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I need more info on Server 2008R2 Native Backup limits and capabilities

Posted on 2010-08-25
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This question is specific to R2 version of Server 2008.  Since backup software suites have gotten so expensive and complicated, I'm trying to use MS Server 2008R2 native backup service.  I've checked online but haven't found straightforward answers to a couple questions.  

I work in a small business environment.  I have a SBS2003 server hosting exchange and am going to replace an aging Server 2003 box with a new Server 2008R2 64 bit machine.  The new server will function as a file server and host three seperate instance of SQL databases.  

I want to backup to a rotation of three different external hard drives.  Typically I do full backups each night.  Once a week I swap the external hard drive.  The two backup drives not being used that week are purposely stored off site.   With Server2008 I'm aware you allocate a pool of hard drives for backup.  I was not under the impression I could rotate hard drives in and out of the pool in order to have and offsite copy.  Is that still the case with R2 version?

SQL databases are becoming a larger part of our operation.  We are now scanning almost all documents into a document management database, our financial system uses an SQL database, and we're adding a water plant management database.  Currently SQL backups are beiing done manually within each application.  I've been reading about Volume Shadow Copy Sevices being utilized in order to backup SQL.  My question is plain and simple, does MS Native backup fully backup SQL databases or do I need third party backup software (like Backupexec) with and SQL agent?

Last question involves SBS2003 server.  Small Business Server must be the "root server" of the tree.  Our SBS server is primarly used for exchange services.  This server is aging but still works like a champ.  I am considering "keeping it alive indefinately" by virtualizing" this machine and running it on a Server 2008R2 box.  If I take this route, does MS Native backup properly and fully backup the exchange server?

Because this question is all about backup, I'm submitting it as a single question.  But becuase it covers a variety of topics I am assigning a 500 point value.  

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Question by:dbldiamond
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lost_enigma earned 250 total points
ID: 33521214
2008R2 native backups are very bad. better to use 3d party for backup of 2008 servers

>>SQL databases are becoming a larger part of our operation.  We are now scanning almost all documents into a document management database, our financial system uses an SQL database, and we're adding a water plant management database.  Currently SQL backups are beiing done manually within each application.  I've been reading about Volume Shadow Copy Sevices being utilized in order to backup SQL.  My question is plain and simple, does MS Native backup fully backup SQL databases or do I need third party backup software (like Backupexec) with and SQL agent?
>>
you dont need 3rd party for this.
MSSQL has good comfigurable maintenance plan inside SQL management console. You can configure backups as you need. SQL DB shouldnt be stopped during backup (because VSS technology).

>>Last question involves SBS2003 server.  Small Business Server must be the "root server" of the tree.  Our SBS server is primarly used for exchange services.  This server is aging but still works like a champ.  I am considering "keeping it alive indefinately" by virtualizing" this machine and running it on a Server 2008R2 box.  If I take this route, does MS Native backup properly and fully backup the exchange server?

SBS2003 can be run in virtual enviroment Hyper-V R2
It can continue use native backups from guest OS SBS2003 as before, you dont need to change it.
(or you can even backup VHD files, but for this you need to stop guest OS).

From your topic, i do not found,  where you are planning to install 3 SQL instances. on Hyper-V it cant be used by license agreement. BTW  I wound not recommend this because you can have perfomance problem (SQL and Exchange DB on the same HDDs)
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by:Paul Tozer
Paul Tozer earned 250 total points
ID: 33521436
On using different hard drives, you could use give the USB drives different drive letters and use the -addtarget for each of the offline drives for R2 native backup.

However, Native backup is not good for SQL and Exchange as logs are not commited and flushed and you will run into serious issues with drives filling up and possible corruption. Use the built-in SQL backup software if you are going to backup SQL and NTBackup for exchange database.

You'll be much better off with System Center Data Protection Manager - http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/en/us/data-protection-manager/dpm-2010-overview.aspx
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by:dbldiamond
ID: 33521538
Hi Lost Enigma,
Thanks for your perspectives.  I have been online at Tech Republic and MSDN websites reading up on SQL Enterprise Manager.  It sounds like I can schedule after hours stops/full backups/restart of SQL databases.  It soundsl like this process creates a "flat file" backup of the SQL database which can then be part of the regular backup to external hard drive.  It all SOUNDS good.  The articles I have been reading are realtive to SQL2000.  I remoeted to my servers and found they are running SQL2005.  I cannot find the Enterpise Manager mmc plug in.  The only thing I have is SQL Condfiguration Mgr which does NOT show any backup options.  Hhhmmm...am I missing something here?  My original question regards a NEW Server 2008R2 computer.  I'm just trying to get more familiar with the processes and procedures using my current server environment.

RE your question of 3 SQL instances & Exchange on the same HD.  Great point!  Might be a good idea to setup two different raid mirrored hard drives.  One set of drives for SQL databases and another set of drives for Exchange and virtual server.  

The server configuratoin I will likely purchase is an HP Proliant with two each quad core processors, two each gigabyte NICs, and SATA Raid.  When it comes to RAID, I am conservatve and always choose a fully mirrored condifuration.  I got burned one time on RAID recovery using striping so I'm gun shy.  Full RAID should make READ disk IOs faster and writes slower.  Since most DB activity is reads, this should be a good setup.  At least that's what I'm thinking....feel free to share other perspectives.
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by:lost_enigma
ID: 33521866
>>  I cannot find the Enterpise Manager mmc plug in.
It calls Microsoft SQL server management Studio.
If you dont have it, may be you do not select to install it during installation? "SQL tools" called if I remember correctly.

>>Might be a good idea to setup two different raid mirrored hard drives.  One set of drives for SQL databases and another set of drives for Exchange and virtual server.  
One more time. As i see, It should be used like Windows Server 2008R2 with Hyper-V. Then, INSIDE it install 2 virtual hosts: SBS 2003 and DB server
Also plan RAID configuration. For example HDD config with 8 HDD
- 2 HDD in mirror for SYSTEM of Hyper-V server
- 2 HDD in mirror for SBS2003 (using 300GB hdd you will have near 560GB) - if it is necessary to give best perfomance for HOST machine - connect it "Physically" in Hyper-V manager (best for perfomance but less for backups), or create Static VHD file (best for backups of VHD files)
- 4 HDD/ or 2 with 2 HDD in mirror for DB server (HDD size or config depend from your needs)

Of cource If you wish you can use you own plan and RAID 5 (for better perfomance)

and be sure that you select proper HP RAID controller (not basic p200 with ZM memory) :)
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Author Comment

by:dbldiamond
ID: 33522465
Thanks MPCMANGED.  Thanks for the "heads up."  DPM looks like a great solution for medium sized enterprise...as I understand it REQUIRES a DEDICATED 64bit machine.  I'm not sure if it's overkill for a small 28 node network.  The prodcut itself is relatively inexpensie (about $450) and it can run on 64bit platforms such as Windows7 or Server 2008.  IIt's tough to justify a whole dedicated machine just for backups, space requirements, energy, and heat output.  Great idea but probably not appropriate for my environment.  

LOST ENIGMA no, I don't think SQL tools got installed.  I'll have to followup on this.  In both cases of our current SQL databases, applications techs remoted to our server and installed and condigured their instance of SQL.  SQL is a speciality area unto itself.  Now I'm having to learn that tehnology as well.  No problem- just takes some time and effort.

I very much appreciate your specifics on virtualizing everything.  THAT makes sense!  I'm going to chew on this a while and make sure it sinks in.  Seems like I always get burned by Microsoft's hard disk size suggestions.  In reality just how much space will I need for the mirror of System of Hyper-V server?

I feel kinda bad that one question leads to another....but I do appreciate your suggestions!
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Author Comment

by:dbldiamond
ID: 33523302
This question is going a bit "off topic" from backups to virtualization.  I appreciate everyone's input.  I am closing the question and splitting points between lost eignam and mpcmanged because they both made good recommendations and point.  Thanks!
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