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Is there a low maintenance and reliable backup approach to Windows SBS 2003 possible?

chrisroman asked
Currently we outsource our Exchange Server & Sharepoint service to an ASP and have our internal network setup as a workgroup. However, we are growing to the point where hosting our own services in house would be more cost effective and having a domain would make administration easier. I would also like having ASA and WINS sesrvices for remote VPN clients. So I am considering hosting our on Windows 2003 SBS Premium server.

Current workgroup is setup with all workstations having RAID1 and the file server RAID5 with daily image backups of all workstations using Acronis. File server data is backed up offsite nightly using MozyPro. This setup has proven very reliable and easy to maintain.

My biggest concerns of hosting our own server is that it will require high maintenance and unreliable backups. Please share your thoughts on a low maintenance and reliable/foolproof backup strategy of an SBS server in such an environment.
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hi chrisroman, Why not considering yourself to get a NAS with raid 5 redudancy, SATA powered harddisk and NAS is extremely cheaper if compare to those using tape to backup.
NAS is more cheaper in term of
power compsuption very low,
no need to on your pc to enable file sharing, copying is fast aslo if you are using the 1000mpbs Ethernet
with enabling jumbo frame(several NAS provides this setting)
Just a method of thought,

Don't know how a NAS is low power as drives are constantly spinning non stop.
And how would you archive drive's away? You'll need to have a computer with the right bus to read archived drives, for the life of the archive.

First I think any bit of software that can be configured with policies should be sufficient. eg BackUP Exec or NetbackUp

Get a backup library like a 7 bay, so you can have the active backup-set and backup tapes all loaded at once in the case that tapes fail or are not rotated for a month.

Write some well written policies for backup and monitoring (shoot a positive email every morning after a successful back up).

And show the receptionist how to change tapes every so often for rotation off site.

I think that'll give you more time for more important things.

Hope this helps,



juz to share it out
NAS devices built on Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 are highly reliable and have low maintenance requirements.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

In an ideal or what most IT pros would consider "correctly" setup environment, you would never backup workstations - it's a waste of time and resources.  Workstations should be just that - and very interchangable.  The data should all be stored on the server (which should be backed up properly) and users should then able to access it from any workstation.  I understand without a domain, you don't have a centralized model which forces you to do FAR more management than necessary, but this is one of the advantages you should understand you get from a domain.

SBS - If you install and manage it correctly can be VERY low maintenance.  And I'm unclear why you think backups wouldn't be reliable?  Quite honestly, backups are as reliable as the backup system in place.  Determine what you have to backup and the level of importance your data is.  I have a comment I used to post here until it got too in-depth and long and so I turned it into a web page - I would suggest taking a look at it - www.lwcomputing.com/tips/static/backup.asp

NAS devices running Windows Storage server are nice to have, but they cannot provide domain functionality (though they can participate in a domain).  I would not implement one without an existing active directory.


File server is a NAS device, sorry for not clarifying that.

Data is centralized, but workstations have unique builds due to software licensing. I suppose this could be addressed using Group Policies in a domain, although not all our software can be pushed out with policies.

My primary concern is recovering the SBS server from a disfunctional state in as little time as possible. It's not the data I'm concerned with, but rather the uninterrupted operation of important services and avoiding the long delay and effort of rebuilding/configuring a DC or Exchange server.

I think Disaster Recovery better describes what I am looking for. What is a low maintenance, reliable, and quick method of disaster recovery with a windows 2003 SBS server running DC and Exchange?
Top Expert 2007
Symantec ASR ( FOrmerly LiveState ) and Acronis both have bare metal restore that are about as fast as can be.

You should be able to get Evals for both.

I hope this helps !