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srhoades
08-21-2010, 18:56
So I got a new client kinda dumped in my lap and I want to field suggestions about the best way to proceed. First off they are not getting an additional server at the current time so keep that in mind. They are running SBS 2003. They are a civil engineering firm and they have about 700 GB's of data plus exchange mailboxes for approximately 12 users.

There current setup is less than ideal but it could be worse. The previous company setup their server and did not set up a RAID of any kind. Is it possible to add a hardware RAID controller to create a RAID mirror without having to start from scratch? They are using an Intel server board but I don't think you can create a RAID mirror after the fact with the Intel controllers.

Now onto their backups. The previous company is using custom written batch files with NT backup. I'm not much of a script guy so they are mostly unintelligible to me. I do know they are doing a full backup each Friday with differentials done to an internal Sony 200GB tape drive, however I have no idea if the exchange store or system state is being backed up. Going back on Monday to do a restore to an empty drive just to see what is there. Had to replace the SCSI card because the throughput on the tape drive was horrendous, the new card seems to have fixed it.

They are on a gigabit network but not all the clients have gigabit network cards, that will be fixed shortly. I would like to get them some real backup software and a larger tape drive. I've used Backup Exec in the past so I know who to configure it and what not. I'm considering getting them a gigabit NAS in a RAID 5 and moving all their data to that. Will Backup Exec backup a NAS? I'm also considering Acronis as the backup software but I only have experience with their consumer line of products. I know it is quite a bit cheaper.

To offset the cost of a tape drive I suppose I could get another NAS setup as a RAID mirror and put their backups on that with an additional external hard drive to also put a copy of the full backup that they could take home each week.

Am I going to have any issues with either software doing a restore if the full backup is on an external drive and the differential is on tape?

Anything else I'm not considering?

Pierre!
08-21-2010, 20:10
Sounds like you have some nice work ahead of you.

Yes, you should be able to put up a RAID on the intel boards even after setup... Just have to make sure it is available on the MB. Intel does have at least a RAID health monitor available, so it's better than some that I have had to work with.

Start out with just a RAID 0 for the data only, and then see about moving the exchange store over... that will be your call you lucky guy.. I am thinking the RAID 0 will be a nice, inexpensive "Our Data Is Safer" warm fuzzy deal for them... and should be nice and fast too.

I am not very pleased with Acronis right now... it was their new online backup software that was a disappointment. I have had good luck with NovaStor in the past. Backup Exec also worked very well in the past. When in doubt, get em on the phone and run a trial on the software.

Teach your client - Do You Want It RIGHT, or RIGHT NOW... cause those can be two radically different ideas, products, or services....

You really want them on Disk To Disk, then off to tape. The Exchange store backup always adds a nice wrinkle... and I have seen EVault back it up, but haven't seen the restore job so far - and that is the *acid* test afterall, isn't it.

You do want data to go offsite, and the "company courier" method is frequently forgotten and neglected when the company handles the job. I have had *excellent* service from Iron Mountain, and their online backup software should be fully matured (I helped to beta it waaaay back when) but may be pricey... The thought would be that you have Iron Mountain pick up and store your external data backup drives until you can justify switching over to an online backup solution.

Perhaps you can setup your first 'courier' job and do the pickups for a regular service fee???

I am pretty happy with Mozy Online Backup. The home version is unlimited storage. I have a Robocopy job that is scheduled to back up my data to a local workstation which runs a backup using Mozy to an external drive AND the online service. Takes a while to sync to the online storage, but when you have a local copy for restores, you can run for a MONTH to get your online backups completed. Once the majority of the online backup is done, they go very fast from then on.

Tape is about the slowest restore that you could come up with. The one thing I used to really like about Acronis is the Bare Metal recovery of a server... That might still be a great candidate for a weekly backup to USB drive.

For the cost of a good DLT8000 drive AND the tapes it used to be around $8000... Get a price check and see... but the restoration speed VS disk is no contest... and if you need one particular file, the disk is waaaaaaay faster.

Those are my thoughts. I am sure someone else will come along shortly with even more options!

Good Luck!

srhoades
08-21-2010, 20:47
They currently have their data stored on a seperate hard drive. I know Intel will do a RAID 0 after the fact but I want a RAID 1 for redundancy for both the OS drive and the data drive. I guess that would be the benefit if they did get Acronis, I could image the server, create the mirror and then restore the image to the mirror.

Moving the exchange store is quite easy, but I'm not super concerned about that right now. I fear they are going to think what they are doing now is "working" when in reality the only full backup is on the external drive. I don't think they realize they are wasting their time taking home a differential tape each Friday.

Pierre!
08-21-2010, 22:32
You are right - I screwed up the RAID level - RAID 1 is what I was thinking when I wrote ZERO... My Bad... Or I could blame the Rum. :supergrin:

As long as Acronis will image to the RAID array, and the server OS will allow you to update drivers (should be no prob) then yah, that is a great way to provide some Business Continuity Testing documentation if they are a 'regulated' business.

Well, when it comes to making convincing sales, use the truth to your advantage. Let them see how long the tape drive takes to get busy or to do a restore... or fail to do a restore and you should make some headway with the demonstration.

Sounds like a good gig! Now just close the deal... :cool:

DoubleWide
08-22-2010, 01:21
Have you talked to them about future growth?
Check on backup windows, number and size of restorations and how quickly they're needed.

Backup Exec can backup a NAS. Obviously check compatibility before buying.
There'll be some limitations if you're going to backup via NDMP.

Mixing disk and tape really depends on how you set it up.

Do a real tape solution and get a proper disaster recovery system going now. It's your job to get them set up correctly. Tell them the building just burnt down and ask them what their plan is and show them what they'd be able to recover with their offsite data.
If you can work it out, I'd recommend a full for offsite, a full for onsite and incrementals or differentials depending on the setup.

srhoades
08-22-2010, 14:44
Have you talked to them about future growth?
Check on backup windows, number and size of restorations and how quickly they're needed.

Backup Exec can backup a NAS. Obviously check compatibility before buying.
There'll be some limitations if you're going to backup via NDMP.

Mixing disk and tape really depends on how you set it up.

Do a real tape solution and get a proper disaster recovery system going now. It's your job to get them set up correctly. Tell them the building just burnt down and ask them what their plan is and show them what they'd be able to recover with their offsite data.
If you can work it out, I'd recommend a full for offsite, a full for onsite and incrementals or differentials depending on the setup.

That is what I want to do, a new tape drive with 10 tapes so they have. Full backup on a tape with differentials and a full backup to disk with differentials. Like most businesses I don't think they understand how ex[ensive doing backups correctly really costs.

MikeG22
08-23-2010, 17:10
What are they even backing up to the tape with only a 200gig tape drive and 700gb of data. Best bet would be to get them an LTO-4 drive, Backup Exec SBS (cheaper bundle with the Exchange agent) and tapes to do a full GFS rotation.

You could also if they don't care about having long retention times use Backup Exec System Recovery (better than acronis) to a few NAS devices. I will often get one large main NAS (for that much data a 4TB min...check out Buffalo Terastations) and then two smaller NAS units. Do the main BESR backups to the main onsite NAS and you can either make a simple robocopy batch file to copy off the last week or however long of data to one of the offsite rotation nas's. You would set them with the same IP and shares and login info and the client can rotate offsite between the two of those whenever the client wants so there is always one offsite.
Nice benefit being the images can mount into VMWare as well so if the server was toast you could get it up and running on a temp desktop even if it had the capacity or when they get a new server run ESXi and load it in and be up right away.

srhoades
08-23-2010, 20:17
Well I decided on Acronis SBS. Only $500 bux and it solves the RAID problem since Acronis supports restoring to different hardware. I can image the drive, create the RAID, load the advanced restore option and it essentially slipstreams the RAID drivers in the previously created image. I'm also going to get them a 4TB RAID 5 NAS to store the backups and have a script copy the latest full backup to an existing external hard drive they can take that off site. Well, I say I decided all this but it is still a proposal, we will see what they say.

Toyman
08-24-2010, 05:41
Well I decided on Acronis SBS. Only $500 bux and it solves the RAID problem since Acronis supports restoring to different hardware. I can image the drive, create the RAID, load the advanced restore option and it essentially slipstreams the RAID drivers in the previously created image. I'm also going to get them a 4TB RAID 5 NAS to store the backups and have a script copy the latest full backup to an existing external hard drive they can take that off site. Well, I say I decided all this but it is still a proposal, we will see what they say.

I use Acronis. I've used it once to restore to different hardware when I built a new machine, it worked really well.

I use Acronis to backup to a second physical internal drive for speed of backup (and restore if needed), then I have the images copied to an external drive. I also use carbonite to backup offsite, as well as using SyncBack to copy my important/frequently change files to another drive for quick access if I need them. Don't forget to have the images split in 4GB parts in case you need to burn them to DVD to get them back on the main machine for restore.