What is the best backup drive option for a server?

Posted on 2007-11-19
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
I hvae a client, which is a medical office, that has a database server, which will hold about 20GB of data (including scanned forms) annually. The data could grow to about 60GB over three years.

My personal preference has always been to use REV Drives, which I have set up on a number of occassions and they work great. Never had an issue with it. I also know it's only 36GB, but offers 90GB compressed, and that too has worked well for me.

However the database manufacturer has recommended using external removable USB drives as backups.

My set up with the REV drives was to have three disks on a rotational basis. If the client were to do the same with USB drives, he would need three (which is not a problem) but then it would have to be disocnnected from the server everyday, and the next one connected.

I am not too crazy about that since it means hardware been connected and disconnected all the time.

The server is a Windows 2003 Standard server and I will be using Symantec (Veritas) backup software.

What solution is the best to use? Any other option? I would also consider tape drives, but would prefer only external ones, so it could easily be moved to another server for disaster recovery if necessary.

Thank you.
Question by:cfgchiran
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Expert Comment

ID: 20316610
If you are going to use external USB drives and do not want to unplug them every day.  Create 3 separate backup jobs. 1 for Monday & Thursday, 1 for Tuesday & Friday, and 1 for Wednesday & Saturday.  You will never have to remove the drives unless you are evacuating.

A better option is using an online backup service.  There are several, but I use eSure It ( I backup about 75 to 100 GB of compressed data every night for $350 per month.

Author Comment

ID: 20316670
The three seperate drives would not work, because the main idea behind using a REV drive with changeable disks is to put them away in a safe or off site for protection. The on-line backup, while an option, is not practical from a cost stand point.

Thank you for your suggestions.

Accepted Solution

victorjones1 earned 500 total points
ID: 20319901
Other than an online backup service or your REV drive solution, you could go with an off-site tape vaulting company such as Iron Mountain.  For a minor charge they can pick up your backup tapes every day, once or twice a week, etc. and store them in a safe for you.  An external DAT72 tape drive is about $500 and should connect to any server you have via USB, SATA, or SCSI depending on the model.  The DAT72 tapes hold about 72 GB compressed data.
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Expert Comment

ID: 20319938
As a Hurricane Katrina survivor I can assure you that the online backup is the best way to go.  Tapes & tape drives can be destroyed very easily.  ESureIT has a 25GB plan for $110 per month which would cover your data requirements.  You could also try  They have a plan for 50GB for $50 per month.

Author Comment

ID: 20321562
Victor - Thanks for the suggestions. My client only has a DSL connection. This is a pretty small office. While the on-line option would be great, it just seems that it would need a very high speed connection. Would it not?

Expert Comment

ID: 20321644
Before switching I thought that it would be a problem, too.  The initial backup takes a large amount of time if it is done online, but after that only new and changed files are sent.  On my file server I have about 60 GB of data backed up and my nightly backup only sends between 750 MB and 1 GB of changed or new files.  It takes about 2 hours for that backup to run, but between 8-10 PM no one uses the system.

The online backup services suggest doing the initial backup to and external HDD and shipping it to them if there are time constraints.  I did my initial backup online over the weekend and it took about 6 hours, but i have significantly more data than you to backup.  You should be able to send your initial backup online in a reasonably short amount of time.

Expert Comment

ID: 20321662
I have 3 servers using the online backup service at the same time, so your single service will get the full DSL bandwidth if done overnight.

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