Best way to backup servers.

I am currently working as an IT manager for an Ag company.  The former IT manager did not do any sort of backup of the servers other than specific folders to an online backup company.  I am wanting to change this, running full backups once a week, with differentials every day after.  I am wanting to know what options are out there.  I am currently looking at tape backup, as well as external hard drives.  I have 5 servers, 1 DC, 1 large App server (over 500 GB used at this moment), a couple of termservers, and a file server.  Backing up to external drives would be cheaper, but I don't know the speed difference between the two options.  Any other suggestions would be welcome.
Along with that, should I just use the standard Windows backup or should I go with a backup agent of some type?  What are the pro's/con's?  Thanks.
lflorenceAsked:
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pjamCommented:
Depending on your budget, the sky is the limit.
We use DPM 2007 here, differential back up to disk array every 15 minutes, full backup at nitght and then tape backup on the weekend.  Very little slowing of the network if even noticed (something to consider of course).  Bare metal recovery using their SRT is available.  tte newer version is DPM 2010 and requires a windows 2008 64-bit server.
You can find more here:
http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/en/us/data-protection-manager.aspx
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lflorenceAuthor Commented:
What about hardware comparisons?  Is it much slower to run backups to external drives?
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shabrezCommented:
hi,
There are many Backup softwares in market which can give solution to your backup requirement, like Arcserve, Backup Exec, etc.

Few basics of Backup types before we discuss more:

First place you have to select which kind of backup you need besides FULL (Incremental or Differential). Below is a fair explanation about both.

"Full+Incremental" - you create a full backup relatively seldom: once a month, or once a week, or on achieving some important point in your work. All other backups you create with Incremental mode, getting backed up only files changed since the last backup (whatever its mode was). This approach is good when the project includes too many files to back up them all each time. It's fast and takes less time for incremental backups. Incremental backups take less disk space. It allows you to create backups frequently. However, to restore all the files, you have to restore the last full backup, and all the following incremental backups.
"Full+Differential" - is intermediate between the first two approaches. It is also good when the conditions are intermediate. Each differential backup includes all the project files changed since the last full backup. It takes less time and space than "Always Full", but more than "Full+Incremental". The good thing is that restoring is simpler than for "Full+Incremental" - you'll have to restore the last full backup and the last differential backup.

Coming to the Hardware: I dont see much need for a tape library in your environment and a stand alone tape drive can suffice the requirement provided you take higher capacity drive and tapes like LTO4 or LTO5.

The same can also be achieved by external disk with higher storage capacity but to note Tape's have more shelf life when compared to Disks.

The Backup softwares also helps with Disaster recovery options in case of server break down situation. They also have support for databases in case you have Exchange server and Application Databases like SQL, SAP, Oracle etc.

You will have more advantages going for a 3rd party software than Native Windows backup.
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