Free Backup Solutions for a Windows Server 2012 R2 Server with attached 5TB Seagate Backup Plus drive

I am trying to find a free backup solution to backup a GFI MailArchiver server that will reside on a Windows Server 2012 R2 physical server.  I bought a 5Tb Seagate Backup Plus drive, and was thinking of using Windows Server 2012 native backup solution to conduct image backups.  However, we are looking at 200Gb+ of mail archive data not including the OS.  I could see an image backup over the weekend, but then again I believe Windows Backup software will use the whole drive, and not allow other data to reside on the drive for nightly file backups, etc.  I am not sure Windows Server 2012 is the best solution at the moment.  Still exploring other free alternatives.  

I wanted to use Seagate's DiskDrive software which has a limited version of Acronis that only does image backups, so this software is no different if it will work on Windows Server OS.  This software was designed for Windows desktops, but it might work for a server.  Seagate stated it may work, but its not supported.  

Basically what I am wanting to do is conduct an image backup Sunday nights, and then a nightly file backup of the new GFI binary files including that active binary file that GFI Mailarchiver is archiving mail to.  I would like to keep the most recent image backup intact in the event there is a problem trying to complete a new image backup.  What I am saying is the existing sole image backup should not be over written without first ensuring the existing backup completes without error.  

Please keep in mind this server solely functions as a mail archive server (GFI Mail Archiver 2013), and uses SQL Express to manage the binary files.  GFI stores the actual mail message and attachments within the binary files, and sql express simply manages it.  GFI is able to reconstruct everything solely using the binary files.  I am not sure how that works since I have never had to resort to a full disaster recovery of this server.  

Do you guys have any suggestions and/or alternatives?
cmp119IT ManagerAsked:
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CompProbSolvCommented:
You are correct that Windows Server Backup will "take over" the entire backup drive.  What is the issue with that?

It will do a full backup and then incremental backups on subsequent nights.  Will this not serve your needs adequately?
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Dennis JohnsonIT technicianCommented:
If I understood correctly, you want to take backups of the mail backup server. What's the point? Why don't you search/ask for a solution to take backups of the actual mail server?
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
The point is, this server holds archived mail that may not reside on the mail server.  I already have backups configured on the mail server, so that's not issue.  This server has archived mail that goes back years or more.  I hope I answered your question.
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Dennis JohnsonIT technicianCommented:
Ok then.
I agree with CompProbSolv. Only the initial backup will be large. All subsequent (incremental) backups will record only the changes after the last backup.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
I've not used Windows Server Backup before and my understanding is it will do a full image backup each time.  I've always used Symantec Backup Exec.  I've not used Windows Server Backup before and my understanding is it will do a full image backup each time.

Also, I am not too found of incremental backups since if there is a problem with one or more of the incemental it may not allow a full recovery or a recovery with issues.  I would hate to have recovery problems, and then have a system that has OS or even mail archiving issues or even missing data.
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CompProbSolvCommented:
WSB (at least up to SBS 2011 but I presume 2012 is no different in this regard) does not do a full image each time.

If you don't want to use incremental backups then I would suggest doing a WSB backup to an external drive once, swap out the drive, then do file backups with xcopy or with robocopy.  It will cost you another external drive (large enough for the initial WSB image backup).
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Dennis JohnsonIT technicianCommented:
I would recommend Acronis, due to its ability to do backup verification after each backup operation, but you prefer a free solution.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
A two drive solution is an alternative.  I guess I need I first need to find out how Windows Server 2012 R2 native backups work and know what to expect.  I will need find some articles on this.

I have experience external USB drives going bad quite often, and I would hate to have all backups on the drive and it goes bad when I need it.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
I like Acronis, but they want $999.00 for a Windows Server backup solution.  This additional cost is prohibitive.
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CompProbSolvCommented:
"will need to find some articles on this"
It takes very little time to set up WSB.  I would suggest setting it up, running it a few times, and then observe how it works.  While this is going on, you can be researching it.

"hate to have all the backups on the drive"
One advantage of the two-drive approach is that the WSB drive is unlikely to fail because of its very infrequent use.  You can't get around the frequent use of the other drive other than by using multiple drives and swapping them regularly.

How much data is there from the mail server?  How much history do you need?  You may be able to push them to a free cloud solution (SkyDrive, GoogleDrive, etc.) if the size is not excessive.
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cmp119IT ManagerAuthor Commented:
Right now there is approximately 200Gbs of archive mail, and it will only get bigger as time passes.  The Windows Server will have (2) 2TB drives RAID1 for the OS and data.
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CompProbSolvCommented:
Is the mail server a VM on the 2012 server?  This is not clear to me.

200G is likely more than you will want to push to the cloud.  How often does the archive change?  Could you have two "archives", one that is older and rarely changes and the other more current?  For example, have three areas for your mail: current (last 6 months or so), archive (start of calendar year to 6 months ago), old archive (all before start of calendar year).  Your old archive would change (and need to be backed up again) only twice a year.  The others would need frequent backups but should cut the 200G size down.
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