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Best way to backup SBS 2003

memo242
memo242 asked
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HI,
I have an SBS 2003 standard installed in a medical office. I need some suggestions from the experts on the best way to backup this server...Currently i have 2 external hard drives that i use for backups. One drive is scheduled for backup on Mon-Wed-Fri and one for Tus-Thru and Sat. My questions are "I hope you can address them one by one" :

1- Is it better to eliminate the external hard drives and invest in a tape backup drive?
2- If so, what is a recommended tape backup drive. Also should i get internal or external device?
3-  What is the recommended schedule for a tape drive backup. Daily/Weekly/Monthly!!!
4- How do i cover myself if the serve goes down. How can i create a backup of the entire settings and files of the server including active directory components, exchange server, group polices, and all other sbs settings.
5- I am running my own exchange server on the sbs box. How can i backup users mailboxes and settings..
6- Is there a backup software solution that anyone recommends.

In Brief, I need to be ready in case of a disaster.

Thanks very much for addressing all my questions!!!
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Adam GrahamEnterprise Architect
Commented:
1) I personally believe external hard drives are easier and more reliable, however others disagree!
2) I wouldn't bother
3) Configure NT Backup via the wizard in your Server Management and it will walk you through it
4) NT Backup will allow you to select EVERYTHING you need
5) As per number 4, NT Backup IS Exchange aware so this isnt a problem
6) If you want to invest in third party backup, there are many. The biggest considersation is to make sure they are Exchange aware, such as Backup Exec for Small Buinsess Server.

In relation to the external hard disks, ensure you have enough capacity on these drives to hold more than one backup set. I have a rotation of 5 disks, Mon-Fri with 2 sets per disk meaning I have a 10 day backup redundancy all for less than £350!!! You will never achieve that with tapes at that price!

Good Luck

Adam
Commented:
some additional comments

1) Disks are fine. They're just as reliable as tape, and at your likely budget, just as fast. I'd not use them both plugged in at all times however, like it sounds you have it. Instead I'd have three disks, and do a rotation to keep one offsite, one in transit, and one doing the backup, and rotate them each day. I agree with Adam, get disks that are three times the size of your server's complete available storage, so you can keep multiple  backup sets per disk, thus giving longer historic records. It's horrible when a user asks for a folder to be restored from a month ago, and you just don't have it. We generally use a 10 backup set rotation, which goes:

Mon, Tues, Weds, Thurs, Week1,
Mon...Thurs, week2
Mon...Thurs, Week3
Mon...Thurs, Month1
Mon...Thurs, Month2
Mon...Thus, Month3

So that you have 3 months historical data, using just 10 backup sets.

3) Daily, definitely. Most people don't bother with weekends, unless you have a lot of data being generated during weekends.
4) Backup in the SBS Server Management does a complete system backup, not just files, so you can fully restore the entire server and active directory etc from it - it also has a facility to assign a "tape" (in your case disk) changer who then receives an email each day to remind them to do the deed.
6) I agree - BackupExec for Small BUsiness Server is the easiest, most comprehensive solution, and is fairly inexpensive. We recommend all SBS users buy a proper backup solution such as backupexec, as this then gives much better configuration and brick level backup facilities. You'll find the SBS Built In Backup very limited when it comes to things like restoring specific email folders for a user and the like.

Commented:
Oh, and BackupExec for SBS also has Disaster Recovery solution in it, where it creates a boot image that you can use to boot and then restore from the backup set directly, for really really speedy disaster recovery.

Btw - if you've got the budget, buying a complete duplicate copy of your main server and pre-installing it with SBS2003 (but don't activate the license) is very sensible and inexpensive way of ensuring the fastest possible Disaster Recovery. Don't rely on getting spare parts from a supplier as part of a DR plan - especially as you're in the medical industry!

Commented:
slight rewrite:

Btw - if you've got the budget, buying a complete duplicate copy of your main server hardware and pre-installing it with your existing SBS2003 license (but don't activate the license) is very sensible and inexpensive way of ensuring the fastest possible Disaster Recovery. Don't rely on getting spare parts from a supplier as part of a DR plan - especially as you're in the medical industry!
Adam GrahamEnterprise Architect

Commented:
'very sensible and inexpensive way of ensuring the fastest possible Disaster Recovery'

That depends on your server hardware!! But were possible would indeed be a great idea :)

Adam

Commented:
He he - yeah, depends on config. But with Quad core, 4Gb RAM, 750Gb usable RAID 10 servers from Dell cosing under $2000 at the moment, I wouldn't have thought it would be mega bucks!

We have hot spares like this at several clients - it's so much cheaper to implement than a live spare using an sbs aware sync program like doubletake
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Commented:
People like to boil backup down too much, in my opinion.  There are many issues that need to be addressed in a backup scheme...

for example:
1.  Legal
2.  Desire to keep backups for a period of time
3.  Size of the data being backed up
4.  Amount of the data being backed up.
5.  The importance and frequency of change

For example, does your industry have any LEGAL requirements for how and when you backup?  Pretty sure medical data needs to be encrypted...

Great, you have 5 days worth of backup... what happens in six months when a patient returns and you can't find his files?  A backup from 6 months and a week ago might have them... but the last 6 or 7 probably won't either.

If you are backing up 0 to 200 (maybe as much as 500 GB) then hard drives do, on the surface, make sense... but tapes themselves are cheaper than hard drives... it's the tape drive hardware that's hideously expensive.  You need to figure out how much using tape will cost you, including the purchase of the tape drive, vs. how much external hard drives cost.

Some of your data may be VITAL to backup every day - or more.  For example, the accounting data... but other data, such as "forms" might be something you can backup once a week or less...

Spending a little time now could save you LOTS of headaches later.  

For more information, please refer to my page on backup (it started as a comment here and got so extensive, I turned it into a web page) - http://www.lwcomputing.com/tips/static/backup.asp

Author

Commented:
great suggestions...thanks to all