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Windows server backup with SBS2011?

I've been asked to look at some quotes for a 'sister company' that is upgrading from SBS2003 to a new server and software - all the quotes have come in suggesting SBS2011, which is perfectly logical.

My query is with the suggested backup. The environment that I look after has Server 2008 (not SBS) and we backup the servers using the built in 'Windows Server Backup' straight to one of 3 USB drives (rotated, taken off site etc). This works perfectly well, and we have successfully recovered from a backup when needed.

However, each of the quotes I've looked at is recommending 'Storage Craft Shadow Protect for SBS', plus a local NAS to backup to, plus multiple USB drives to take the backup off site. This obviously results in quite a bit of extra cost, so I need to know whether it is necessary and/or advantageous.

Q1) Is there any reason that the built in backup solution cannot be used with SBS?
Q2) Assuming the Windows software would work, are there advantages to the Shadow Protect software?
Q3) Can Shadow Protect not backup to 'rotated' USB disks - ie does it need one backup location which doesn't change?
2 Solutions
David AtkinIT ProfessionalCommented:

1) No there is not reason that it cannot be used.  I use it for multiple customer - They backup to external hard drives and take them off site.  This way they have an offsite backup solution by rotating the drives.

2) I'm not 100% on the advantages of shadowprotect.  This may shed some light:

3) Yes I believe that shadowprotect can backup to local disks.

I've recovered from a couple of SBS 2011 failures.  I've found that to recover an entire server it took about 6 Hours for about 600GB worth of data. It does however seem reliable and because it comes with SBS most customers don't want to pay for another solution.

Hope this has helped a little.  I expect that there are plenty of ShadowProtect users on Experts Exchange so you should get a few more answers (Y).  Good luck.

Cliff GaliherCommented:
Shadpwprotect is extremely popular in the SMB space. But I will answer your questions as you asked them.

1) the built in backup can be used with SBS.

2) there are many advantages to ShadowProtect (and other 3rd part backups as well...or they'd never be sold)

For the SMB though, some key advantages are

-a much better "hardware independent" restore. Windows server backup images are okay, but restore to a machine with a different RAID card and things go boom. It is common to go into an SBS environment and see a server that is well past its warranty, no good parts are available, and "something" just dies and the client is needing to restore a backup...to new hardware. By selling SC, this scenario is much more salvageable. Just read other SBS questions here and you'll see how common "I can't restore my backup" actually is.

Speaking of...SC backups can be started as A VM in virtualbox. Makes for easy testing of the backup on a regular basis without blowing away the server or keeping identical "test" hardware around, an untested disaster recovery plan is not a real disaster recovery plan.

Better retention control. Windows server backup decides when to do a full or incremental. It decides when to delete old backups to make room for a new. You don't get the option to say "I definitely want to keep backups going back a month. With SC, you do.

3) yes, SC can back up to local disks. But it all has to do with your disaster recovery goals. For me, a NAS OS an inexpensive addition. Why a NAS target?

-USB can be slow. (unless you are buying USB3 cards, which can cost half the price of a decent NAS.) backing up to a NAS via gigabit will be much faster.

-your latest backup is always onsite if you need to do a restore due to a server/part failure. No need to find the "right" rotated USB drive, get it onsite, and perform a "slow" restore over USB

-you can still back up the NAS  to the cloud or via USB to get your "building collapsed, tornado, etc" offsite backup.

In essence, the NAS adds an extra layer and adds flexibility to the disaster recovery strategy. I push one out with all my projects. SC...not always...but where it fits. And I don't "just add" these. I have the DR conversation with the client so they feel the value. I sell them on piece of mind. And I can get a recurring fee for testing their backups monthly. Win for me. Win for them. Not a significant increase in costs. Yes, SC is not cheap. But it isn't a 10k SAN either. If you aren't at least co spidering these as viable options, you are leaving money in the table. There is a reason the other bids include them.n
Michael986Author Commented:
Thanks guys - answered my questions and you can't ask for more than that!

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