folder redirection for large files

i am a network administrator and i have few PCs for designing advertising materials like phtoshop ans illustrator and they are hundreds of gigabytes so my question is  how to implement folder redirection for these PCs since sync will take time due to network speed and how to design and implement a backup strategy and is it better to have backup on external USB HDDs or saving those backups on NAS . is it better to schedule backups in a daily basis for these PCs or not

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SemperWiFiConnect With a Mentor Commented:

Appending will save follow these changes as they take place. When you restore you will choose which backup to restore from. Individual files can be retrieved by doing a restore from a more granular level. If you need assistance at the time of restore; simply come back here to EE and post the question you have or the task you are trying to accomplish.
You'll get the help you need straight away.
Additionally, ensure you have shadow copy enabled on the disk/partition in which you store data. This will make for easy file retrieval in the event someone does something silly like delete a file or save a change they shouldn't have.

You can find instructions for enabling shadow copy here:  
Konstantin KrolikovCommented:
"hundreds of gigabytes" What type of network do you have ?
100 Mbps or 1000 Mbps
and what how many computers ?
Konstantin KrolikovCommented:
If you have fast network soo you can use NAS if not soo you will work really hard.
If your network is slow you can do  schedule script file that will work and will copy all data all nigth long.
Or even backup software that will do same (allmost same).
Extarnal way its realy hard work (That you will go from PC and will copy by your salf and then next one and next one) - Soo that is not best way to do this.

Soo 100% Network and NAS (But)
If you have normal network = 100 Mbps
Soo its will work only at night that all your coworkers will not die (Becouse network doesent work and all site in web opens 2-3 minuts long).
If you have 1000 Mbps soo you can install any (NORMAL) backup software and setup it to backup otion to every hour (or even few hours).

if you need schedule script or backup soft just tell me and i'll give you advice what , why and which.
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EngamtAuthor Commented:
Experts thanks for your comments on my issue
i have 4 PCs that designers uses and each PC contains around 200 gigabyte of files and you know how designers work and organize there files its a huge miss and duplication issues may happened and i tried to do a backup by NTbackup application that comes with windows but it toke over 12 hours to backup 1 PC  to my nas since i have  a slow network 100 Mbps and the user him self was talking about backup process interrupting his work and he will not allow backup again and what about daily backup that backup only changed files ? what about appending backup files to existing backups that's another problem so i don't know what to do besides i want to configure all other 25 PCs to backup  there files in a weekly basis especially PST files and also backup my server daily to the same nas device and all that work need to be done individually for each PC one at a time so no slowing in performance may happened
about backup strategy i was thinking i configure a sync application to sync only changes because users may delete some files or change its location and i want to have another backup in case of a hard drive failure on client side and i think this solution maybe the best solution i can think of  so what do you think Experts ?

Thanks a lot for all the advices and tips you gave me  

While it would be helpful to know what OSes are employed at your site it isn't entirely necessary for starting the discussion.

Firstly, to protect the data you really want to have it in more than one place, more than two places even. If it is currently on their client system then there is one place, backing up somewhere else onsite will be a good two. What happens if your company gets broken into and gear gets stolen? What happens if there is a fire? As of today there is no RAID level in existence that will protect you from fire or theft. So, backup off site as well.  

That being said, given the amount of data you have to backup a NAS will be your best onsite solution as it (I assume) has a RAID volume which drive failure protection. 10/100 LAN these days is pretty sad especially in an environment which produces the amount of data you're talking about. You will want to have a 'come to jesus' talk with the decision makers at your business about rectifying this slow network situation. Point out to them that it is causing a real life issue with getting proper backups and hard drives fail, all of them fail. No an 'if' - it's a 'when' they will fail. When you ask how much the data is worth I promise the answer FAR out weighs the amount for the internal network upgrade.

As far as backing up there are several directions you can go in. For starters you can move all of their data to the server and use folder redirects for them to work in (after your network upgrade). This will be transparent to the user and you're already in better shape having the files on a protected array on your server.

For the time being I would suggest the use of a sync package. After a full backup is complete; you can set it up to move only changed files back to your central server and have this take place twice daily without it being much issue for the user. Then you can backup from the server to your local NAS using a backup package and a incremental > differential > full schedule also allowing smaller bits to be taken throughout the week whilst performing your full backups on the weekends.

If you can give more specific information ab out your network I can give you more specific suggestions. Server count and what OS(s) - client count and what OS(s). In the mean time my suggestion for a network upgrade stands and I suggest you read a bit at the links below.

Konstantin KrolikovCommented:
Okey you have few ways:
Way number one - Update your network to 1000Mbps (but this is a lot of money and its cost that) Chage all switches to 1000 all cables to cat 6 or even 7. Network cards that supported 1000.
And you all done.

Seconde way
You can/may prepare totally automatical scheduler to weekend backup (For and then you can set backup program that it will backup hourly only canges but dont forget few computers doing that and your network is slow again...
better to set scheduler at the nigth that will sync changes...

There are many programes for Sync:
BestSync (
Allway Sync
Super Flexible File Synchronizer
SyncBackPro & SyncBackSE

Way number 3 if its realy important data and not much a lot ( You can use Tape type backup ) Tape device backup.
You can back up with it even daily...

But all is about how much money you can expand on it ...

Cheapest way its Night backup on your 100mbps network with sync program.
EngamtAuthor Commented:
first of all i would like to thank every one who gave
advice and willing to provide me with the right tips about my situation

her is my network details
i have 25 xp machines and 2 vista machines and 1 server sbs 2003 R2
4 workstations are for designers they use photoshop and illustrator
other users are using office and outlook
my network speed is 100 mbps
i have 2 switch each have 2 ports support speed 1000 mbps other 24 ports speed is 100 mbps
the nas support 1000  mbps
about upgrading my network unfortunately upgrading my network is not an option since i pearly managed to convent the CEO to buy a new server since the current server is not worth the upgrade (its outside warranty and upgrade will coast 50% of the price for a new server )
one of the switches in installed in the first floor where the it room is there and the second switch is in the second floor
and those 2 switches are connected with one Ethernet cable through the gigabyte ports and i connected my server to the second
gig port on the it room while i installed the nas in the second floor in case of a fire or any thing happened to it room to the second gig port on switch 2  
and by doing this i have 1000 speed between the floors but between clients and the nas its 100 and my major problem is the
designer pcs they are in the second floor and connected to switch 2 with 100 speed

my plan is to do a normal full backup to external hard drive every week and during week days i schedule a daily deferential backup
but i am not sure about the append files option on ntbackup and i need help on that , that's for the designers pcs but what about other users ?
i am planning to force them use forlder redirection and clean there devices from any documentary files like photos and videos since our
company is an events organizing company and they do keep lots of photos and video on users pcs and save it on
one share via an external usb hard connected to my server so that thy can access it any time but i am not sure about letting an external usb drive running all the time since its not designed to run 24/7
and one last thing is the pst file on each pc since we use web mail hosted on ISP servers and we don't use exchange so i am planning
 to make a backup for that file every day to the nas since this file will be at maximum size of 4 gb for few users not all of them
and for my server i am scheduling a normal full backup every Thursday and do a daily deferential backup and about append files option
 i am not sure and i need help about this

any other ideas or tips about my strategy  ? should i use another backup application and what about sync the files
from the users pcs to a network share is it required for my situation and what r the scenarios where sync is a good idea


Sounds like you have quite a mess you're dealing with. As far as the network setup is concerned, if they aren't willing to spend a few extra dollars to give the users a more flowing environment then let the users complaint up the tree to management about that. As the person in charge of IT it is your responsibility to take care of the data. I promise you if something happens to the data you will be the first person out the door if you're an employee and possible find yourself in court if you're a contractor.

That being said I would follow thinks I posted above to learn more about the subject yourself for starters. Self learning is a big part of our jobs and while we can give you advice you are the one to make the decision and the better educated you are the better you will do with your job.

I would:

1. Setup and use folder redirects to the server for all users.
2. Use an automated sync application to sync all .pst files back to the server from client systems.
3. Backup all files from the server to the local NAS.
          a. Daily incrementals (Mon - Fri)
          b. Weekly fulls (Saturday or Sunday)
4. Source and use an off site backup solution.

Again, I remind you that it is your job to ensure the company data is protected to the best of your ability. If the company loses this data everyone is out of a job as there will be nothing to work with. If the network is slow and causes the users head aches then explain how it can be fixed and give them an option for the gear needed and price. Let them decide if it is worth the money to speed things up.

Now, you mentioned needing assistance with the append files option but you don't say what you need help with. Please be more specific.
EngamtAuthor Commented:

Mr.SemperWiFi thanks for your response and for your great tips on my situation here i really appreciate your help
well, you know how IT works in small business environments .  you are the (IT GUY ) the one responsible for any thing technical , they need you a professional in every thing related to technology and on the top of that they need you a manager and responsible for supplier and even purchase equipments even the IT stock , and i started  thinking what if technology came to toilets will it make us Plumbers !?
anyway my question about append files option in NTBackup program is what about if i changed a file and did a differential backup then after few days another change was written what is the effect of the append option and how that with effect the  restore process ?
i am not planing to use incremental backups because i will be needing  all the backup files before the last normal backup and the last normal backup file and i think differential backup is better . any tutorials or tips about using NTbackup

thanks a lot  
Sorry, the link I posted is for 2008 not 03. No big change but here is specific for 03:
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