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Small Business IT Providers - How do you manage data backup?

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  • Small Business IT Providers - How do you manage data backup?

    I guess the lounge is the right section for this, as its just a general question for anyone supporting small businesses in IT.

    We look after small business - normally anywhere from 5 to 30 users.

    Backup is becoming somewhat of an issue for us as we are getting bigger.

    At the moment we use a combination of backup assist and logmein backup, depending on the client.

    All the backups go offsite to 1 of several servers we have hosted in a data center.

    In an ideal world, we would have backup server with raid, and then a backup of the backup server, to cover against all eventualities, but trying to do this gets very expensive.

    At the minute we rent the servers from a provider in France, but are thinking about the possibility of renting our own rack space so that we have more flexibility with the kit that we put in.

    Just really wondering what solutions other people are using, and what works best?
    David Silvester
    Systems Administrator

  • #2
    Re: Small Business IT Providers - How do you manage data backup?

    Most of my customers live in the land of relatively slow internet connections (at least upstream) so on-line backup is a no-no

    Typically I would recommend a stack (2-5) USB drives (2.5 inch) and the customer swaps them daily, while I keep an eye remotely.
    Tom Jones
    MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
    PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
    IT Trainer / Consultant
    Ossian Ltd
    Scotland

    ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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    • #3
      Re: Small Business IT Providers - How do you manage data backup?

      Originally posted by Ossian View Post
      Most of my customers live in the land of relatively slow internet connections (at least upstream) so on-line backup is a no-no

      Typically I would recommend a stack (2-5) USB drives (2.5 inch) and the customer swaps them daily, while I keep an eye remotely.
      We have a couple of clients that do that, I think thats quite a solid system, especially if they take the drives off site as well, but it does rely on the user (which again is good I suppose, as it takes some of the responsibility away from you, the provider).

      But for most of our clients they do not want to have that much involvement.

      Also, we do charge for backups so we do make money from it, I just think maybe we are not charging enough, and we are not spending enough.

      Also, for us, our average client probably has 8MB broadband, with our biggest clients having 100MB+.

      We have systems with 400GB of data, exchange etc that will backup easily in a few hours a night (becuase of backup assists bit level backup).
      So thats not an issue, its really just having a bullet proof system to gurantee the data integrity.
      David Silvester
      Systems Administrator

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      • #4
        Re: Small Business IT Providers - How do you manage data backup?

        We have a similar issue to Ossian, lots of customers wanting offsite backup so that it's taken out of their hands but very few willing to pay for a good enough internet connection (specifically upload speeds) to facilitate it.

        We've moved a lot of our larger customers to EFM or FTTC connections recently, but most ADSL lines, especially in the centre of GLasgow or Edinburgh, are subject to such high contention ratios that they are useless for online backups.

        Most of our customers use Windows Server Backup or Backup Exec (2010 R3 mostly as 2012 is unusable) with USB drives. A few still prefer tapes bu the cost is so high for LTO drives that USB drives are a popular choice.
        BSc, MCSA: Server 2008, MCSE, MCSA: Messaging, MCTS
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        Cruachan's Blog

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        • #5
          Re: Small Business IT Providers - How do you manage data backup?

          Originally posted by cruachan View Post
          We have a similar issue to Ossian, lots of customers wanting offsite backup so that it's taken out of their hands but very few willing to pay for a good enough internet connection (specifically upload speeds) to facilitate it.

          We've moved a lot of our larger customers to EFM or FTTC connections recently, but most ADSL lines, especially in the centre of GLasgow or Edinburgh, are subject to such high contention ratios that they are useless for online backups.

          Most of our customers use Windows Server Backup or Backup Exec (2010 R3 mostly as 2012 is unusable) with USB drives. A few still prefer tapes bu the cost is so high for LTO drives that USB drives are a popular choice.
          We have clients with 4-6mb download and 0.75 upload and we manage to backup 300GB worth of data every night with backup assist.

          The big problem is getting the data off site initially, what we do for that is to seed the entire backup onto an external drive, then upload it to our data center from our office (we have a 100MB connection), then run the backup and it syncs up with the "seeded" data.
          David Silvester
          Systems Administrator

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          • #6
            Re: Small Business IT Providers - How do you manage data backup?

            My company resells a similar solution call Datto Backup. I'm not sure if they're available in the UK but they have some nice products that automatically test the integrity of the backup and also give DR support through bringing the backup image up in a virtual environment either locally on the backup appliance or remotely in the datacenter where the backups are synced.
            Regards,
            Jeremy

            Network Consultant/Engineer
            Baltimore - Washington area and beyond
            www.gma-cpa.com

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            • #7
              Re: Small Business IT Providers - How do you manage data backup?

              Originally posted by JeremyW View Post
              My company resells a similar solution call Datto Backup. I'm not sure if they're available in the UK but they have some nice products that automatically test the integrity of the backup and also give DR support through bringing the backup image up in a virtual environment either locally on the backup appliance or remotely in the datacenter where the backups are synced.
              I had a look at the site, it looks good.
              but it looks a bit more like a package that you could sell direct to businesses, is that right? Does it come as a system with built in storage, or can you buy the software on its own?


              For now I have devised a system as follows:

              For small companies we are using logmein backup which backs up to windows based dedicated servers.
              We then backup the data on the windows servers to Linux based rsync servers, using backup assist - this does bit level backups daily and seeing as its running in a data center, backups are fast between backup server and fail-safe backup server.

              For bigger companies, especially companies running exchange, we use backup assist and we send the backups to linux based rsync servers.
              we are then backing those servers up to failsafe backup servers using just rsync command line.

              So basically, we always have a full offsite copy of all data, and we also have a constant backup of all of our backups, in case any of our servers fail.

              I haven't quite implemented all of this at the minute, but Im working on it.
              David Silvester
              Systems Administrator

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              • #8
                Re: Small Business IT Providers - How do you manage data backup?

                Originally posted by davids355 View Post
                I had a look at the site, it looks good.
                but it looks a bit more like a package that you could sell direct to businesses, is that right? Does it come as a system with built in storage, or can you buy the software on its own?
                Yup, there's a couple options. Resell the service to your clients or you can have nodes in your own datacenter and sell a re-branded unit to your clients. No real option for getting just the software (built on Ubuntu) but if you have Zenith boxes, they do sell a conversion kit for that (developed on the same hardware). There is talk about testing the software on more hardware and maybe open it up but for now it has to be an appliance.

                If you want to know more feel free to PM me as I don't think I need to do a commercial for Datto on the forums.
                Regards,
                Jeremy

                Network Consultant/Engineer
                Baltimore - Washington area and beyond
                www.gma-cpa.com

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                • #9
                  Re: Small Business IT Providers - How do you manage data backup?

                  Haha yes, sending you pm just out of interest.
                  David Silvester
                  Systems Administrator

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