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Backup strategy for workstations on LAN, SBS 2008

Posted on 2011-09-17
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I am currently using the backup that comes in SBS 2008 and only backup the server.  We have a LAN with 4 workstations and I am considering buying Acronis for the server for backup and now am thinking there may be a strategy I could employ where that same Acronis installation could back up my workstations.  Is that feasible to do from the server?  
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Question by:rodynetwork
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by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 166 total points
ID: 36555584
There is no built-in backup mechanism for Workstations in SBS 2008.  If you used SBS 2011 Essentials, there is.  However, in either case, strictly speaking and in a properly configured network, there should be no reason to backup the workstations.  If you really want to, you can either buy imaging software and configure the workstations to backup to the network or other external drives, or you could consider getting a Windows Home Server and installing that with the intent of simply using it for workstation backups.
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by:rodynetwork
ID: 36556467
My thinking was the workstatsions would be simple to restore if using something like a bare metal restore using Acronis, where it would take an hour or so to have a workstation up vs the time it takes to configure everything from a fresh install.  Since I am implementing the Acronis solution for the server, with the same thought of bare metal restore in case of faiure, I was hoping or wondering about implementing the same idea with the workstations and wondering if or how to do it from one simple plan vs having a separate solutoin for each machine.  
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by:shahzoor
ID: 36559636
You need Acronis Echo enterprise server.
It would backup windows server as well as the workstations, depending how many licenses you have.
I would highly recommend Acronis because its coming in with a thing called "Universal Restore"
Universal Restore helps ya deploy the image of a server to any workstation.
To save space you can create a full backup and then create incremental backups to save space and network traffic
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by:marcustech
ID: 36559818
My thinking was the workstatsions would be simple to restore if using something like a bare metal restore using Acronis, where it would take an hour or so to have a workstation up vs the time it takes to configure everything from a fresh install.

The thinking is logical, but it fails to take into account the 10 + hours you'll spend implementing, configuring, monitoring and maintaining your solution.  I'm not trying to put you off expecially, but for me I reckon I could rebuild all 4 workstations in less time than I'd spend rolling out and maintaining an image-based network backup solution.
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by:rodynetwork
ID: 36560279
Or, is there a simple plan like having the workstations harddrives backup on the server or via the server?  Seems like I have seen a solution where folders are "shared" and the shared folders are backup up on one machine?  Maybe instead of tasking the server with that, instead maybe I set up a workstation and it's sole purpose is to have all the workstations "shared" folders on it and backup those up daily on that one workstation?  
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by:rodynetwork
ID: 36560555
I guess I was thinking that once it was in place, I would have a reliable restore solution that wouldn't take any time to maintain.  Similarly to how the current SBS Backup has a full restore that is incrementally added to each day, I was thinking the Acronis solution would create a restore image and then incrementally add to it each day.  If you are saying there is more to it than simply set it and forget it, I would like to know.  I don't have time to be IT guy all day, so having reliable set it and forget it solution is important.  

My assumption about the Acronis solution is that once set up, I would do nothing other than test it occasionally to verify that it is actually creating and adding to a full, current, bare metal restorable image.  If I can set it and forget it, that is great. If I have to worry with it by doing someting to keep it going each day, that is not what I want.

EdgeSafe solution looks good, but they have several grammatical errors on their website and that puts me off, some. If they have a sloppy, inaccurate marketing site, that makes me concerned their software may not be thorough and bullet proof.
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by:marcustech
marcustech earned 166 total points
ID: 36561277
rodynetwork, the point is that there should be nothing of value on the workstations except installed apps (and the images for these should be stored on the server together with relevant license keys).  All the documents, data and emails should be living on the server anyway so, as leew alluded, there should be no requirement to backup workstations.
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by:rodynetwork
ID: 36561316
Should I start another post to discuss that?  I know we use .ost files for email, so that is on the server,and alot of files that we all use are stored on the server.  As for app's images and storing those on the server, are you saying to administer or install those from an image stored on the server?  Do you remote onto the desktops to install them?
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by:Callandor
ID: 36563254
There is nothing wrong with creating an image of each workstation and storing it in a separate location.  Depending on the size of the image, it could take 10 minutes to restore a workstation to a pristine state using Acronis (I have done this on a 30GB OS disk).
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by:wfcrr
ID: 36563319
That is what I was thinking. I may be slow, but, our workstations have a lot of special settings that take me a couple to three hours on each. And, I always forget somethign. Seems like it takes a few days before I actually have it all dialed back in.

So, do I need to get Acronis for each workstation, or is there a solution where one Acronis install can make images for each workstation?
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by:shahzoor
ID: 36565067
you can always mount the acronis image from the remote location as mentioned in my first post.
If you want any specific software or files etc, it could be copied even edited in the image file.
But i would highly recommend incremental backups and a full backup after sometime
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by:Callandor
ID: 36566759
Acronis licensing is one license per computer.
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by:shahzoor
ID: 36566827
acronis $50/pc vs the headache saved in rebuilding the server..... not a bad choice i guess
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by:Callandor
ID: 36566843
It's a no brainer for the time it saves me and the restoration to an exact working state.
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by:rodynetwork
ID: 36566897
Only issue I am having at this time, getting confused about what to order.  I am getting quotes from Acronis and one of their "partners" for Acronis Echo, but theykeep sending a different named solution:

 Acronis Backup & Recovery Advanced Server SBS Edition
 Acronis Backup & Recovery Advanced Workstation
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Callandor earned 168 total points
ID: 36566923
>Acronis Backup & Recovery Advanced Server SBS Edition

That one is for your server.

>Acronis Backup & Recovery Advanced Workstation

That is for each of your workstations.

That's all you need.
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by:wfcrr
ID: 37951506
this question was not showing up in "My Open Questions".  Please do whatever needs to be done so that I can see it again and I will award points and close it.  Thanks!
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