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Backup Solutions for SBS 2003

Headhunting55
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Hi, Experts;

Ok, here’s the situation.

I have inherited an SBS 2003 environment.  We have about 20 users on a Dell Server, with an 80 gig drive. We have a 40 gig (compressed) Tape backup system.

Just in the last few days, the tapes have reached capacity, and the BU Software (Dantz Retrospect 7) has begun asking for a SECOND tape.  This is not good, as I am an off-site consultant.

I am considering moving to a different BU solution, or augmenting the current system with an external HD-based product.

I have never especially liked tape backup systems, but I know that they do have their place, and in the right environment they are the best solution…..especially when keeping backups of all files for several weeks. But now with the amount of Data on the server exceeding the tape capacity, I’d like to look at other solutions.

The client is planning for a new server in about six months, but I’d like to implement a new backup solution now. COST IS A FACTOR.  

So, experts….your thoughts on a solution for this environment?


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Technology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Commented:
Well, you seem pretty knowledgeable about backup concepts so you could probably figure this out yourself.  In your situation, I would suggest getting a couple of external drives and using those for Full backups and setup nightly differentials.  On mondays, a user takes a full home and on Fridays the user brings the other external hard drive in, cycling them.  Cost - about $200-$500 depending on drive size.  Frankly, if the data backed up is not going to grow fast, I would stick with a disk based solution even after the new server comes in.

You probably don't even need to read it, but I'll thow it out there - my standard backup comment - it grew and grew and grew... so I turned it into a web page, available here;
http://www.lwcomputing.com/tips/static/backup.asp
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal Consultant
Most Valuable Expert 2016
Top Expert 2014
Commented:
From what it sounds like, you may be a perfect candidate for a combination of a couple backup procedures.  There is a new very cost-effective FULL image backup solution from Paragon that runs just $299.00 (http://www.drive-backup.com/corporate/business/).  If you ran that to the USB hard drives that leew mentions above, you could reduce your tape backup volume to JUST the critical data, which is probably no more than 10GB.

I've been using USB drives for backup on SBS for awhile now... and you can get a 200GB SATA drive for under $100.00 these days.  An external SATA drive enclosure will cost you about $25.00, and you already own the tape drive.

So, as you can see it's quite cost effective and if you can get those tapes removed off-site every night, along with the USB drives rotated out each week, it's a pretty good level of restoration as well.

Jeff
TechSoEasy

Author

Commented:

You guys both rock!   I always enjoy and appreciate seeing answers from both of you to members Queries.

My next question, then, would be the concept of using an  imaging program such as True Image as OPPOSED to a more traditional backup Solution, such as the Retrospect product that is presently in place in this environment. I have used imaging software many times before, but strictly within the context of, say, creating an image that will be installed on numerous machines of the same type. I have never used an imaging program for backup of the type being discussed here. Can you use an image to restore individual files as you would with tape? Do imaging programs contain a mechanism for performing differential backups, etc?

Thanks!
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
I'm not sure about the CURRENT version of Acronis, but I do know the next version WILL be able to do differentials.  As long as you have ONE DC (The SBS server) I don't see why imaging couldn't be done.  If you MULTIPLE DCs, then I would not recommend imaging.

Author

Commented:
Jeff, Unfortunatley I'm tied to using our Current version of Retrospect, a program that I do not particularly like. It was, however, a $700. investment that the previous consultant made, and management wants to stick with it for the time being.

I am toying with the idea of creating two separate backup systems, both using Retrospect. One will be the existing Tape backup, reconfigured to capture only the most crucial, mission critical data. The other system will be an external USB/FireWire drive, probably a 300 gig SATA (about $150. here locally), which will be configured to backup the ENTIRE server on a nightly basis, after the tape portion has completed. I will probably add in a second external drive to be rotated in/out and taken off site on a weekly basis.

To some people, this may seem a little like overkill, backing up the backup system, but I do not entirely trust tape.

Any thought s on this plan?

Lee, your treatise on backups that you linked me to is outstanding!
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal Consultant
Most Valuable Expert 2016
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
I have deployed the current version of Acronis True Image Server and we have it doing differentials every night.  The cool thing is that it only takes about 20 minutes for the differentials backup to run (once you've created the initial image).  We run that image on an Internal SATA drive in the server.  This is not designed for catastrophic recovery, but it could be used for such if we backed up to USB drives.  We do run the native SBS backup each night which does go to USB drives.  Then, we also automatically back up their SQL databases which are transfered to a 2GB USB Key drive (after being compressed) and those are taken home each night.

So, I'm not opposed at all to redundant backups.

FYI, the Paragon solution I recommended above, is an imaging solution... so I was a bit confused by your responses.  Being "tied" to a solution that doesn't work can ultimately cost you much more than the few hundred dollars it would take to fix it.

Jeff
TechSoEasy