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Windows Server 2003 / 2008 Backups

Posted on 2011-04-22
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Hello all,
 I have a machine running Windows Server 2003, on which is located a share. I need to make daily backups of that share to another share on a different server running Windows Server 2008. I will schedule the backup to run each night at midnight. What would be the best way to go about doing this?
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Question by:BoxunloX
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KeterHD earned 1336 total points
ID: 35447297
Well, depends on what information you have in there. If these are simple files (such as Words, Excels, pictures, etc), you could use something as simple as Microsoft's SyncToy, install it, set up folders and actions and use Windows' internal Task Scheduler to schedule backups (once a day, several times a day, once a week, etc). The upside of this approach that SyncToy (or any comparable software) simply copies the files, hence there's a lower chance of something going wrong.

If there are more sophisticated data in there, that might be in use, you could use 2003's NT Backup. It's quite good, and as far as I remember, it uses the VSS service, which allows it to back up the information even if the file is in use. You could also use it's scheduler (essentially, also Windows' Task Scheduler) to set up backup schedule. The only downside of this is that NT Backup backs up into a single file, which - if it gets corrupt - might result in loss of the backup.

If I'd be in your position, and assuming you do not have anything SQL-like in there, I would use both options. Depending on your network configuration and bandwidth, I would do one of these two:
1. Use SyncToy for daily backups and NT Backup for weekly backups. This is the better option if your network or servers might get bogged down by file transfer through the network (especially if you are backing up much data).
2. Use SyncToy to back up data twice a day (say, 1000 and 1500) and use NT Backup for daily backups (say, around 2100). The upside of this solution, is that you have redundant backups, and if one backup doesn't go well (for example, the user changed the file, SyncToy already copied it to the backup location, and now the user needs the file restored), you always have the NT Backup from the day before.

Last, but certainly not least, make sure to enable Shadow Copies. These usually don't take too much space, but could give you the option to restore some files very easily, especially if those were damaged due to user error.
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by:BoxunloX
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@KetterHD - Thank you for all of the great information. I do not have the option of using SyncToy. The server I am talking about is a DoD server and there are very strict rules as to what software may be installed. NT Backup seems to be the best option in this case. The share I am backing up will only be used for the next two weeks but it will be used 24 hours a day so I definitely need the VSS capability of backing up files that are currently in use. I plan to run the backup at least once a day at midnight and  probably once around lunchtime. Also, the server will be backing up to another server on the same subnet so to mitigate any possible corruptions in the single backup file I may even backup the backup locally to the backup server......that was a mouthful.

I'm going to do a little more research on NT backup and I'll update you tomorrow with what I end up doing.  
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by:KeterHD
ID: 35449652
Great. If you're asking me, do two separate backups. Say, one during the mid-day backs up into file01 and one at night backs up into file02. Also, if you want to lessen the load, you could do a full backup at night and incremental backup during the day. That would make backups much shorter.
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by:BoxunloX
ID: 35449856
The way I am planning to do it is to do Full backups on Sunday and Wednesday, and Incremental backups twice a day for each day in between. Restoring in the case of a crash will be a bit slower but the faster  backups is worth it. I'll keep you updated!
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by:vaibhavjaiman
ID: 35456134
You can use the robocopy (free utility from the microsoft) for the same and thereafter use its GUI tool
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by:KeterHD
KeterHD earned 1336 total points
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True, however, SyncToy is also from Microsoft, but the user already said he cannot use such utilities due to DoD regulations.
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by:Donald Stewart
ID: 35456690
I myself would use DFS to replicate this share to the other server in realtime


Step-by-Step Guide to Distributed File System (Dfs)

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb727150.aspx
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by:Omer_Saeed
Omer_Saeed earned 664 total points
ID: 35500538
And also don't ever forget to test your backup files to make sure it's not corrupted by compressing all files into single bkf files or you can enable the option 'verify'.

You can do it manually by testing restore to 'alternate location' ...
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by:BoxunloX
ID: 35731934
I ended up using the NTBackup utility along with file verification and everything worked great. I had 100% up-time on the server and the backups worked like a charm. Thanks again!
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