echo DO NOT USE BACKSLASHES !
echo.
pause
exit

:no7za
echo.
echo 7za.exe not found !
echo.
pause
exit

:nosvr
echo Can't find it !
pause
exit


:nopw
echo.
echo You must set a password !
pause
goto :goxp

:inputerr
echo.
echo Input variable missing !
echo.
echo This program must be run from a shortcut in the format:
echo bak.bat servername destinationfolder destinationfilename
echo DO NOT USE BACKSLASHES !
echo.
pause
exit

:no7za
echo.
echo 7za.exe not found !
echo.
pause
exit

:nosvr
echo Can't find it !
pause
exit
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gurutcCommented:
Excellent!

Thank you SimonUK

Bookmarking this page for your script.

- gurutc
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SimonUKCommented:
Pleasure!  I wrote a little an deployment script too, that pulls the batch file and 7za from a network location, and creates the correct folders for them, etc.  Simple but slightly quicker than copying and pasting.  I keep meaning to create a desktop icon using VBScript or something, but don't know enough about it.  Here's the script anyway.

Simon

___________________

@echo off

if "%os%"=="" goto :go98

REM Set the path to wherever the files are stored on your network here.
REM Don't put a trailing backslash
set blocation=\\servername\path

:goxp
cls
echo.
echo Backup Utility Installer
echo Windows XP detected
pause

:Y
echo.
echo Checking for directories, creating if they don't exist
echo.
cd\
echo c:\bak
if not exist utils md bak
cd bak
echo.
echo Checking for files, getting if they don't exist
echo.
echo 7az.exe
if not exist 7za.exe copy %blocation%\7za.exe
echo bak.bat
if not exist bak.bat copy %blocation%\bak.bat
echo.
(set /P MyVar=Checking directories and files... ) < NUL
cd\
if not exist c:\bak\7za.exe goto :fail
if not exist c:\bak\tinbak.bat goto :fail
echo OK!
echo.
echo Installation complete.
echo.
echo.
echo Create a shortcut from c:\bak.bat to the desktop
echo.
echo Remember that the shortcut properties must contain the server, path and filename
echo.
pause
exit

:go98
if "%os%"="Windows_NT" goto :instfail
cls
echo.
echo Backup Utility Installer
echo Windows 98 detected
pause

:Y
echo.
echo Checking for directories, creating if they don't exist
echo.
cd\
echo c:\bak
md c:\bak
cd bak
echo.
echo Checking for files, getting if they don't exist
echo.
echo 7az.exe
if not exist 7za.exe copy %blocation%\7za.exe
echo tinbak.bat
if not exist tinbak.bat copy %blocation%\bak.bat
echo.
echo Checking directories and files...
cd\
if not exist c:\bak\7za.exe goto :fail
if not exist c:\bak\bak.bat goto :fail
echo OK!
echo.
echo Installation complete.
echo.
echo.
echo Create a shortcut from c:\bak\bak.bat to the desktop
echo.
echo Remember that the shortcut properties must contain the server, path and filename
echo.
pause
exit

:fail
echo.
echo ERROR !
pause
exit

:instfail
echo.
echo Both 98 and XP detected!
echo Installation error
pause
exit

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