SBS 2003 Backup questions

A few questions about SBS 2003 Backup Utility, and our backup method:

1. Does the built in Backup Utility perform an incremental backup?

2. Is it worth purchasing a backup motherboard/CPU in case of motherboard failure years from now when it's impossible to find replacement hardware, or is the process simple enough to restore to new hardware?

3.  Where does drive cloning fit into the backup picture?  If I do regular full backups of my server, what's the purpose of having a cloned image of my server?

4.  Currently, our backup process is as follows:  we do a full backup to a shared drive on a client computer daily (at 9PM).  Then at 1AM, that client backs up to an external USB Hard Drive.  We have 2 of these USB Hard Drives that we rotate every few months.  I inherited this system from the previous IT guy.  It doesn't seem as robust as it could be.  Any suggestions for improving?
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I'll look at Q4 mate.  I would personally purchase a tape drive suitable in size to handle your data needs plus expected growth.  Depending on media you opt for tapes can be quite cheap.  I use Mon > Thur, Week 1 - Week 4, Month 1 -12.  This gives me up to a years data retention should it ever be called upon.  Once you hit the year you just add another tape for each extra month you need to retain.  The tapes can be stored offisite in a secure location which is essential to a backup plan plan.  

Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
1.  No, not by default.  It does a complete backup each night.

2.  That all depends on what motherboard you currently own.  If it's a Dell or HP with a service agreement, then no, you shouldn't.  If it's a Whitebox server then maybe you should... but don't plan for "years from now" because you should expect that you will replace your server every 3 to 4 years.  Life cycling your server hardware is one of the best ways to ensure it's proper health.

3.  I actually do have some clients for which we've configured drive "imaging" (not really cloning) as a redundant backup.  These are clients that have a large amount of customer or financial data or require high availability, and they feel more comfortable with this additional step.  We don't take the images off-site though, just the nightly full backups.  I use Acronis True Image Server for this purpose and we image to a separate internal hard drive on the server.  What this provides, by the way, is a 30-minute restore in the case of a major hard drive failure.

4.  I don't quite understand why the previous guy would set things up this way... and obviously you don't either.  :-)
It does seem rather odd.  I'm not sure what the purpose of the "interim" backup would be... why not just attach your USB drives directly to the server?  (Unless the server doesn't have USB 2.0 ports... which would be a problem).
ALL of my clients use USB External Drives for SBS Backup.  We usually have a set of THREE drives that are rotated NIGHTLY, with one taken off-site each night.  Part of any disaster recovery plan is ensuring that you have covered all your bases, and it looks as though you would have a problem if the building burnt down and your only off-site backup was a few months old.  

The retention that robjeeves mentions above is generally not required, and seems like a lot to manage in my opinion.  However, if you are in a regulated industry (HIPAA, SOX, FTC, etc) you may have certain requirements that need to be followed.

Check out the SBS Show Podcast on Disaster Recovery here:


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mattyfatbagsAuthor Commented:
Is there an NTBackup switch that will do an incremental backup as opposed to a full backup?

Does the default setup create new full backups each time (backup1.BKF, backup2.BKF, etc)?
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal ConsultantCommented:
Not really... but there's a hack to the SBS backup that you can do which is described in this blog post:

FYI, Sean Daniel is the Microsoft Program Manager for the SBS Team.

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