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Seeking ideal workstation backup to server

Posted on 2008-10-11
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Windows 2003 SBS Server, recently setup as DC and file server for 15 users.

Users MyDocuments and Desktop folders are mapped directly to the user shares on the the server, thus they are backed up regularly.

The rest of the user profiles remain on the workstation. Not only that, but certain users have individual software packages, which save the data locally on their workstations.

I want to be able to backup those additional files to the server, so my Symantec Backup can cover those as well.

Ideally, I would like to have a backup tool that
- runs on the workstation
- remembers  "source folders" (local files) and "destination" (server shares)
- does not trigger according to a schedule, but instead triggers when the user shuts down the computer at the end of the day
- can gracefully shutdown the workstation when it is done backing up
- reports activity / failure, (by email?)

even if not all above conditions are fulfilled, it would make sense that a tool / mechanism for such a need were availble... is there such a tool?
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Question by:Ronino
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 22695846
If you use group policy's redirected my documents, and you can relocate the user's local data folders to reside in their My documents they will be synced with the server at every logon and logo off automatically.

If moving the data to the local My Documents folder is not an option you could use a 3rd party tool such as http://www.secondcopy.com to sync the files. It can be set to even sync every time the file is changed.
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Author Comment

by:Ronino
ID: 22695881

3rd party tools with per-license costs, probably installed and configured individually on each machine, seem like a prohibitive / unwieldily solution...

Is there an option for a VB script / "copy.exe on steroids", that could be triggered on the client machine when the shutdown command is used, do a simple copy for local to mapped drive, and then allow the system to shutdown?
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 22695906
You can create a simple batch file using xcopy or robocopy and apply it using group policy as a logoff script. The policy is:
User configuration | windows settings | scripts (logon/logoff)
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Author Comment

by:Ronino
ID: 22695950

any way to send notification of the result from that batch file? I know of some command line SMTP tools (http://www.beyondlogic.org/solutions/cmdlinemail/cmdlinemail.htm) but they tend to be rather crude (no SMTP auth, limited piping), so I couldn't report in the email if the xcopy or robocopy job failed or succeeded.

Thanks,
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 22696094
There are a couple of command line options for sending an e-mail but as you mentioned they are very crude. You could export the results to a text file and review each day with something like:
xcopy "C:\Program Files\Folder1"  \\Server\Backup\   /E  /V  /Y  >>\\Server\Logs\BkUpLog.txt
However, an application like Second Copy offers far more configurable options with detailed logs, e-mail reports, and alerts.

Can you not relocate the application data files? There are very few apps where you cannot do this. If you can, redirected my documents is a very common and simple way to implement this.
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Author Comment

by:Ronino
ID: 22697067

I can't relocate all those files to MyDocuments. Since MyDocuments is already on the server, in the user's shared folder, the access time would be too great.

Also, files like outlook's PST storage files, are specifically prohibited from over-the-network usage, and they are prone to file corruption if they are used over the network.

I am considering using a tool like http://sourceforge.net/projects/cobianbackup,
it seems to have all the features of Second Copy, but I'm not sure wether the Mozilla Public License 1.1 allows for its indiscriminate use in a commercial / EDU environment.
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Rob Williams earned 180 total points
ID: 22697295
My point was, you have SBS which has many built-in features that are very easy to implement. It sounds like you have manually re-configured these such as changing the pointer for My Documents to a share o the server. Also if you are using SBS defaults you would be using Exchange and there is no need to sync Outlook files.

SBS is not the same as server 2003, and is indented to be used with all defaults and in many cases the wizards MUST be used. If the computers are joined to the domain and the clients created, both using the server management wizards, then you simply click on the appropriate link in server management and choose redirect my documents. This will synchronize the local My Documents folder with the server during logon and logoff with the automatically created "users shared folders" folder. Thus the user while working is using the local copy. This also gives you an extra backup , local and server. You are correct this cannot be used for Outlook .pst files, but also it will not work for database files if that is an issue.
As for Outlook, using Exchange in cached mode (the default) maintains a copy of the e-mail on the server as well as a locally cached .ost file which can easily be converted to a .pst if needed for recovery, or when the network is not available.

Both of these are even more beneficial with a laptop as the files are always available when the network is or is not present.

I am not familiar with Cobian, but there are definitely many applications similar to Second Copy available. It is just the one I have used frequently, and therefore recommended.
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Assisted Solution

by:cristides
cristides earned 20 total points
ID: 22698202
Hi,
 you can create a batch file to run before computer off which must to copy the files and folders specified directly to the server,then run ntbackup and store all files on the backup server.
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Author Comment

by:Ronino
ID: 22786066
Found a wonderful tool in Cobian Backup, http://www.educ.umu.se/~cobian/cobianbackup.htm

Version 8 is OSS if that's you thing (Mozilla Public License 1.1)

Version 9 has a no-strings-attached license of its own (sound like no implied warranty, no costs, no usage limitations as long as distributable integrity is maintained and credit given to author, see full text).


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Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 22792822
Looks like a good option. I may give it a try myself.
Thanks Ronino.
Cheers !
--Rob
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