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Old 12-03-2004, 02:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Server Backup Solutions

I'm researching into backup solutions for my office. We are running sbs 2003 and have half a terabyte of local storage capacity for backup. I'm planning to use the scheduled backup facility that comes with the OS, but I'm looking for some third party, real-time, local backup software, preferably something which archives comprehensively rather than at scheduled intervals. There is no specific budget for this, but obviously the more economic the better. I've looked at sites for a few packages and downloaded a few trials, but I wondered if anybody might have any knowledge/personal experience of this sort of software and could make some recommendation.

Essentially we need something that will allow us to revert any former version of a file without having to revert anything else.
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Last edited by John Henry; 12-03-2004 at 02:44 AM..
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Old 12-03-2004, 03:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Arcsoft is looking pretty good as a choice for us as we switch to Exchange 2003. You can restore individual mail items instead of the intire store.

For the real time backups, doesn't SBS2003 offer the Server2003 Shadow copy function?

Use that for the "must get it back now!" crises when your manager realises he's deleted his own files and use a regular backup option for the other times.
Just make sure you scheduled periods overlap the amount of data the shadow copy holds.

you can also back up the state of the server. It's normally used to distribute domain controllers. You build the server at head office, backup the active state, then have the hardware deliverd to the remote area. Techie there builds the server and then adds your backed up state instead of an entire ghost image.
Useful for doing quick backups in case of hardware failure. Any machine can be then made to resume your server's role.
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Old 12-03-2004, 04:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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SBS 2003 does have the shadow copy function, but that doesn't seem to do what we need. It only seems to do real-time backups on shared folders and scheduled volume backups. What we really need is system-wide backups of all changes to all files, preferably with no limit to the number of versions of each file.
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Old 12-03-2004, 06:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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christ.

That's a hell of a task. Do the people you report to realise how many times a file will be altered during the course of a day?

If you have word's default backup document setting of ten minutes, you have to have a backup of every ten minutes.

When you say 'sytem wide' do you REALLY mean the whole system?
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Old 12-03-2004, 06:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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When I say system-wide, I only mean for the server. I've just realised I said 'all changes' as well. In fact what I meant was all changes made by users. With the kind of work we do, there aren't really that many changes made to our records, but because we're in financial services it's vital that any changes are recorded and restoreable. Plus with byte-level differencing and suitable compression it shouldn't be too bad. Availl seems to do what we need, but I'm still waiting to hear back from them on price.
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Old 12-03-2004, 06:53 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If you're wanting to do realtime backups, the amount of bandwidth that you would need to send the info to a storage center would be quite high. You would easily exceed the bandwidth at which the drives could handle. You might be able to setup a script that would tell whatever happens on one server to replicate it to the storage system, either overwriting the existing file or saving it under a different name. The storage system though is for sure going to have to have redundancy.

I see you looking to buy SCSI 15k drives, fibrechannel (connectors, fibrechannel switch, etc.), something at least 4U chassis to handle the drives.

Nightly backups? Thats easy.
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Old 12-03-2004, 09:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Off-site solutions look like being way too expensive, so we'll definitely be backing up locally. I had been thinking about making something custom, but they want every single change stored so we can revert back to any version of any file. I think we're going to need byte-level differencing to do that efficiently and I'm damned if I know how it's done. Anyone know any good resources for that sort of thing?
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Old 12-03-2004, 09:41 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If I were writing the technical response for their RFC, I'd be advocating nightly backups of the server re it's structure and then I'd have a Network storage device clustered with one of the cluster devices stashed at our isp.

If the machine dies, you replace it. Quickly. Just have a spare or a suitable replacement and bang the Server State backup onto it.
With the mirrored storage, if your local goes down, you use the remote at a lower latency, but you're still live. Rebuild and restore the local.
You pay only for the synch data, which is a lot less.
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Old 04-11-2005, 04:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Bumping this thread because I have a backup question.

I just got a used machine handed to me for free that contains an Ecrix VXA-1 tape drive. Not a bad deal since the drive alone retails for quite a bit of money! Thing is barely used. The server isn't that great, its for a small office type job and its only got a celeron processor but it does have a LSI MegaRaid card with two 80 gb drives mirrored in it. Its perfect to replace the old P3 desktop I was using as my home file and mail server for my family.

Anyways - cut to the chase - I want to utilize this tape drive the best I can to back up my data and mail. I'm running windows 2000 sp4 and exchange 2003 sp1 (overkill? yes absolutely). I need to backup exchange and my files to the tapes. I would love to use something like Backupexec since I am familiar with it from work experience but i can't spend money on this project, I'm pretty much on a budget of next to nothing and backupexec I think costs a TON. I want to know if I should just use NTBackup or do you guys know of a better program to use that cost is negligible and can backup exchange with the stores mounted?

Thanks a ton.
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Old 04-11-2005, 10:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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The problem with NT backup is that you can only restore the entire store, rather than a specific mailbox or message.

RE your other question, re versioning - have you thought about using a version control system or document management system to do it? Neither of these is going to be cheap, but it does make it possible to keep versions of files. You might find Sharepoint Portal Server might be what you are looking for. It also stops two people editing the same file at the same time...
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Old 04-12-2005, 02:18 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I'd agree with spindles, John Henry.

For what you describe it sounds like you need a Document management system.
You can revert to old versions and always use them for reference. With it you can also use the many change analysis tools to verify changes between 2 documents.

These are primarily used by law firms. A lot of them are crap.
spindles is also right about sharepoint. It's MS's first real foray into the document management system and although it does more than just that, MS want to get into this highly lucrative area.
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