Backup solution

Posted on 2009-05-05
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I would like so views and possible solutions to our current setup.

Our current backup solution uses tapes. Our server is acts as a DC 2003, exchange server and a file/print server. A staff member puts the 120GB tape every night and Arcserve manager backs up the server data, exchange, files & folders then in the tape is store in a fire proof safe until next week.

We have 8 tapes labelled  Mon-Thurs and Fri1  Fri4. Arcserve does a few backup every night. I really dont like using tapes as Ive had problems in the past restoring data.

Our problem is we now need to backup more than 120GB and would like some possible solution.

Possible solution I can think of are

Upgrade to a higher tape drive and tape
Backup the data to another site. We have a remote office in Dublin which we could install a backup server at.

What are your view on each ??
Question by:QGolden
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JBlond earned 50 total points
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What about using external USB hard drives as a backup target? The backup and the restore would be much quicker compared to the tapes and you could access the backups not only from the server as you don't need a tape drive anymore.

Remote backup would be another option but if that's really reasonable depends on the bandwidth between both sites. A differential or incremental backup during the week may complete during night but how long would it take to transfer 120 GB? If the bandwidth is sufficient, what happens if the data volume increases to 200 GB in the future? Does the backup still complete during the weekend?
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itprotocall earned 50 total points
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As JBlond suggested, i would opt for a disk (may be USB) as a backup target.
A 500 GB or 1 TB disk should be much more cost effective than buying a new set of large capacity tapes.

Adding upon that, Arcserve has an in-built Disk-to-Disk-to-Tape feature using which you can have all your Mon-Thu and Fri1-Fri4 backups targetted to disk.

Then just migrate your Fri1-Fri4 backups to your existing set of tapes (for redundancy and long term archival)

This way you have data available on disk for faster restores, and more protected data on tapes for archival.

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MSWarrior earned 50 total points
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We had a similar backup cycle as yours. And as you mentioned it is not wise to rely just on the tapes, so we configured remote backups to an external data centre (they claim to be the most secure in the UK).

Configuring it was really simple as we ran all the backups on to an external hard drive and then personally delivered it to the data centre. Then once they have the image on the remote server you can setup differential backups so that it only transfers new or modified data from your servers to the data centre. It is all encrypted and the main key is held by us only. We have such an arrangement (SLA) so that in case of any disaster, this company will load all our data onto a similar config Server and deliver within a certain agreed time. This leaves no room for any data loss.

Let me know if you would like some more info on this.
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Dextertronic earned 50 total points
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Do not rely on external hard disks as a reliable long term backup solution as they die all the time.
Keep your long term backups on tape.

A couple of suggestions

Use a server imaging solution like Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery Server or Acronis to create images of your System and Application volumes every night tape an external hard disk. These images can be used to restore your server to nearly any hardware in the event of server failure.
Use 5 external disks Monday through Friday and send them offsite with your tapes.
Only backup your data (not the OS or Apps) to tape.
The server imaging backup is fast and will reduce your backup window.
Not putting the OS and the apps on the tape will allow you to continue using your current tape drive.
The server imaging software all the usual stuff like incremental backups, alerting etc.

I use a combination of BE System Recovery Server for images and Arcserve for tape.

If you want to look at online backup have a look at the combination of Symnatec Backup Exec for Windows (their tape backup software) and the Online Storage For Backup Exec service.
Basically instead of selecting a tape drive as your destination for your data you select Symantec's online storage  solution.

If you really wanted to look at pushing your data across the web to a remote site have a look at Doubletake We use it to sync our prod exchange servers with servers in our DR centre. Great stuff.
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SelfGovern earned 50 total points
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Remember that it can take an expensive link, or a lot of time, to send server-sized backups to remote locations over a wire.

I agree about not relying on disk for archive... disk needs to be kept spinning to ensure it doesn't lose data.

Too big for one tape?  Sure you could upgrade to a larger tape drive... but if you're doing backups every night, you could also make a small change in your backup jobs, like this...

Today you probably do a full backup on Friday and incremental backups (only changed files) on other days.  But what happens if you do full backups for half your servers on Thursday, full backup for the other half on Friday, and incremental backups daily for any server that doesn't have a full backup done that day?  

Or... if there's someone in the office, just set up your backup to span tapes.

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