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Offsite Backup Solution

Hello,
I'm currently running Windows server 2003 with a static address on my router. I'm looking to utilize my server as an offsite backup solution for a few client machines and small networks located across state. Is it possible to do this with the server or do I need some additional software. Any recommendations are greatly appreciated.


Thanks!
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oneswild
Asked:
oneswild
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1 Solution
 
zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
i assume you're running some kind of firewall/router appliance?  you will need to implement port forwarding so that the static WAN IP gets mapped to your server.

you could do the transfer via FTP (so you would enable FTP on your server)... or, depending on your network config, you could set up a VPN and then map drives.  both you and your remote locations would need a VPN router/firewall appliance in order to do this.

also, how much data are you going to be backing up?  and what speed of internet connection are you running (and the clients you are backing up)?  consider that if you are moving a large amount of data across the internet, it may take HOURS and HOURS to run your backup.
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oneswildAuthor Commented:
Hello,
Yes I have port forwarding enabled on the router, all locations have a vpn/firewall enabled device. I'm looking for something thats simple and could be automated to run nightly. The connection speeds vary at all locations. I'm only looking to backup a few hundred MB of data at a time.

Thanks
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gurutcCommented:
I keep posting this solution, but it continues to be the right solution:

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.  You don't need a central Linux Server as the backup server.  You can easily configure a Windows Server to be your central backup server.

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. It also can run over a Secure Shell Connection automatically.   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.

Hope this helps!
- gurutc
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oneswildAuthor Commented:
Hello Gurutc,
Thanks for your reply, is it possible you have a simpler solution for me where I don't have that amount of volume or complexity at the moment. - Thanks
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gurutcCommented:
For backup there's nothing simpler that I've found.  Other utilities may seem simpler, but either don't work or have more complicated setup to do less good of a job.  There's a learning curve for RSYNC, but it's worth it because it really works.  You can setup RSYNC on a Windows Server and remotely and securely backup your offsite workstations, servers and data.  Really, there's nothing simpler to use.  I just posted the big shebang of what I do with it to show how powerful it really is.

- gurutc
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oneswildAuthor Commented:
Hello Gurutc,
Where do I start with the learning curve?

-Thanks
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zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
i would use robocopy.  it is included with server 2003 resource kit (or you can download it for free, too).
it will copy the data from the clients to the server.  you simply write a batch file with the robocopy command, and then use the scheduler to have it initiated at night.
http://www.ss64.com/nt/robocopy.html

robocopy is designed for backups.. that's its primary purpose.
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gurutcCommented:
Hi,

If all of your servers and hosts are Windows-based then download cygwin for windows at http://art.wilderness.org.au/software/help_cygwin-rsync.shtml then configure it to be an RSYNC Server on one computer.  You'll need to keep going back to the RSYNC Project Documentation Pages at http://rsync.samba.org/ to figure it all out like I had to.  But this is how you learn it and get a full understanding of the setup.

Then download the Windows GUI client at http://www.nasbackup.com/ and configure it on another computer and set it up to backup a small folder to the first computer running the RSYNC Server.  Once you get this working, you're practically done.  You just need to configure more client connection profiles on the server and add the GUI client to hosts needing backup.

- gurutc
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