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Server backup solution suggestions please

Our site has 3 servers.

1st Server - Server 2003, runs Firebird driven database, shared printers, and has Exchange 2003 which will be removed at some stage.

2nd Server - Server 2008, File server (500GB approx), multiple applications, Terminal server. GC.

3rd Server - Server 2008, Exchange 2010. Just runs Exchange no file sharing.

Currently all we are doing is running Windows Backup on each box to external hard drives which get rotated daily and taken offsite. Server2 also has an offsite backup of all it's shared files to a datacentre which gets updated most nights (when the internet connection doesn't drop out)

The boss wants a review.

I have considered NAS in a detached building which would backup via the network each night, but I still like the simplicity of rotated external drives from each server. But im aware of the limitations of Windows backup. I would love the peace of mind a hardcore backup solution that would get an entire system image of each box, as well as more advanced Exchange restore tools. But everything I have investigated is horribly expensive. Anyone have a more economical solution?
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Killersmits
Asked:
Killersmits
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6 Solutions
 
Manpreet SIngh KhatraSolutions Architect, Project LeadCommented:
You can use "ARCserve Backup" or others "NetApp" "Symantec" ..... but you also need to understand if there is some issue how good a support will you get ....

Without support i guess it can sometime cause real concerns ..... otherwise i would surely go with Windows Native backup ... as if there is any issue anytime i will have a much better support from MS and the solution is free and gives me Backup of Exchange and other MS Apps as i really want.

- Rancy
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djsharmaCommented:
From the Economical point of view Windows Native backup is good.
For Disaster recovery point of viev it recomend you Volume level backup.
Volume-level backup (also called "imaging") backs up a data volume (also called a "logical disk" or "partition") as a whole. Often that is done on per-sector mode that it includes all file and underlying file system information.
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KillersmitsAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the suggestions.

Rancy, I have priced Symantec and even with Academic licencing which we quality for, it's $1000au+ per server, per year!! I know our data is important, but that is very steep. $1000 per server for a once off purchase maybe, but not per year.

djsharma - I want a volume level solution, but also the ability to recover individual mailboxes from Exchange and export to a PST.

Anyone had experience with such things?
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NickUpsonCommented:
it you are just taking a copy of a running firebird database then a) you are lucky you haven't corrupted the database and b) the copy is probably useless. The database should be excluded from the backup copy, instead use the gbak command to take a backup and let that be included in whichever solution you decide on
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Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
I use BackupExec 2010.

And use tapes.

We have a rotation of

Mon-1, Tues-1,...Thur1
Mon-2, Tues-2,...Thur2
Week1 - 4
and finally Monthly tapes

The weekly and monthly tape backup jobs run on Saturday.

There has been very few times we haven't been able to restore whatever a user needs.

I know the inital cost can be high when you purchase the software, drives, and tapes but just consider the alternative of the data being lost.

We also keep all weekly/montly tapes a an off-site location.

If you use the Exchange Remote Agent you will be able to backup at the brick level.

I don't know if Symantec has an agent for Firebird databases.
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Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
I use Backup Assist in most places. Dumped Symantec's overpriced products and the native backup from Microsoft I just consider a joke.
PST backup is a waste of time. It is slow, inefficient and close to useless for most data recovery scenarios.

However the first question you have to ask yourself is what you are backing up for? What scenarios are covering? What I would do for a client in central London is very different to the middle of the Scottish countryside.

One option might be to use the native tools in Microsoft and Exchange to replicate the data out to another location. I do this with a small client already, going out to a server in a data centre. Using a combination of that, Undelete Tools and Shadow Copies, we are only doing backups for archiving data. I haven't had to restore anything from a backup for almost 18 months.

Simon.
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KillersmitsAuthor Commented:
NickUpson - There is a command that stops the database before the backup runs, then starts it again once it finishes. This has prevented the problem.

ScottCha - Tapes are so painful it isn't even a consideration. Why use tapes when external HDD's are so cheap?

Sembee2 - How would you get Microsoft backup on 2003 or 2008 to send the info to an external site? The Exchange database in question is about 40GB. I didn't think you could do an incremental, so that would mean a full backup, which would not work in the time available overnight due to bandwidth.
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Scott CSenior Systems EnginerCommented:
I use tapes because they are smaller, and I can fit 1.4TB on one tape that cost about $45 each.

When you are doing proper (in my opinion) rotation and storage are much easier.

For my rotation I would have to have 24 external drives.  With constant connection/disconnection drives are not a consideration for me.
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NickUpsonCommented:
that you are aware is good, I still recommend using the actual backup command (gbak), it doesn't only take a backup but also can do garbage collection. You should also do a backup/restore cycle with gbak occassionally, how often depends on how the database is used but at least annually.

"gbak -h" will tell you the options
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Simon Butler (Sembee)ConsultantCommented:
I am not talking about using backup to get the data to a remote site, but the features in the product itself. For Exchange 2010 that means a DAG.

Simon.
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KillersmitsAuthor Commented:
O.K so I have done some more reading and am thinking I'll try the NovaBackup Business Essentials Network. Allows support for 3 servers, including Exchange and comes with 1 year upgrades and support.

http://www.novastor.com/en/software/sql-exchange-network-backup

Then we use a NAS located in a detached building which has a Gigabit network link to it.

Price looks good, and we can try before we buy.

Thoughts?
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KillersmitsAuthor Commented:
We did some more testing with Novastor, and it was O.K. It's main benefit was that it would allow multiple servers to be managed from the same console, and there were more options as to what you wanted to backup on any given day. But other than that it didn't really seem to offer anything significant for the cost. Really just a slightly better managed version of what Windows offered natively.

We are seeing if we can get some funding or donations for Symantec Backup Exec, as that seems to have many more features, and disaster recovery solutions.

Points shares for your imput guys thanks.
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