Posted on 2012-12-29
Last Modified: 2012-12-29
Our LAN has a SBS 2008 and 5 desktops. I currently backup the SBS 2008 using Windows Backup. I am thinking about a simple way to back up the other computers, too.  Where should I start to read and think about that?  Simple, easy, brainless approach is best, like a set it and forget it.  Use a common shared drive to back up each desktop?
Question by:wfcrr
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 38729717
Why backup the workstations?  Don't the users save everything to the server?  The idea behind a server is so that everything important is saved to one place.  You can implement policies (SBS makes this REALLY EASY) to have users desktops and my documents folders saved to the server so that even if they THINK they are saving it on their computer, they are actually saving it to the server.

If you really need the workstations backed up (I design all my networks so I don't care about workstation backups in most cases), then I'd suggest getting a Windows Home Server (it works on a domain, it just can't join the domain) or a Windows Storage Server Essentials system.  These have agents that get installed on the clients and perform nightly backups and keep periodic backups over time (everyone for a week, once a week for 4 weeks, once per month for 6 months, I believe).  If a hard drive fails, you can just boot off a DVD and restore the backup over the network in a few minutes to an hour or two.  And it dedupes things so that if all your workstations use Windows 7 common files are only backed up once so the total space required is less.

Author Comment

ID: 38729730
you know, I haven't thought about it from the perspective of keeping it all on the server.  

We are a tiny company 5 LAN users a  few WAN users and I am owner/operator and I use an IT guy that remotes in, so most of our day to day is done by me.  Workstations email is .ost, so really the only thing I would need are the files they save? What else?

Is there an article or what is best way to sort through all  the possible arrangements? or considerations?

ONe question comes to mind immediately is viruses, if each user is saving to the server, don't I run a higher risk of virus hitting the server instead of just hitting the workstation?

Author Comment

ID: 38729763
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LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 38729772
The server is a storage medium to the virus.  Though you always have the possibility of a workstation getting infected with something that tries to exploit windows shares and things like that, but Windows itself cannot (through any method I've heard of) get a virus simply by having a virus "deposited" onto a drive it has.  SOMETHING has to "start" that virus on the infected system (server or otherwise).  You stand a MUCH higher risk of infection if you use a USB flash drive on a workstation and then put it in the server since things like autorun and the like can cause the virus to kick off.  But simple being "saved" to the network share shouldn't by itself significantly increase your risk.  Of course, that's why antivirus is so critical.  

In one example where you WANT to backup the workstations, you have a specific computer used to run a device or that has particularly expensive to install/configure/support software loaded... THEN it makes sense to backup the workstation in case of virus or hardware failure.  And in case of infections it CAN make sense to backup the workstations - but it can also be fairly quick to reload one.  At the end of the day, you need to balance the cost of a workstation backup solution vs. reloading from scratch.

There might be an article, but I'm not currently aware of one.

Using folder redirection, the desktop and my documents folders should be moved to the server.  Then, when users log in, they can log in to ANY workstation and gain access to their files.  This also means that when a workstation fails, the "least important" user can be bumped off so the more important users can work.  And if the system failed catastrophically, you could buy a new computer, join it to the domain, and the user could nearly instantly resume working (sure their preferences wouldn't be available, but the IMPORTANT things, like documents, would be.
LVL 95

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 38729776
Yes, that's a Western Digital Storage Server - potentially useful for many things, INCLUDING workstation backup and should have domain join functionality as I recall.

Home server is cheaper, not explicitly recommended by manufacturers for business, but works just fine and provides the same type of backup.  It's been discontinued but I think you can still find it around.

Author Comment

ID: 38729793
So, Home server, is that an OS I install on one of my PC's and make it a dedicated backup server?

The other idea you present of users being able to log on to any workstation and access there stuff sounds cool.  Where do I learn about that?  Sounds simple enough and I think I would like to move in that direction.
LVL 95

Accepted Solution

Lee W, MVP earned 500 total points
ID: 38729985
More information on Home Server:

You can build you own - (note Home Server is an Operating System, not a program by itself.  You need to build a new computer to install it and run it.  Or find a system that comes with it pre-installed.

As for logging on to any workstation, if your network was setup by an experienced pro, i would say it should already be in place as it's standard feature of SBS 2011 and SBS 2008 called Folder Redirection.  Again, the FILES are all stored on the server, certain preferences (desktop wallpaper, for example) does NOT travel between computers (though the file may be available on the server).  

More information

Author Closing Comment

ID: 38729999
Stellar genius, as usual.

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