Disk backup solution recommendations please


More and more customers are asking for improvements to their backup solution these days, so I'm just wondering what other people are using and how they find them.

Ideally the solution would be a server/NAS box on the network that multiple servers will back up to (Windows only; Exchange, SQL etc.) on a regular basis (nightly but continuous would be interesting).  A tape drive would then be connected to the box so backups could be done to it and the tapes taken offsite.

Ideally we're talking some form of HP box backing up to an LTO4 type backup drive.  The software to make it all happen would preferably be HP or Veritas/Symantec but I'm open to options.

Thanks, all thoughts appreciated!
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stsonlineConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I'm using a combination of the HP MSA1000 modular storage array and HP StorageWorks LTO 16-tape library, with Veritas BackUp Exec software. Nightly backups go to Backup-to-Disk folders within the MSA1000, then weekly backups go to tape - two sets, one for local restores and one for off-site storage to Iron Mountain. This setup has worked very well for over 4 years with minimal maintenance and a clear upgrade path, both for disks, disk array hardware, and software. On average, the weekly tapes are holding between 250-400GB per set.
Personally I go for K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid) redundancy.

I get my clients tape drives that will back up any single server to one or two tapes (more on that below).
I no longer use brick level backup for Exchange (though I do backup the information store).
For individual mailboxes I use automated, command line exmerge on the Scheduler.  This creates .pst files that ARE backed up to tape.

There is a tape for each day of the week that is used in rotation.  Some clients use a two week rotation.  Some have a monthly backup as well, particularly if they are running accounting systems.

Backups to one tape are complete...no differential or incremental.  When I need to restore, I know that the data on the tape is complete for the day of backup.  Also, since backups take place when the office is closed, there is no negative.

If the system is too large for one tape, data backups are done every day.  Windows OS and other major programs are backed up once a week.

None of my clients need real time duplication of their system, but I would replicate server a to server b if it was that critical.

I use Backup Exec and NTBackup.
Davis McCarnOwnerCommented:
I have had great luck with a program called BackupAssist ( http://www.backupassist.com/index.html )
It gives you a menu driven, simple interface, which then scripts the jobs, managing the media library and using the native NTBackup.  You can do almost anything you want to with it!
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veedarConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Two very good free open source solutions to consider...


Zenith63Author Commented:
glenn_1984, DavisMcCarn, veedar - To be honest in this case we're looking for more of an 'enterprise' solution, if you know what I mean.

stsonline - So come Friday you'll have 5 nightly backups in the Backup-to-Disk folder, do you then back all these up to your tape library?  Do you have Backup Exec running on one server with remote agents to all the others?  What you've done (hardware and software wise) is essentially what we would like to do, though I would like some way of having more regular snapshots.  Whereby a piece of software would take regular incremental snapshots of the servers (say every 10 minutes or every hour) to a disk storage device, then every night this piece of software knows what to put together to make one complete backup.  I very much want to avoid a case where one piece of software is doing disk backups while another piece of software is backing this data up as a normal file backup, such that you could have a case where the first backup doesn't work for some reason but the second piece of software backs up everything it thinks it should but is only getting old data.  I hope that makes sense...

Anybody else any thoughts?

Yep, we take the multiple daily backups from the B2D folders and send them to tape. Once the tape verification is complete, the daily B2D folders are set to purge the dailies to make room for the next weeks' worth. Backup Exec runs on a central server with remote agents on the production systems, which allow for centralized control of the backup jobs and scheme. You can configure multiple backup jobs, use UNC naming to grab dispersed data relevant to the job, and store the entire backup set in a single volume for later retrieval. From what you've described, I think this would be a very viable solution for you.

Regarding more regular snapshots, our database backups are hourly snapshots so transaction logs are available for immediate retrieval - Backup Exec is very flexible in its' ability to meet your needs. We used to have three backup systems but it became a logistical nightmare, so we went to this model and have been very pleased with the result.
andyalderConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Unfortunately the D2D backup system is based on a small ML - I think it's a ML350. The 6000 virtual library is a bit more enterprise as is the DL380 Data Protection Server although why it's got MSA30s rather than MSA60s I don't know.

You might also want to look at Backup Exec Continuous Protection Server. Anything backup related can sit on Windows Storage Server so you don't get licensing costs for Windows CALs.
Could I suggest StorGrid by Vembu


It will fo pretty much all that you are looking for, B2D , incremental and scheduled tasks

Forced accept.

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