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SBS Backup/NTBackup - How to Specify Number of Backups to Retain?

Posted on 2006-07-12
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I confess I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to backups.  In trying to fashion backups of our SBS2003 Server to suit our taste--using only the native backup tools--we're running into a Catch-22:

The SBS Backup feature (aka Wizard) permits us to specify the number of backups to retain (we're backing up to external disk), but it only permits creation of one backup job.  Meanwhile, the NTBackup program itself (aka Microsoft Backup) permits creation of multiple jobs but has no option to specify a number of backups to retain (only whether to append or overwrite).  I notice that the specification for number-to-retain in SBS Backup is kept in the registry, whereas all parameters of jobs created in NTBackup are kept in the .bks files--and there's no script file switch to specify number-to-retain.

Does anyone know a way around this, ideally so that we can create backup jobs with NTBackup and specify a number of backups to retain (for each job), or failing that, whether any of the inexpensive third-party overlays to NTBackup provide this functionality?
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Question by:mtn_lion
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
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Why don't you want to use the SBS wizard?  It creates a complete backup.. so there's usually no need to create additional backup jobs.  (hence the reason there isn't an option for that).

If you do configure this manually with NTBackup, then you would just choose whether to append or overwrite the previous job.  How many you keep would depend on how you create your backup media volumes... it can get rather complicated, and that's why the wizard takes care of this for you.

Can you provide a bit more info on what you are trying to accomplish?  There may be a different way to do it.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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by:mtn_lion
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All backups are to external disk.  We want to let the SBS wizard do complete backups once/week and keep four weeks, AND backup critical data nightly, saving a week's worth, AND do differential backups of other data, keeping a week of those.  I guess you might suggest that if Shadow Copies and Previous Revisions are set up properly, there's no point in saving multiple differential backups (?).

I guess the media thing is probably the key; If each night's critical data backup is created as a separate job and directed to a different Backup2Disk folder or even just a different .bkf file--and "overwrite' is selected--then successive nights' backups won't overwrite each other; each job will only overwrite itself the next time *it* runs.  Right?
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 250 total points
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I run full backups every night for all of my clients... and Shadow Copies ARE set up properly by default with SBS.  However, for accounting data with most clients, we also backup their SQL databases using the SQL Maintenance Management for that, and we then compress and copy those backups to a couple of 2GB or 4GB USB Key drives with U3 technology.  The advantage of U3 is that you can put a little batch program on the USB key which runs the compression and copy so that all the user has to do is stick it in and wait a few minutes until it finishes.  These keys are rotated offsite each night.

But... if you're using an External Disk anyhow... you should have a disk that can hold 5 full backups (a full backup shouldn't be more than 35GB, if it is, then you need a different strategy that includes archivng).  This means that a 200GB drive would work fine, and a 300GB drive works wonders.  If you leave the drive in place and swap it out each Monday, then you will have a total of 10 full backups available.  Add the rotating USB Keys for critical data taken offsite each night, and you're covered!  (FYI, you could also use an off-site uploading service for the critical data... most of my customers like the USB Key idea because it's cheap at about $60.00 each).

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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