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New Backup Solution Needed

fherrera815 asked

I am looking for another backup solution for our situation here.  Let me explain the scenario:

We are backing up 20 servers total at five different sites which amounts to about 1TB of data total.  At three of the sites, we have Dell PowerVault tape drives (1SDLT and 2LTO drives).  Site 1 and 2 backup to LTO#1, sites 3 and 4 backup to LTO#2 and site 5 backs up to its own SDLT.  We are using Symantec BackupExec 11d and take the monthly backup tapes off site each month.

The issue is that the backups take way too long (for a full backup) and we have to end up changing out the tapes frequently to ensure that we get a good backup which can be a real hassle.  

I was considering maybe going to a hard drive backup, possibly some external drives.  

My question is, what would you recommend in this case (hardware wise) and what software would you do it with?

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I would replace the tapes with a high quality NAS box at with a several redundant disks at each location. And begin using the services of www.moxypro.com for the monthly offline backups at each location. I have this setup running for several clients which great success.

A) Very little management overhead as opposed to manual tapes
B) Dramatically lowers the risk factor of user error
C) You always have a geographically diff offsite backup.
D) Offsite backup is completely customizable so you can have near real time data protection
E) Much faster data restores, no more looking for tapes...
F) The list goes on....
Damnit! I meant www.mozypro.com!! do not goto the other link... I hate that...
ok.... third time a charm...lol


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

Not enough information yet.  A VERY important question that will seriously affect your decision - do you archive your backups - meaning, keep them for a period of years, either for legal reference reasons or regulatory reasons?  If the answer is yes, then tape is really your best choice.  Otherwise, I'D still go with tape, but it's not QUITE so clear a decision.  For example, NAS systems don't transport well... and you said you have 1 TB of data... that's $500 per month (assuming you don't keep multiple versions of the data) just for data storage... and we have no idea what kind of internet speed you have - at Verizon FiOS level upload speeds (20 Mb), uploading 1 TB would take over 4.6 days... even with a 100 Mbit pipe to the internet, that's about a full day (and most people don't have that kind of bandwidth).  I know, this stuff is done with differentials of only the changed sectors and they probably have you backup to disk first... and the backups would be of 5 different sites... but still, this seems like a potential to take a VERY long time. I really don't understand how DistinctiveIT can recommend this as a good choice for you.

Have you thought of staggering your backups so that they don't all hit one tape?  For example, do fulls every two weeks and, since two sites are backed up by one, do site A on even weeks and site B on odd weeks.  If that's not an option, then you may be stuck with an auto-loader device.  Now I've had HORRIBLE experiences with virtually ALL Dell branded Tape hardware, so I avoid them -- my good experience has been with Overland and HP systems.  So I would tend to recommend those.

You could just upgrade your tape drives as well - an LTO4 drive supports NATIVE capacities of 800 GB...  and will probably cost you 4 months worth of the backup service DistinctiveIT is suggesting...


Well we keep the monthly backups for one year before we recycle the tapes.  I believe that our bandwidth to the internet is about 10Mbps.  I do agree that the Dell systems suck as we have also had our fair share of issues here.  Hard drives do sound nice but the issue is getting the data off-site.
Technology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
You might want to review my page on backup - www.lwcomputing.com/tips/static/backup.asp

In short, I really think your best bet is to buy new tape drive(s) of a higher capacity or a library or two for the sites you need.  You can also try to shuffle around the tape drives.  If Site 2 is too large for the tape drive it's currently using but site 4 could use site 2's drive and have room to spare then move Site 2's drive to site 4 and buy a new drive for site 2.
I still think MozyPro is a completely viable option for offsite backup. You begin to get larger discounts on larger amounts of data backed up so you would be approaching around $350/month. Compared to the tech time expense and management overhead of manual offsite backups (never mind the necessary expense of an appropriate offsite location, necessary safe, or even a pickup service) in many cases the cost is negligible. As well as a thorough re-evaluation on what exactly gets backed, a cost benefit analysis of having a near real-time backup as opposed to several days or weeks and factoring the risk mitigation, I believe the online backup should be seriously considered.


Thank you both for your responses to my question.  I split the points since you both contributed.  I think that we are going to stick with the LTO2 for now due to budget constraints.  Very informative article Lee.  You pretty much covered all the basics of backups. Thanks again guys.