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Backup plan for 3 servers (450GB) - SQL 2008, Active Directory on Win2k3, linux

We're reaching our limits on our current tape backup solution. While looking around, three consultants gave me different solutions and so I thought I'd come here for feedback.

I have:  
Windows server 2008 running SQL 2008 (150GB of data) running a good to-file backup plan.   Windows Server 2003 hosting Active Directory and right now doing all the file sharing (profiles, home directories, etc).
Linux servers doing flat-files backup to the windows server for backup.

I need 450GB of files backed up and archived in case of lost data, lost server and point-in-time recovery.

I also need to think about system recovery like system state so that if I lose a server I can get something comparable back up fairly quickly.

Option 1) Backup server with backup exec, agents and an Ultrium 3 or 4 tape drive to backup all files to disk image, then backup to tape.  Pros: can easily do off-site backup/ if one of the servers die I still have the backup server to recover from / if backup server dies, not mission-critical.  Cons: In the event of catastrophic failure, it can be tricky to restore everything from tapes.

Option 2) Disk-based appliance that handles all the backups.  Pros: Fast, instant. Cons: off-site backup more expensive, limited by disk space so might limit my point-in-time recovery options.

Option 3) Virtualization.  Pros: Portable. Cons: I don't have much hardware to setup as a test environment and probably require fine-tuning to get performance 100% (or even usable);  Still need a file backup solution.

Maybe because it's what I"m used to, option 1 still makes the most sense to me.

Any other options?  Discuss!
3 Solutions
Sai Prasad KinneraSupport Delivery ManagerCommented:
I would go with below things

1) Would have a backup scheduled/planned to perform disk to disk to tape

2) Have a backup software which can perform deduplication of the data using its own algorithm so that you can save disk space

3) when using step one you have option to send the data tape offsite and keep the data on disk atleast for a week or depending upon the retrieval of the data.

4) this would eliminate any kind of catastrophic problem if i have disk locally or attached to backup server hence we can eliminate cons from your point one.

5) restoring data from tapes will depend on the type of backup you set, either incrementals(full week) + weekend backup( full backup) or last differential + full backup would be the stragey to perform restore.

6) If you dont have option to either setup or use the same hard disk to perform de dup part you can use a USB disk where data written to it will be much faster.

7) virtualisation needs a lot of money and i would not prefer to get things virtualised untill and unless i have to backup data over 1 TB over SAN

Best example of deduping data would be

Suppose you backup 10 TB to a 25 TB disk, which means you can store a full backup for just one week. Using data deduplication, your first full backup might require only 8 TB of space. However, subsequent backups performed with data deduplication might require only as much as 800 GB (about 10% of its former space requirements). You would then be able to store about 20 full backups - about 5 months of backups - on the same disk.
Using this example, you could retain backup images:
 2 weeks without deduplication
 20 weeks with deduplication

there is only one software which is avaialble to perform de dup that it is arcserve backup software

check www.arcserve.com for more information.

even if you go with any other software i would prefer going with option 1 and option 2 so that i can remove few cons from both

hope this helps
Iamthecreator OMAdministrateur Systeme et ReseauxCommented:
Go with option 1
If considering option 2 go Backup Exec System Recovery 8.5.3 :Imaging disk based software allows point in time recovery,backs up to alternate FTP location for offsite storage and also allows Granular recovery of items from image backups eg. Databases,emails etc.
It also allows P2V and V2P conversion of images
you can also have a look at CA ARCserve Backup R12.5 which has the ability of Data Deduplication which will save backup space and time.

Follow the below link for more information on Data Deduplication from CA Arcserve Backup R12.5


for more information regarding CA ARCserve backup  -  http://arcserve.com/
Some good advice above, but please consider this:
- If you do deduplication in the backup software, it will probably have a noticeable effect on your system's CPU load, and may slow down other processes.  It will almost certainly slow down your backups.
- Although not strictly 'deduplication', HP's Data Protector software allows you to do an "incremental forever" backup strategy to disk, where you do a full backup, then incremental backups after that, periodically running a "synthetic full" process to get a physical tape that contains the same files as if you'd run a full backup at that point.   Since we're only doing incremental backups after day 1, you aren't sending the same unchanging files week after week (day after day?) as part of your full backups.  
- If you use a backup appliance that is a disk target, be aware that it probably won't be "instant".  With LTO-3 at 80MB/sec native, and LTO-4 at 120MB/sec native, the physical tape drive will probably be faster for single streams than the D2D appliance would be (Unless the file system is the bottleneck, which it may well be).   Most D2D appliances have their peak performance when several or many simultaneous backups are active at once... but a single job might be limited to 40 MB/sec.

Certainly direct to tape is one of the simplest and most tested methods.  If you have HP or Compaq servers and an HP tape drive, you can also make use of One Button Disaster Recovery (AKA Boot from Tape), which puts a boot image on the tape, and the tape and HBA firmware allow the tape drive to ID itself as a bootable CD device at boot time... then you load your primary backup (OS partition at least) in one fell swoop, instead of having to load OS, add patches, load backup SW, restore from tape.
gozolietAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the info. for cost-reasons most likely going to upgrade tape drive on current server and backup all servers to it using an agent.

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