SBS Backup Solutions?

Posted on 2008-10-01
Last Modified: 2010-05-19
I have a few SBS networks that I manage, the current backup policies in place are very poor and I want a better way to backup.

My current proposed solution is 3 x 160GB 2.5 External drives that are rotated nightly. Less then $300 and should be pretty easy solution.  My servers both have like < 40GB worth of data and I don't expect it to grow a ton more then that.

I am interested in what your backup solutions are, in particular TechSoEasy's backup solution involving USB external drives. What type of media? How much? How is it rotated?

Question by:TSchug
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Assisted Solution

ccns earned 100 total points
ID: 22618965
I manage 5 SBS servers with very different amount of users per server.
Mostly using Symantecs Backup exec and Tape rotation.
9 tapes.
One for each day mon- thursday 4 friday tapes and 1 spare incase there is a 5th friday in the month.
although one I have works via USB harddrive ( and using windows backup ), and rotation of weekly. which is not reccomended but the company that this was for is very small and could not afford 1drive per day.
LVL 16

Assisted Solution

glenn_1984 earned 100 total points
ID: 22619024
I too prefer tape rotation. Tapes are smaller and lighter than drives.

However, if you are going to use what you have I recommend:

External Drive 1 - two for Monday and one for Thursday
External Drive 2 - a Tuesday and Friday partition
External Drive 3 - a Wednesday and Weekend partition

Backup the whole drive, every night to the appropriate external drive and partition.  That drive gets taken to offsite the next day.  So drive 1 gets taken offsite on Tuesday and returned to the office Thursday morning.

The Weekend partition gets a backup only once a month, in case you ever need to retrieve older data.

That way, you are also protected from theft and fire.  

Once you complete a rotation you will have two drives off site each evening and two drives at the office each work day.

Author Comment

ID: 22619114
Thanks for the input guys.

I think tape has a purpose for large servers, but I cringe at thought of ever having to restore from tape.

As far as partitioning goes I didn't think that was necessary? SBS will store so many versions and should just get rid of the oldest backup on that drive, I don't think there is an easy way to make the SBS wizard deal with partitions and drive letters. Also have to account for the fact that there is no guarantee the drive will get switched every single day. These are busy people, I can see where they would forget to swap. IF they forgot to swap I think SBS would just keep replacing older backups, but I'm not sure.

Backups are stored across the hall in a fireproof enclosure, theft should not be an issue, very secure building, worst case scenario: data isn't super-sensitive.

I feel I'm going the right way with this but would love to get some direction from someone who utilizes a similar setup.
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Expert Comment

ID: 22619219
If that is the case I would sugest getting at least 2 more drives, otherwise when trying to figure out which drive to use could be tedius albiet quick seeing there is only 3 drives, but 3 drive rotation weekly seems to be very hard thing to configure.
One thing i would definately Reccomend getting a backup program, ie: backup exec or similar, only be cause it makes it so much easier when going to restore or backup data.
LVL 74

Accepted Solution

Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 300 total points
ID: 22619440
Your proposed plan sounds just fine.  Using the built-in NTBackup configured using the SBS Backup Wizard with three drives in rotation will give you about 12 full backups to work from (3 per disk).  That is plenty in my opinion when you consider that the server will also be holding about 60 Volume Shadow Snapshot versions of each file within network shares, including user's My Document's folders.
Your assessment about how backups get stored is also correct and if a drive isn't switched out, there is no problem other than a more recent backup will get overwritten than what is on the drive across the hall.
Tape backup is absolutely overkill for most small business environments.  You can read about what I've said regarding this here:  http:Q_23057585.html#20582190  --  I would point out that the next version, SBS 2008 doesn't even support tape backups.  Only USB or eSATA drives are supported.  (Although SBS2008's backup works very differently).
Just be sure to follow the documentation to make sure you have everything set correctly.
LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 22619464
Just to respond to ccns' comment about BackupExec making it easier to restore or backup data... I would wholeheartedly disagree.  I've never had a problem restoring data from the built-in SBS backup.  And configuring BackupExec to create a proper backup can be a difficult task and creates the possibility of missing critical information, whereas the built-in SBS Backup is essentially configured just by running the wizard.

Author Comment

ID: 22619760
Thanks for the response TechSoEasy.

Just to clarify: What do I set the number of full backups to in the SBS wizard? 12?

Also, I notice when NT backup is running the Exchange server backup isn't checked in the background, I assume it's still backing up exchange store just not individual? But it would still be everything I need to revert the server to system state backup and have exchange and files. etc. correct?

This solution sounds great to me, much cheaper then the RD1000 and easy to upgrade if our storage requirements ever change.
LVL 74

Expert Comment

by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 22620082
First of all.. .my math was off.  The total backups using 3 drives is really just 9.  Which still should be enough.  
Set the total backups to 3 though.  With proper disk rotation this will still catch 9.  If your storage requirements change you can always get larger USB drives (you can now get 500GB 2.5" drives).

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