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Back up file server (850gb) over internet to field office nightly?

Posted on 2011-09-28
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I have about 850GB of data for 60 employees here in Los Angeles on a Dell R700 (Windows Server 2003).  We have 100mb up/down through fiber.  We don't come close to using it, but we have it.  

San Francisco field office with 1 employee - I just installed cable internet with 20/5 guarantee.  The one employee there VPN's in as I don't have a server there, but would be willing to buy a cheap one if its part of the solution.  I have plenty of old dell desktops around that I could install linux on also, but they couldn't VPN in i don't think.

I backup currently using free software called Cobain Backup.  I do a full backup on the weekend, and then incremental on the weekdays - and its to an external 3TB hard drive via USB3.0, and its quick and I swap out drives every other week and store off-site (my kitchen cabinet...yep!).

I want to be able to do a rsync style backup from LA office to our field office, but NO clue how to go about it, since I rarely go up there for maintenance (again - only 1 employee).  Our router here is a Cisco and use cisco vpn software to get in.

On any given night, only a fraction of our files change, but of the 850GB, about 65GB is email that does change and gets backed up.  With the speed we have, that shouldn't be a problem, BUT i could leave that out of the nightly backup to SF.  

I think the ee community is brilliant, so i can't wait for answers...  (i am rubbing my hands together in anticipation ... help me please!!!)
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Question by:jackharkness
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Expert Comment

by:PowerToTheUsers
ID: 36812945
If the server on the main site is running Windows Server 2003 (or other windows-flavours), you'll probably be installing a windows server on the other site (or other side) as well.
I guess most agent-based backup programs support a backup over the WAN. Take a look at Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM): after an initial replication of those 850GB (which can also be done by sneakernet: using an USB-device), it will only replicate the changes.
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Expert Comment

by:expone
ID: 36813595
Have a look at www.crashplan.com

You can download and install their free program, which will backup only changes between two computers (after the initial backup). They will only charge if you backup to their online servers. Handy!
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Author Comment

by:jackharkness
ID: 36817135
I tried out crashplan and really hated it.  It was hard to manipulate and the backups took forever, even to a connected USB external (using USB 3.0).  I did a search and looking into DeltaCopy and Syncrify.  Anyone have any recommendations on either of those?
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by:PowerToTheUsers
ID: 36817329
Maybe you can set up DFS Replication between those two sites, and set a schedule so replication will only happen at night?
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Expert Comment

by:gmbaxter
ID: 36818370
I'd also recommend DFS, build the second server at the main site though and let it replicate initially on site, before shipping to the other site.

You mentioned linux - you could compile samba with dfs support, but this may prove to be a headache, depending on your experience of linux.
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Accepted Solution

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ArneLovius earned 2000 total points
ID: 36923883
for a "pure" windows method, use DFS, do the initial replication locally, and then ship the server to the second location.

I would also be tempted to use a Linux server running rsync talking to rsync on cygwin on the main server. There are many rsync scripts available, but the one that I use the most is Dirvish.

DFS has the advantage that it is a native Windows service, and combined with VSS running on the remote server can also give you point in time recovery.

rsync on Linux has the cost advantage :-) and with a script such as dirvish can also give you point in time recovery

I would suggest using two desktop, put Window on one and linux on the other and experimenting :-)

@gmbaxter Samba3 has support for DFS by default, but it does not have support for DFS replication.

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Author Comment

by:jackharkness
ID: 36925457
ARneLovius - I am tempted to explore your solution the most since I wouldn't need to buy a new server (i have a lot of extra desktops laying around), and therefore - no additional budget approval.. I am proficient in installing several flavors - but usually go with centOS for my FTP servers, etc.  Do you have a recommendation?  Scripting ...well...i'll need to go into teach/learn mode, but I can usually survive that.

Thansk for everyones suggestions!
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by:ArneLovius
ID: 36925526
Centos is fine :-)

I tend to go with Centos for installs on HP servers as then its a breeze to get the HP system management homepage etc installed, for the rest I tend to use Ubuntu LTS releases.

For Dirvish http://www.dirvish.org/ it really doesn't matter which o/s as long as the filesystem supports hardlinks and that it has PERL for the two modules that it uses.
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Author Comment

by:jackharkness
ID: 37095940
I ended up using our FTP linux box here to mount the WIndows 2003 File Server with an admin account and then push the files every night to a Linux Box in San Fran using rsync.  It does it perfectly, although I am a little worried about security, so I am trying to learn more about that.

For now, its good though - it does it quickly - and I can cancel our outrageously expensive backup service we were using that backed up 50GB to somewhere on the other side of the country.  This does it for free.

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Author Closing Comment

by:jackharkness
ID: 37095953
I built my Centos server using 6.0 and with 4TB of space (two 2TB) and then I can do nightly, and odd and even weekly backups since my needs are only under 1TB per full backup.  

Thanks for everyone's input!

cheers.
-adam
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