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Backup Solution Best Practices / SOP?

Posted on 2008-10-28
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I'm trying to optimize our backup solution by starting with the backup jobs first however, I need to present justification for changing the entire process. We use tape backups and physical replace the tapes quarterly with new tapes. We have 60 tapes total. We don't really overwrite them.

I'm trying to optimize this process to save money and for most efficiency based off of standard operating procedures and best practices.

Does someone have something simliar that I can use as a template or at least something with the correct formating with what I'm trying to do?

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Question by:snyderkv
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by:vikasjus
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Hi

You should have noted something about current process so that suggestion could have very specific points as where improvement is required, what is not as per recommendation and what need to be done to control cost.
I think following are few aspects that you must consider.
Backup is something which will save you in disaster so cutting down on cost should not be done at cost of business loss or data loss.
So most impotently
-      Note down critical server/production servers (Mail server, database server, any ERP/SAP etc.)
List down less critical servers
-      List down utility or non impacting servers
-      List down data and its size  that you want to backup from production servers
-      List down data and its size  that you want to backup from less critical servers
-      List down configuration backup for utility servers (AD, DNS, DHCP etc)
Once you have list of above items, draft it in a document and set schedule at what intervals this document will be audited with actual process and actual presence of above items.
At same time get approval from business about data that you are backing up. So that they will also have clear image of what things are getting backup and what is not. Set schedule for this review also.
For backup job you will get fare idea from above listing that who much of total data you will have to backup in your environment.
According to data size and speed of backup device calculate approx amount of time required to backup listed data size.
Next step that you will have to do is break this data size into severity, which is at what interval these data should be backup. I mean daily, weekly, monthly,  you have to identify what amount of data need to be backup on daily basis, weekly basis and on monthly basis.
Most common and easy breaking is as follows
Keep separate tape cartridge for Database backup, and file backup.
Database is something you will have to take daily differential backup and file is also daily differential. Keep full backup at weekends for both database and file. Now here your weekly backup will take time that you have calculated in above listing. Differential backup will take much less time than weekly backup.
Here is tape rotation that you can follow. I assume that you have one DB server and one FS server so tape usage will be as follows
I will maintain two sets of 6 cartridges for daily backup and 5 tapes for weekly backup so total tape required in a month will be 22 plus you will have to keep 24 tapes for whole year. So to backup two different servers I need to maintain 46 tapes.
Further in more details how these tapes will be recycled in a whole years is as follows.
In first week of month Use 6 different cartridges from Monday to Saturday and perform differential backup. On Sunday use full backup cartridge and perform full backup. Now out of these set Sunday backup tape should be sent to offsite location as weekly backup and rest other tapes that is tapes used between Monday to Saturday should be recycled in next week. Add new tape for Sunday. Again this time Sunday backup tape will go to off site location and rest other will recycle for next week on respective days. Keep this cycle till last week and keep on adding new tape on Sunday.
Once you reach month end send last week Sunday full backup to offsite location as monthly backup and recycle entire set of tapes including Sunday backup for next month.
At year end keep monthly backup as is in offsite location and discard old tapes and use new tapes.
This cycling will give you optimum backup availability but off course at some cost as in a year you will have to maintain minimum 23 tapes for single server. Now question is you are not saving on cost so setup your backup jobs and server data backup in such manner so that one tape can have multiple servers backup or one tape is capable of taking all server backups. So it depends on size of tape cartridge that you are using for backup.

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by:Hedley Phillips
Hedley Phillips earned 250 total points
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We do a full backup each night of our data and systems. The application we use (XPP) means that we can't do incremental backups due to the way it writes and stores files.

In our backup schedule we have enough tapes to cover a month, split into weekly sections. Each tape is written to and then taken out and off site that night. We load a weeks set of tapes on the Monday while the others are kept off site.

The Saturday tapes go to my house, all the others go to the Directors.

Once a month we take the oldest  tape out and store it permanently at a different site. We can now go back through over 5 years worth of monthly tapes if we need to.  A new tape is then inserted in its place. This way we rotate through the media and all our tapes are kept new.

In addition to this... we take a snapshot of our data on the primary server and sync it to our secondary server on the AX150i SAN box. This occurs at lunchtime and takes 4 hours. So by 5pm ish, the 2nd server has a complete copy of the data taken at midday.

On top of all this... We also take a tape over to our disaster recovery site and restore it to our tertiary system. So by Wed/Thursday we have an off site disaster recovery copy of our data taken on Sunday.

We test data restores on a regular basis and have also used a system restore to rebuild a domain controller/application server from scratch.

I also test Exchange Recovery Storage groups on a regular basis.

While we don't have a blank cheque book to spend on backups, we know what the cost of not having good data can be both financially and in terms of customer expectations. Pennies saved on backups can cost thousands of pounds when it goes wrong.

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by:vikasjus
vikasjus earned 250 total points
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Looking at above backup methods your have most protected process where in you have more than two options to recover lost data. What new process you want to introduce / want change in to? What thoughts you have about present process change?
What I can sense from this is if XPP is not allowing incremental backup, no issues, snapshot is doing that job. I think we need to work out more on daily full backup to find out more optimization.
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snyderkv earned 0 total points
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Ok here is the process

We need one year of backups available

So at the end of the year we rotate old backups quarterly. So about 120 tapes every three months go back into the machihne and get overwriten.

We use Full backups for small jobs and only incrementals on brick mailbox level backups and the huge file server obviously. We don't use snapshot but we do use the GRT option even though it doesent work because we use tape backups so it's pretty much useless since it ocpies the entire database to the backup server (staging area)  even when you choose one little message.



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