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Tape Backup Schedule in a DAILY FULL back up environment with backup exec

Posted on 2012-04-11
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Last Modified: 2012-08-08
Hi, I am seeking some assistance with a tape backup schedule stagey for a small environment that backups following:
System State
All directory files,
and SQL Databases.  
Current schedule is:
Daily: Monday-Friday Daily FULL BACKUPS
Hourly: Monday-Friday 6am-6pm, hourly transaction log backups on 5 databases
Weekly: Friday backups just a FULL BACKUP of that day, Friday
Monthly: First Saturday of the month it backups just that day, Satutrday

The backup technologies in place are:
Backup Exec 2010 R3 w/ deduplication agent and SQL Agent.  
Tape library consists of a PowerVault TL200
7TB SAN storage for the online disk Deduplication storage.

The systems in the backup schedule includes:

one standalone SQL server,
two SQL clusters with a combined total of 20 databases and 4 servers
two file servers
two domain controller servers
What could be an idea for the tape backup schedule and how long could retention be and how many tape backups are required?
I know it’s different in all environments but just considering the schedules you know to use as best practice what would you recommend?
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Question by:miketech99
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by:SelfGovern
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For Copy-to-Tape policies:
The biggest question to ask is, "How much data can I afford to lose if
my data center goes up in flames (or underwater in a flood, or crumbles
in an earthquake, or ... )?

If it's a day's worth of data, you copy your backups to tape daily.  If it's
a week's worth of data (or the business principles tell you that the daily
copy is too expensive given the probability of it happening), you do a
copy to tape weekly.

This is really a business decision, into which you have to factor
- The odds of a site-wide disaster
- The cost of losing a day's worth or a week's worth of data (for some businesses, it's an hour's worth; one company I worked with would lose $25,000,000 for every hour that *one* particular server was down)
- Your budget

If a business generates $60,000 in annual income for the owner, then the solution they might use will be totally different from used by a business generating $1,000,000 in annual profits.

In most cases, you'll continue your backup to disk, but then copy the disk backups to tape.

For Data Retention Policies:
How long you keep data in archive (usually that means on tape) depends on the business and what it does.  The ideal solution involves coming up with a plan that identifies how long you need to keep each type of data.  

You certainly need to keep tax data according to the laws of your jurisdiction.
You may need to keep manufacturing/process data for a year or five or... well, some manufacturing like pharmaceuticals may need to be kept for many years.
You ought to keep information about contracts and their fulfillment for a few years after the contract is completed, in case there are legal issues.
If you write mortgages, you need to keep that data for the length of the mortgage, plus a few years.
If you have patient medical data, you probably need to keep that for the life of the patient, plus a few years.

Did I mention earlier that "it depends"?

Now -- maybe it's not worth it to separate all the data out; for your company it might be more cost-effective to just have one or two data retention policies, and you put a bunch of data types into the same retention policy bucket, even if it means you keep a good amount of data longer than you might have to otherwise.   But it's usually better to keep it too long, than not long enough.
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by:Gerald Connolly
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Instead of the daily fulls, have you thought about using incrementals forever and synthetic fulls?
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by:miketech99
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We have enough storage, running FULLS would not be a problem.  If the best practice is to run incrementals I wouldn't mind going that route.  I do however take hourly transaction logs for some SQL databases.

If WEEKLY FULL backups are takken on Friday for tape backup, does the WEEKLY consist of all the combined backups from Saturday-Friday?
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SelfGovern earned 500 total points
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1) The reason people use a "full and incremental" strategy is that on most days you only need to back up a small part of your data -- the files that have changed.  If you do a full backup every day, it may put unwanted loads on your network or your backup server.   If this is not a concern, and if space is not an issue, performing daily full backups will always give you an easier restore and a statistically higher chance of success.

1a) "Incremental forever" is a horse of a different color.  You run one full backup to disk.  The backup application keeps track of which files have changed.  You then run a daily incremental, no more fulls, for the life of the system.  You periodically issue a command to the backup application to create a "synthetic full"; it will then pull files from its store to assemble a full backup from the files already backed up, to mirror what you'd get if you had taken a traditional full backup at that point.  

Incremental forever with synthetic fulls is a great way for people to get around the issue of having too much data to perform a full backup and still meet their backup window.  However, it does add complexity and must be carefully managed.

2) A "weekly full backup" is what most people do when they either don't do other backups during the week, or, they do incrementals or differential backups during the week with one full backup.

If you want to restore with a granularity of one day (i.e., lose no more than one day's data), you need to either do a daily full, or, keep the weekly full and the daily incremental/differential backups until you no longer care about that level of restore (say, three months from now, you figure that you will never need to restore specifically to Tuesday or another day of this week, so you overwrite or delete this week's incremental backups.  You'll still be able to restore to last Saturday or next Saturday, just not Wednesday or Monday.)

Perhaps another way to say it -- the Weekly Full is a single backup run once a week.  It captures things as they are when it was run.  If you run your weekly full on Saturday, it will not let you go back to recover a file that was created on Monday but mistakenly overwritten on Tuesday or Wednesday.  You only get the files from last Saturday and next Saturday.
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by:miketech99
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Thanks for the information!  What is a suitable type of tape media rotation and what content from which days would go onto which tape to take off site? Like all backups of the week onto a media or monday-friday backups on one tape for off site?  Are there any examples of what others have scheduled or implemented so I may build a base off from? Thanks
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by:Gerald Connolly
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@selfgovern - Nice summary!
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by:miketech99
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I'm still not understanding what type of media tape rotation would be best. Attached is backup schedule for the systems the last column I hope could explain what data will go on the tape.  I have not found any templates/scenarios available .
Thanks for any feedback.
Backup-Schedule-revise.xlsx
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