Designing a Backup strategy

Posted on 2013-12-02
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2016-11-23
Hello All;

I wanted to get opinions on a best-practices backup solution for my work environment. We are a medium sized business that is growing, and I am trying to modernize us, put us on sounds security policies and get us on a disaster-recovery plan that makes sense and isn't going to kill us on cost. Currently I would say we are doing 'okay' on backups but I feel if something goes wrong we would be screwed.

The most important considerations are 1.) Reasonable price 2.) enabling offsite storage of backups to allow for disaster recovery 3.) ease of restores.

What I am thinking about is implementing is some sort of Azure (or other cloud based backup solution, suggestions welcome) backup solution to replace our current non working tape backups.  

Environment: 3 servers - 1 file server, a couple AD servers, a DHCP server/DNS etc. Total backup footprint now is about 350 gig, but I don't have any information on how to judge what our daily incremental backup size would be.

Here is the current setup: We have a pretty nice Dell LTO tape library with an old no longer supported version of backup exec. It barely works --it's constantly losing the tape drive and giving errors about can't find media set etc. I priced getting new version of BuE and it's in the thousands of dollars. Insane. We are doing full daily backups to a SMB type NAS device, but since it's connected to the server and is not offsite, this could pose issues if we have a disaster at the building and/or virus problem that can attack the drive itself.

My thought is a cloud backup would be the way to go for some of the backups, but to keep costs low, not all of the data all the time.

So what would you suggest in terms of what would be an ideal setup given my resources? I am thinking 2-500 a month would be ok for management -- this equals on the outside, about 1 TB of data stored on the cloud. However the less money spent, the better.  

Full monthly to NAS, daily incremental to NAS and weekly incremental to Azure? Or something else?

Thanks for your help!!!

*edited for spelling
Question by:scox72
  • 2
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Expert Comment

by:Norm Dickinson
ID: 39690688
I would recommend a combination of local OS-based backups (most Microsoft servers have an internal backup program that allows backing up of a full system image to a local internal or external hard drive and this also allows off-site rotations of the drive if external.) coupled with a cloud solution for true disaster preparedness.

Rackspace's Jungle Disk is very reasonably priced and can provide the cloud storage you require. http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/backup/pricing/

Author Comment

ID: 39690764
Thanks tqfdotus that is what I'm going to do. I'm looking more for good suggestions on what / when to backup to the nas and the cloud, and the strategy for doing so.

Let me know if i need to clarify further.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:Norm Dickinson
ID: 39690982
As an alternative to the OS-based system, which is rather limited in options, you may want to obtain a third-party alternative such as the Acronis backup software for your local backups. This would allow you to have a choice in backup strategies. Best practice would dictate having a full backup that is replaced with a fresh full backup periodically - perhaps every month or quarter. Also running an incremental backup perhaps daily or in some cases multiple times per day, and a differential backup perhaps weekly. In this scenario, you would be able to restore with one full backup, one differential, and the incrementals for the current week. Without a differential on a regular basis, restoring can be painful with a large number of incrementals, depending on what you need to restore.
The online software also allows a variety of schemes, and something similar is probably best.

Accepted Solution

JurajUQU earned 2000 total points
ID: 39697185
You can use combination of different methods. I redesigned our environment recently and I think I did well for the money we spent.

I got ShadowProtect for each of the servers (you can use Acronis or Backup Exec as they are similar products) and run copies to my Synology RS3412 NAS/SAN. Because you don't have as much data, I'd go with something like DS413 and 3 drives in RAID5. Synology then can replicates itself onto another Synology (DS812 in my case) which should be preferably off-site in case of local disaster. You probably don't have this option so then you can use Amazons Glacier backup or Symform which is a social cloud - you get as much space as you contribute. You can choose paid version as well as free where you contribute and get space in exchange. Quite an interesting and even though doesn't sound like, very safe storage.

If this is expensive (initial cost can be around $3k and on going couple of hundreds) then another option might be to create full image copies with ShadowProtect (image can be later converted into VHD or VDI to insert into VM) and use CrashPlan Pro for the fileserver backup. The cost is very affordable but you'd have to rebuild the server from scratch - that's where the ShadowCopy initial image comes in handy.

What you can also do is to use Windows Backup to a NAS with iSCSI and then replicate those backups to Glacier, Symform or even via rsync. The thing I don't like about it is that it isn't very fast and doesn't report problems as they occur via email.

I'm using combinations of all of them (various systems and needs) and because I'm extra paranoid and like to be able to restore as quickly as possible from at least 2 sources.

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