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I need a good backup solution for muliple Windows servers.

Posted on 2012-03-27
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We are about to buy a domain controller, SQL server, web server and a terminal server.  I need a good backup solution so I can backup or image all these servers.  The server will probley have around 500 GB of storage each, but won't near that much data to start with.  Any sugestions?
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Question by:SpammyChicken
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LVL 17

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by:pjam
pjam earned 100 total points
ID: 37771401
Whether you use a single server containing all these servers as VMWare servers or individual physical servers Data Protection Management 2010 would be a good choice.  I have used DPM 2007 since it came out and swear by it.  And looking forward to upgrading to 2010 soon.
You see more at:
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/system-center/data-protection-manager.aspx
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TSGITDept earned 300 total points
ID: 37771408
Symantec Backup Exec is the most popular product.

The free Windows Server Backup is ok in a pinch but it's not intended for enterprise level backups.

With Backup Exec you'll need the following server and agents, depending on what you have:
-Backup Exec for Windows Server (for the server with a tape drive, includes 1 agent)
-Agent for Windows Server (1 for each server you want to backup)
-Agent for SQL (specially for SQL servers, includes an agent for the entire machine)
-Agent for Active Directory (specially for AD, includes an agent for the entire machine)
-Agent for Exchange specially for Exchange, includes an agent for the entire machine)
-Agent for Hyper-V specially for Hyper-V, includes unlimited VM agents on the machine)

If you need prices and part numbers I can look up a few.

Microsoft's Data Protection Manager is a good solution but requires a System Center infrastructure.  That is significantly more complicated to install, configure, and manage than Symantec Backup Exec.  It's also expensive and you'll probably want to invest in a SQL Server license to run it, the free express version may not be worth the trouble.  But you can purchase Microsoft System Center Essentials Plus.  This is a complete package that lets you get into System Center at a very low price point.  It includes:  Configuration Manager, Operations Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, and (with the "Plus" edition) Data Protection Manager.  You'll still probably want to purchase a license for SQL server.  We run System Center Essentials here in a virtual environment.  I really like the P2V capabilities and have used it to virtualize physical servers that are live and running.
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by:TSGITDept
TSGITDept earned 300 total points
ID: 37771517
You're about to buy 4 physical servers.  Perhaps you can do all of this with 3 and have much better flexibility.

Something to think about, if you're going to buy all of those servers perhaps you might be better off to virtualized most of them.  If you plan the load and resources accordingly there's no reason not to virtualize most things.  The key is obviously planning your resources.  A good virtual server host can run between 10-30 Virtual Machines, or more depending on the workload.

If you're interested here's a possible scenario:

One Physical domain controller with nothing else on the physical box.
One virtual domain controller
Two Physical HyperV hosts.
-Purchase Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition for each HyperV host (about $2100 each).  That will give you 4 virtual OS licenses each for a total of 8 virtual server OS licenses.  (If you buy Data Center edition for about $4100 that gives you UNLIMITED virtual machine OS licenses per physical host)
-For the SQL VM consider having a separate VHD file each for the OS, Transaction logs, and Databases.  That will allow you to put the VHD files on different disk spindles just like you would a physical server.

We run all of the above virtually with excellent performance.  In fact, servers that we've converted from physical actually tend to run faster once they've been virtualized.

Possible Hyper-V host config:
-Server with Dual processors (6 or 8 cores each for a total of 12 or 16 cores)
-Windows Server Enterprise or Data Center Edition (I prefer data center for larger environments)
-Mirrored disks for the OS.  A larger RAID set(s) for the virtual machines formatted to 64k cluster size.  (or use a SAN:  Microsoft's free iSCSI target, Starwind, EMC VNXe3100, etc.)
-Symantec Backup Exec Agent for HyperV (one for each physical server) (or Microsoft's DPM)
-Agent for AD
-Agent for SQL
-48G RAM (Crucial RAM might cost about $850)
-Good RAID card
-Redundant power supplies

Once your environment is virtual you can move machines around to more powerful servers or if a server's down you can move it to another physical server just by restoring it from backup.

Just some food for thought.
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LVL 31

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by:Cláudio Rodrigues
Cláudio Rodrigues earned 100 total points
ID: 37771899
If you go virtual, why not store all the 'servers' into an iSCSI device like the QNAPs? You can then simply backup the VMDKs (if using ESXi) and not worry about backing up the servers themselfs as Windows entities. Restore would be as easy as copying a file back.
And if you need to restore individual files (i.e. restoring a file a user delete from his home drive) a daily scheduled backup using the built in Windows Backup will do the trick perfectly.
This exact setup is what I have done for a bunch of customers and works flawlessly.

Cláudio Rodrigues
Microsoft MVP - RDS
Citrix CTP
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LVL 8

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by:TSGITDept
TSGITDept earned 300 total points
ID: 37772262
tsmvp's right GNAP's a good option too.  Any iSCSI target that has solid RAID is a step forward from storing information locally on a server.

In our environment if a physical host were to go down we could grant access directly to the LUN on another physical host.  In that example we wouldn't even need to move the file.  The ideal scenario is to cluster the environments so that the virtual machines can fail from one server to another while they're running.  Both HyperV and VMware support live migration / vMotion.

>And if you need to restore individual files (i.e. restoring a file a user delete from his home drive)
And to add to tsgmvp, if you provision a file server and Volume Shadow Copy then the user will be able to restore his/her files directly, and potentially be able to choose from various past versions.
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Author Closing Comment

by:SpammyChicken
ID: 37772932
Thanks for all the great feedback guys, I will look into those options.
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