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Fastest way to copy 3TB of data from server to server?

Posted on 2008-10-14
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Last Modified: 2013-12-01
I need to transfer all the data from our old file server to our new file server, on weekends, at night.  I need an efficient solution that will allow me to keep all NTFS permissions.  Set and forget solution would be preferred.  Any ideas?
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Question by:SysAdmin BBS
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daviddriv earned 500 total points
ID: 22716233
Robocopy works great.  I have used it several times for this exact purpose.  As an added benefit, you can use it to keep both places in sync while you change mapped drives and user mount points.  You can get it from here:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=9D467A69-57FF-4AE7-96EE-B18C4790CFFD&displaylang=en

The syntax I use is:

robocpy <source> <destination> /E /COPYALL /ETA
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by:daviddriv
ID: 22716268
By the way, here is what the switches I specified do (it is available in the help file, but here you go anyways)

/E - Copies all directories, including empty ones
/COPYALL - copies all file attributes, including NTFS permissions
/ETA - gives you an estimated time to copy current file

Since you want a Ron Popeil solution (Set it and forget it), you may want to include the log switch:

/LOG:<filepath>
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Author Comment

by:SysAdmin BBS
ID: 22716340
Is this faster or easier to use than backup/restoring or xcopy?
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by:daviddriv
ID: 22717022
I am not sure it is any faster than xcopy, but it is very easy to use and has a lot of features that let you get it to do exactly what you want it to do.  Theoretically it is faster than a backup/restore, since you would have an intermediate step when you go to tape/disk.  

Actually, if you already have backups, you may be able to leverage your previous full backup and robocopy to minimize the impact to your production system.  So, basically, you would restore your most recent backup of your data to the new location and use robocopy to copy the deltas.  By default, robocopy will skip files that already exist.  When it is done, it will even give you a nice summary of how many files it copied/already existed, how big they were, how long it took, etc.  Using this method, you could really minimize your after hours work (I try to avoid that as much as possible, myself).  

I don't know how your data is being accessed/used, so I can't categorically say this will work for you, but I have actually used robocopy to move user directories live during normal business hours.  The way I did it was that I set robocopy to sync mode (/MOT:<timeinseconds>) along with the switch to exclude files that are older than the target (/XO).  Once the initial copy was done, I changed the Dfs mappings and let the sync complete.  Once I saw there were no remaining open files in the original directory, I stopped the sync and unshared the directory so the user couldn't get to the old location.

Of course, any method you use, you ought to test first with a small representative data set to make sure you get the expected behavior and all of the switches work.
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by:aissim
ID: 22717033
daviddriv is right - robocopy is your best bet. It certainly smashes xcopy performance wise....it's the next generation xcopy on steroids.

And personally, for what you are trying to do, I find robocopy much simpler to handle than a full on backup/restore operation.

(I also like to use the /MOVE switch which deletes files and directories from the source after copying)
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Author Comment

by:SysAdmin BBS
ID: 22720699
Thanks all!  I will start testing this today.
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