Best practise to keep profiles backed up..

Windows server 2008
Windows 7 Clients / Windows XP Pro clients

What is the best practice to keep some sort of backup on the user profiles without having to buy a backup software to actually do the job? (i do back up the server but don't have budget for anything above that)

- Roaming profiles (so that i can backup the roaming profiles off the server)?

 - Make their my documents a server folder instead (so that the filder physically resides on the server)

- Find some freeware folder synch program and keep a synced folder on the server.

How do you guys do it, and what is the best practice?
somewhereinafricaAsked:
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DonNetwork AdministratorCommented:
I like to use DFS along with folder redirection. Read the article here


http://www.windowsnetworking.com/articles_tutorials/Profile-Folder-Redirection-Windows-Server-2003.html


From the article:



The reason why I recommend doing this is because DFS allows you to  create replica servers. This means that you would have multiple servers  containing copies of user profiles and redirected folders. These servers  can work together to balance the workload. They also provide you with a  measure of fault tolerance. If a server were to fail, the remaining DFS  replicas would pick up the slack and the users would never be aware of  the failure. Having multiple replicas also gives you the luxury of being  able to take a server down for maintenance in the middle of the day  without disturbing the users.
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somewhereinafricaAuthor Commented:
What happens when it is on a laptop, and the laptop is off the network?
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DonNetwork AdministratorCommented:
In those cases, I would train the users to use an external hard drive and backup their documents.
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Eskimo2704Commented:
The simpelest way is to raid your drives that the profiles are stored on. Granted these are not removable, but with raid 1, you autmatically create a mirrored backup.

Another thing you could do is turn on Shadow Copy on the drive wher ethe profiles are stored. You then have a role back copy of your raided drives.
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somewhereinafricaAuthor Commented:
@Eskimo - I assume you mean roaming profiles?
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DonNetwork AdministratorCommented:
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somewhereinafricaAuthor Commented:
@dstewartjr - not feasible in an organization of any size over a handful of users. Also, "train your users"?
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DonNetwork AdministratorCommented:
Shadowprotect is a good option, it can be scheduled to backup when they come online


http://www.storagecraft.com/resellerpages/softchoice.html
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Eskimo2704Commented:
Yes Roaming Profiles
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andrewrnzCommented:
I don't like roaming profiles, you need to be careful and set them up right. At my workplace we don't have folder redirection on "My Documents" so our roaming profile users can have very slow logon/off times. I can't change this cos I am not high up enough in the food chain. One user saved an Office 2007 installer file to her desktop and then wondered why it took so long to log on to PCs! It's cos she was copying 500 MBs everytime she logged on to a different PC since downloading that file! Other issues we run into are any errors in user's profiles get propogated back to the server and then on to any other PC they touch. Then to fix any issues we need to fix the PC they are on, fix the server profile and then find out which PCs they have touched and fix all of those! Messy.

Despite what I have just said, I guess I it would be easiest to use roaming profiles to backup your user's profiles. But be aware of the pitfalls and ensure you DO use folder redirection for their "My Documents" folders provided they are always on the network.
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somewhereinafricaAuthor Commented:
@andrewrnz - what happens if they have re-direct and they take the laptop out? I could have sworn that there was some feature that made a local copy on your computer and then synced it... what was that feature called?

About the roaming users - does it really copy EVERYTHING every single time? Surely there must be some sort of incremental solution to that?
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DonNetwork AdministratorCommented:
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somewhereinafricaAuthor Commented:
indeed...
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DonNetwork AdministratorCommented:
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andrewrnzCommented:
Yes, I am sure it is incremental, I don't think everything gets copied every time. If you are referring to my example of the user saving a 500 MB file, I was saying that this file gets copied on every new PC that she logs into since the file was saved on the original PC. Our users log on all over the place and experience massive delays at logon and logoff because of examples like I gave with the 500 MB file.
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DonNetwork AdministratorCommented:
No, it is not a incremental process. It is a copy/replace process. All the files are copied from the server to workstation during logon and back to the server at logoff
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somewhereinafricaAuthor Commented:
Lot's of good options, but nothing concrete...
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