Backup solution and strategy

Hi all,

At the moment, i have a dilemma for my company backup solution/disaster recovery
We have one server which acts as DC/Exchange/File/Print
Current  Data size total: approx 600-700 GB
Weekly backup tape goes for offsite.
No Bare metal restore strategy
My LTO3 tape can't fit all those data.
My thought are:

1. LTO3 autoloader..
2. E-sata

My dilemma are:
1. If i buy LTO3 autoloader, am i going to have a problem to perform  Bare Metal Restore?
At the moment, i'm planning to purchase acronis backup and recovery advanced server with "universal restore" option to test it. Not sure any good. any suggestion?
2. With the E-sata, i assume It has any kind of enclosure with multiple HDD/hot swappable so that i can pull the HDD and do an offsite backup??
3. for the speed, i think esata is faster??

Any input for pro and cons please?? any recommendation for bare metal restore software to dissimilar hardware for DC/exchange???

Thanks heaps..
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It would help to know what OS your server is running and what type of bandwidth you have at your office. Also, what size company are we talking about here? How many users?

Diversifying your backups is a good part of a solid DR plan. Off site, on site, Image based, etc. While off site backups are best in case of fire or theft, on site backups will get you back up and running much sooner. Honestly, while I see it a lot, I can't understand why people still use tapes for backups. There are a few arguments about it but I don't see where they hold water when compared to other, more current options.

Some Options:

1. You can use NT Backup built into windows to schedule daily backups to a local hard drive. SBS has a built in wizard for this.

2. Ghost is great for local image based backups.

3. Backup4all works very well for onsite and off site scheduled data backups. FTP, Storage Service, Local Network Drive, Local Hard Drive, Incrementals, Differentials,  Full, Mirror backups are all options with this application.

4. Offsite Backup Service - There are TONS of these but will have a pretty decent monthly charge for 700GB.

Off the hip here not knowing very much abut your company. You can use Backup4all for daily off site incrementals, weekly differentials, and monthly full backups. You can also use this application to shoot daily mirror backups to a local drive (set changed or deleted items to be put in a folder for version archive). Then set ghost up on a schedule to make full system images and rotate the drives off site in case the server gets hosed and you need to do a complete rebuild.

In this case; once you restore any hardware functionality issues, the process to re-image with ghost will take about 2 hours with the amount of data you have. Then you will just need to pull back whatever files were backed up since whenever the last image was taken you restored from. This should take about 2 hours max if from on site source. Can take a while if from off site and you don't have much bandwidth.  

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Thomas RushCommented:
Hello, Cookie.

1) You might or might not be able to do a bare-metal restore from an autoloader.  It depends on which backup application you're using, and which autoloader.   The HP 1/8 G2 autoloader with the included Data Protector Express Single Server Edition does support bare-metal DR.   See

2) With any kind of disk backup, verify the number of plug cycles that the hardware (enclosure and drive) are rated for.  If it's only a couple dozen, you'll see failures fairly soon.    Also remember that disks are not guaranteed to retain their data when unplugged.   After some period of time (maybe months, maybe years) you will get bit rot, so you need to enforce a rotation that keeps disks under power at least... well, I'd personally not let it go for more than a month.   These things are particularly important with consumer-grade disks, but also apply to enterprise disks.

3) LTO-4 at 120MB/sec and LTO-5 at 14MB/second native are almost certainly faster than any single-spindle SATA disk, as well as your source  (It doesn't do any good to have a gazillion megabyte per second target, if you can only read the source at 10 MB/second!)..    Plus, tape will give you both native compression (so you fit more on a tape, and have a higher apparent write speed), and encryption (so that even if your tape is lost/stolen, nobody else can read it).     The performance argument is on the side of tape.

And you didn't ask (and as much as I like tape automation), but it might be simpler just to go with a new LTO-4 (native 800GB tapes) or LTO-5 (just announced; native 1.5TB tapes).

I agree with WiFi that it's a good idea to have both a local on-disk backup as well as an offsite tape backup.  

It looks like I stand partially corrected on the tape aspect of this thread.

You may want to read these articles as they bring out some very interesting points concerning both medias and it should help you choose which one is best for you.

You may also read: Quote from article "The tape drive takes 20 times longer to backup and retrieve data than disk drive."

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Thomas RushCommented:
Wow!     Send us to the WayBack machine Mr. Peabody!

The article that talks about tape taking 20x longer than tape looks to have been written in 2001... that's forever (the other two are 5+ years old).  The tape speed it lists is 1MB/sec -- today's tape drives have native speed as high as 140MB/second.    So tape has gotten 140x faster.

Disk speed quoted in the article is 12MB/sec.    Disk speeds now (single spindles) are typically .. what?   60MB/sec?   Maybe 100MB/sec?    So disk has only gotten 8x faster.

In the meantime, tape has continued to provide native compression, allowing you to stuff significantly more data on a single cartridge, and now supports WORM (for data that you need to be able to guarantee has not changed once written to tape), and encryption (for data that you don't want anyone outside of the company to be able to get to) -- significant benefits over disk.
c00kie88Author Commented:
Hi SelfGovern/Wifi,

Thank your for your input..

1 .I just got an info from my supplier that my server (DELL 2900) does not support esata and i don't have any disk space to do a local disk backup.

2. I know it sounds stupid as i never use autoloader before.. To purchase autoloader, do i need to purchase the tape drive as well?
e.g. At the moment, i have internal LTO3 drive. If i want to purchase LTO4 autolader, do i need to upgrade my internal LTO3 drive as well?

3. For the bare metal DR from HP storageworks, does it actually support dissimilar hardware? anyone has used it before??

I'm so confused.. My server runs out of warranty. Therefore, when something goes wrong with the hardware failure or software corruption.. i would like to have something to get it up to minimize downtime..

For software corruption such exchange, AD or windows, i can just depending on the backup. But how about hardware? is bare metal restore reliable?

Sorry if the topic is getting out of the way.. i'm so paranoid with this kind of thing..

Thomas RushCommented:
No stupid questions, just chances to learn.

An autoloader will typically have a tape drive installed.    You'd buy the autoloader with the tape drive installed.     Make sure you get an autoloader with the correct connectivity for your server (SAS or parallel SCSI, probably; some are made with Fibre Channel interfaces, but I'd guess you do not want that).   The autoloader would typically be a 2"high, 19" wide, about 2' deep appliance that would sit flat on a tabletop or bread rack and hold a tape drive plus slots for 8 or so tapes, plus a robot for moving the tapes from the slots to the robot automatically as needed for backup jobs.

I believe that the bare metal disaster recovery feature of Data Protector Express is designed for like HW only.  Unfortunately, I think that is probably the case with most, if not all, tape backup solutions.
c00kie88Author Commented:
Hi SelfGovern,

What is HW?
Thomas RushCommented:
HW is hardware, as opposed to SW, or software.    I'm sorry about the abbreviation!
c00kie88Author Commented:
Good point to think about
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