SBS 2008 Backup to Offsite Server via Internet / VPN

goodie069
goodie069 used Ask the Experts™
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I have a SBS 2008 box running in my local office that I would like to backup to a dedicated backup server in our corporate office.

The server already performs a nightly incremental backup to multiple external drives. I would like to add this offsite backup in addition to that backup schedule.

The servers would be connected via VPN. The destination server can be any OS, though it is an ATOM 330 box with 2GB of Ram (Max) so that limits the choices a bit. No other services are required -- just to receive backups.

I understand that SBS 2008 Backup requires a dedicated drive and, as far as I know, cannot back up to a network share. I am looking for a workaround or low-cost software package that will perform this incremental backup via the VPN connection.

The amount of data to be backed up is around 700GB -- most of which does not change very often. As such, I do not want to be pushing that amount of data on a regular basis -- incremental is definitely the way to go. It should also backup Exchange and System State, as well, just as with the normal nightly backup.

Looking for any suggestions on accomplishing this. Thanks!
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Commented:
Whew! Thats a lot to backup.  I would bring the backup server/drives local to get your initial backup.

You could try robocopy.  Run it against one of your backedup copies to grab the system state etc as files (since robocopy can't copy a system state)

Also, have you thought about bandwidth you'll need for this remote backup? Do you have a good idea on what the average backup is going to be in GB?  
A little math: 1.5Mbps for a T-1 / by 8 for MB and lets * 60 to get minutes worth of MB you can send: 11.25MB per min * 60 = 675MB per hour (not very much) * 8 (probably a bigger backup window than you'll have to work with) = 5400MB ~= 5.3GB  Really not much compared to the 700GB you're dealing with... if your regular backup is about 70GB It'll take you more than 105 hours to back it up over a T-1.  You didn't mention if it is a daily backup... If you HAD to move 70GB in 8 hours then you would need a 20Mbps connection (btw, your vpn will limit your maximum transmission speed depending on the connection)  

In other words, internet backups of the size you will need are not very feasible.

Author

Commented:
Definitely, which is why the solution *has* to be incremental. The plan is to load the drive locally, as you suggested, before deploying to avoid the lengthy process of the initial backup.

Most of the changes to be backed up with be email / exchange. On average, less than 250MB of actual data files are modified or added on a daily basis, so even performing a nightly backup should come in under 1GB.

Our pipe out on our end is Cable 30Mbps downand 2.5Mbps up. The destination has similar throughput.

On paper, this shouldn't be too difficult to implement - it's just an incremental backup. It's getting it saved to a network share from within SBS that's my stumbling block.

Thanks for the info!

Commented:
Well, I guess it boils down to what software you want to use (and can afford).  Acronis is a big player in backup software.  Their server software seems expensive but all server-grade backup solutions are really...  here is a link to one of their server solutions: http://www.acronis.com/backup-recovery/advanced-server/

Now, I don't know if the home/office software they offer can do a system state backup or backup from Exchange but you can try to test it under the trial version.  Home/office version is much cheaper and can be found here: http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/comparison.html

Let me know if I can help further.

Author

Commented:
Thanks! I'll give the home version a try -- the server version is definitely out of our budget and is overkill for a business as small as ours.

If you, or anyone else who comes across this, finds anything else, please let me know. I'll leave the question open for a day or two just to see if there are any other suggestions out there.

Commented:
Just checking back to see how it went.

Author

Commented:
Still working on it. I think what I'm going to do is use the built in Windows Backup in SBS 2008 -- through the Windows Server Backup GUI, you can schedule a BACKUP ONCE to a Network share.

I've set up a permanent VPN tunnel between the machines, with the backup share mounted to my server. I'll schedule a weekly task to perform the same Backup Once operation to the remote drive.

The problem is doing this incrementally. I'm considering running a backup of the local backup drive that's attached to the server. This already has the system state, brick exchange backup, etc. Any reason to avoid backing up the backup?

Commented:
There wouldn't be a problem in backing up a backup.  The only thing to consider is restoration.  Can you restore the incremental backups to a state and position to be used for the restoration?  Probably, but think it through so you don't get surprised if you ever need it.

Author

Commented:
The backup of the backup drive was fine. I think it would work out in the event that we had to restore remotely (if both on-site backup drives were compromised). That said...

Backup Once... doesn't allow for an incremental backup of a previous backup performed using Backup Once.

I managed to perform the remote backup of the full 700GB backup image earlier in the week. When I went to perform another backup (using Backup Once), it informed me that another Backup was already stored in that location, and that it would be overwritten unless I chose a different destination.

Clearly I can't be transmitting a 700GB backup every week. I've got to find an incremental backup solution that doesn't cost a fortune!

Commented:
With an SBS server I don't think you'll be able to get away with a home version of software... It looked like the cheapest server version of Acronis is about $800.

 Haven't heard much about this company though I've heard of them for a while, NovaStor.  They have a server solution for $300 here http://www.novastor.com/software/sql-exchange-backup.php

Hope that would do for you.

Commented:
How is your backup project going?
Sorry for the abandoned question. I have implemented a solution but haven't had a moment to come back and document it here.

Basically, I've set up a VPN connection with a static IP on the remote backup server. I'm then using an application called FastCopy on the local server to perform a Differential Copy from two source drives on the local machine to the mapped destination drive on the remote server. I've created a script that performs the differential copy nightly.

To save time, I pre-loaded the remote backup server internally on our Gbit LAN before sending it out. The intiial offsite backup only took about 10 minutes to sync around 5 days worth of changes.

In addition, I am currently manually performing a SystemState backup on the local server once per week, and then copying the System State data over to the remote backup server.

I am also running an export on all of the mailboxes on the local server to PST's and storing those on the remote server, as well.

This accomplishes everything I needed, and offers easier access to recover individual files and mailboxes in the event of local data loss.

A bit more work than I was hoping for, but it works! Keep in mind that I have redundant nightly backups on site, with System State, so that I could perform a bare metal recovery if I needed to. The offsite backup is just a CYA for the most part. Obviously performing a full recovery from that would be a headache.

Thanks for everyone's input and assistance.

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