Best SBS 2003 Offsite Backup Solution


I am trying to find a better backup solution for my SBS2003 domain.  

I am currently running a SBS2003 as my domain server as well as a Windows 2003 server (under the SBS2003) as a file/data server.  I would connect a USB drive to the file server and have both the SBS2003 and the file server backup to the USB drive.  This worked OK; I had two drives that I would swap nightly and take offsite, however the USB drive would randomly cause the file server crash.  Once I stopped connecting the USB drive to the file server it operated flawlessly.

Instead of connecting the USB drive to the file server I then attempted to connect it to a client computer on the network.  Again this worked OK and I was able to get both the SBS2003 server and the file server to backup to it, but the connection to the USB drive is tempermental and for the most part this solution has also failed.

I am thinking that I should either purchase
-Two NAS drives, connect one to our network and have my two servers I want to back up, backup up to it.  I would again swap out the NAS drive daily and take one home for offsite storage.
-One eSata enclosure with a hot swappable drive.  Connect this to either the SBS2003 server or the file server, perform backups and swap out the drive daily for offsite storage.

-Does anyone have any suggestions on type of setup and hardware I should use?
-Would I be able to swap out NAS drives by just unplugging it from the network and plugging in the identical one?  Would it be recognized by the server as the same drive and backup to it?
-Is doing eSata enclosure with a hot swappable drive a better solution?

I need this solution to be economical;
The solution needs to be portable so it can easily be swapped and taken home nightly;
I am okay with a single drive solution (that I have two of and trade out to take offsite);
I am backing up about 500GB so I am expecting that I have 1TB of storage so I can expand.

Thank you!
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

We use Retrospect for the backup solution with IcyDock hardware to backup to.  We purchase two 1TB drives and swap them out once a a week.  We purchased a eSATA card that allows us to hotswap the drives utilizing HotSwap! which is a free utility allowing us to hot swap eSATA drives.  Sometimes this doesn't work.  For instance, if the drives have been configured to allow indexing.  I've encountered situations where the drives are "locked" by a service and a server restart allows a proper removal.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Justin DurrantSr. Engineer - Windows Server/VirtualizationCommented:
NSI DoubleTake
EdgeTodAuthor Commented:
digitap:  Thank you!  The Icy Dock solution looks very good.  Does it not support hot swapping without the HotSwap! utility?

Here is a potential scenario that I would use:
-(1) PCI eSata card to be installed into the Dell Powedge 2900 Windows 2003 File Server
-(1) External Icy Dock using eSata (connected to file server)
-(2) drive trays with 1TB disks that would be swapped daily and taken offsite
-Use NTBackup on both the SBS2003 and the Windows 2003 File Server pointed to the eSata drive on the file server

-Does this seem like it would work well?
-When I pull the swappable drive out, does it affect the drive letter (will my servers still point to a valid drive when I put a new disk cartridge in)?

-Any suggestions on a PCI eSata card?

jjdurrant:  Thank you, though I am going to use NTBackup and am looking for hardware suggestions.
Determine the Perfect Price for Your IT Services

Do you wonder if your IT business is truly profitable or if you should raise your prices? Learn how to calculate your overhead burden with our free interactive tool and use it to determine the right price for your IT services. Download your free eBook now!

I think ntbackup should work fine.  As for the hardware, we use the following card which allows hotswap:

There isn't a problem with drive letters.  I have a server using Retrospect backing up to four different 1TB drives swapping 2 at a time.  So, swapping with four different drives and drive letters are maintained.

Sometimes I don't have any issues with swapping drives.  HotSwap! allows hot swap of SATA drives.  As you know, USB wouldn't be too much of a challenge.  Also, HotSwap! is a free application.  However, I've seen some applications hold the drive and it's difficult to hotswap.  A reboot fixes that, but I'm sure you see the downside there...>GRIN<!
EdgeTodAuthor Commented:
I just went with:
Internal Icy Dock MB876 SATA Drive
SIIG SATA II-150 PCI Card (specs say hot swappable and Windows 2003 compatible)

Hopefully it all works out that I can install the card, plug the drive in and hot swap without any issues.

Thank you for your help and suggestion.

Your welcome...glad I could provide the direction and thanks for the points!
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.