Best backup solution

Just wanting to get some advice on backup solutions.

At the moment I have 3 server. 1 is a exchange, the other 2 are DC's. I am backing up roughly 160 gb of data.

We have 3 external 500 gb usb drives using ntbackup for the software.

This is a small school with a small budget. Max on the budget would be $1500 or less ( yes I know )

I want access to the backup files fast. I want the system automated as much as possible. Also I would like email notification if possible.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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We use Symantec Backup Executive.

Has full automation, email notification for completion/errors and so on.

Backs up nicely and its fast.
Also called nortons backup executive.

This link gives you all the options for the symantec products. Under back and Restore you'll find what your after.

Sorry for the 3 posts, but I couldnt find symantec backup executive directly.
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Con366Author Commented:
its over $1200.

3 server = $3600

It's licensed per server
You buy 1 license for the main server and use to back up all the others servers in your Network.
You will need to purchase a backup agent for other servers but they arent $1200 each.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You can look into using my script - it automates NTBackup based on jobs you define and then emails job results.

I've not heard too many horror stories about BackupExec, but being a symantec product, it's really just a matter of time.  I would recommend avoiding it if possible.

Are you using Volume Shadow Copy on the servers?  You should RARELY have to go back to backups -- if you use Shadow Copy.  It creates a kind of online backup that you (and if you chose, your users) can easily recover lost/overwritten data from.  

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Well we've been running it for 3 years and had no problems with it. So no its not a matter of time. :)
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
since you're a non profit you should qualify for a discount;

quick search, try a site such as

You will need one media server and two remote agents, should be within your price range.  

I would include a Backup Exec System Recovery Option which will allow you a very quick bare metal restore, otherwise you'll have to reload OS, patches, etc..  This will also give you option for dissimiarl hardware restore or to virtual servers such as vmware (ESXi, Server) or Microsoft (Hyper-V)

Any software that you need in general you should look for non-profit licenses with Microsoft, Symantec, etc...

Hope this helps
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
alienvoice - I see you haven't worked with Symantec products long... While anything is possible, they BUTCHER the products they buy.  They are a FANTASTIC marketing company - they know how to sell you a product... if they could only figure out how to make the software reliable.  Why has BackupExec been reliable?  MAYBE Symantec finally got things right and KEPT the development team they had when they bought Veritas... or maybe they just haven't had time to rewrite the code to create problems like they've done with their antivirus products, the GoBack product, the disk imaging products, and I'm sure others.  To be clear - the version you are using right now may be quite reliable... it's the versions they are coming out with in the next few years that prompts me to say "it's a matter of time"
Thank you for your opinion leew. I'm not here to debate whether you like or dislike symantec or whether symantec is a great marketing company. I just suggested it.

Perhaps you can start a thread debating symantec and its 'butchering'. Personally it has worked for me, my company and others im involved in. As to my experience with symantec products, Id appreciate you stuck to the topic and not make it personal rather than critising my experience with, just because differs form yours, doesnt make it wrong.

Enjoy your weekend.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Allow me to clarify:

I have used several versions of Backup Exec - version 8.6 was by far the best.  9 was a nightmare... I barely used 10 and I have 11 installed at one client and it seems ok...

I have cited on many occasions - and have had MANY people agree with me - both on this forum and in user groups - that Symantec products have WAY too many problems.  BackupExec WAS a Veritas product and recent versions I'm sure are still largely based on that code base.  I'm simply saying that based on my professional experience AND on countless problems I've seen posted here by people using Symantec products, that use of symantec products should be avoided if possible.  This is MY OPINION.  You are welcome to your opinion.  We appear to disagree.  That's fine.  It happens.  And outside of sticking with Windows Backup, I don't have a much better answer... ArcServe seems to be falling off the face of planet even though I did very much like it when I used it a decade ago.  

To put another way, the only product I would - and occasionally do - buy that's made by Symantec is BackupExec... but their history makes me very wary and I avoid recommending it.  If they clean up their act and learn to program and can come up with some stuff that doesn't break with every service pack and every other random patch, then I'll reconsider them... but now they have to earn my trust back... they had a shot with SEP 10 (or was it 11?  released just over a year ago)... only like usual for symantec products, it caused problems (with SBS servers).  

If you don't want to debate, that's fine... I view debate as a way of expressing a point of view that the author and future readers of the question can review and form their own opinions.  They can look at my opinions, your opinions, and ask their colleagues for their opinions and if either one of our experiences matches theirs.  Ultimately, the important thing is that people have a reliable, working system.
Con366Author Commented:
I will look into the script you made for ntbackup.

I have no problem using ntbackup. One problem I have alot with it is, the reports will show everything okay, but then you try and restore from it, and it gives you cannot recognise media. Which I guess could happen to any software. And good cheap software to try and repair the .bfk files?

so saying I will stay with ntbackup. what do yall see as far as hardware.

As of right now I have 3 500gb external usb drives.

would a raid 5 on each server, and also a separate backup on each suffice?
Leew: Accepted, but a healthy debate does not need to include bringing my experience into question just because it differs from yours. I accept your opinion regarding symantec because in your experience and other you  have spoken to did not have the best results. In my experience and others I have known, we had a better experience with Symantec products.

But your need to put down my opinion:

"I see you haven't worked with Symantec products long"

Just because it differs, wasn't required.

I'll no longer comment on this matter, I consider it closed.

Good luck with it.
Con366Author Commented:
Can we please keep it on topic?

Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
If you're going with a disk to disk technology I would probably stay with imaging products such as Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery or Acronis.  I believe both companies offer deep non-profit discounts and allow for fast bare metal restores as well as mounting images within seconds to pull data from them.  I know that the Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery has an Exchange module and Acrnois may as well but I haven't used it lately.

My $.02

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
If you want to look into imaging based backups, then I would also suggest Acronis.

As for the NTBackup corruption issue, I've seen it too - it seems to happen when there's a file it cannot access... possibly due to a bad sector.  I'm actually researching an issue with it now.

There IS NTBackup recovery software I've used before, unfortunately I don't remember the product.  It worked, though it was very time consuming.  It basically restored the entire BKF file - at least the portions it could read.

One solution I've been considering is doing smaller backups so not EVERYTHING gets corrupt.  

I already separate my backups between system state, data, and exchange and am considering separating them further.

There are many other utilities out there, but the problem with most is that they don't support proper backups of Exchange or of the System State - a requirement if you ever need to restore your active directory.
Julian ParkerSenior Systems AdministratorCommented:
anyone suggested amanda?

I believe there are windows options for this now but used it myself.
Con366Author Commented:

Any chance you can modify the ntbackup script to allow incementials?
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I despise incrementals - they are a nightmare to work with to restore.

If you insist on them, you can change the script by replacing the /m differential to /m incremental.

/M {BackupType}
Specifies the backup type. It must be one of the following: normal, copy, differential, incremental, or daily.
Con366Author Commented:

But I have 500gb of HD space. I would like to hold on to atleast 4 weeks of data if at all possible. Thus the need for this.
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery will do incrementals and will also consolidate incrementals if space is a concern.  You lose some of the granularity of a restore but you gave more space.
Con366Author Commented:

the frist time I ran the script it gave a error about the log file, but it still sent me the email.

After setting the location of the log file, the backup worked correctly, but no email
Con366Author Commented:
NM Leew

The backup script works great. This is given me all that i am looking for. Mainly the email reporting.

And it looks like I will save some money in the software. which allows me to put it into the hardware.

I would love it if you could modify the script to allow full, differential, and incremental. But you cannot have everything in the world.

thanks all for the help.

I'll let you respond, then I will assign the points. have a good weekend
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