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Backup solution for Windows/Vmware/MacOSX

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  • Backup solution for Windows/Vmware/MacOSX


    I need to revisit our backup and DR strategy and i would be grateful for any suggestion on how best to use our existing kit.

    This is our current kit and this is the plan:

    backup kit hardware

    Overland SNAP Server with 9tb usable RAID 5 storage with SATA disks. Software included was Netvault Bakbone with 500gb VTL.
    4tb 2u custom built Freenas box
    2tb Windows 2003 server utilising a perl backup script.

    Currently the SNAP server is one of our main storage boxes, it serves out a variety of data such as various shared drives (e.g. staff, admin shared areas), iScsi target for home directories and profiles, use Microsoft iSCSI initator to do this and it also is a backup target for our apple XRAID data.

    The FreeNas is a secondary backup location for our apple data and we also use it for archival storage.

    The 2tb windows server is where all our Microsoft servers daily and weekly backups are stored. Its a combination of a perl script and XXcopy which runs on a daily/weekly basis which takes a copy of the data and dumps it to this server and it sorts in a nice format with dates and will delete the oldest copy automatically, will do 1 weeks worth mon-thu of critical data and then on weekend will do a whole backup of all shares on all our various windows servers and store it in a weekly folder. When we restore we simply open the server as a network drive, locate the file in a nice folder structure and drag and drop back to the live data.

    problems with this setup and possible solutions

    We currently do whole daily backups of data, and my knowledge of perl is limited. This is full backups and the backup windows are slowly increasing, it can take approx 5 hours to do a daily backup. Currently do this in the evening but can impact on performance for our VPN users.

    A weekend backup with all the data takes approx 18 hours.

    Once our SAN arrives the snap server will become a NAS box with all the backups, hope is to keep up to 4 weeks worth of data. I was thinking of Rsync to backup data as it will work similar to our perl script, Can this do incremental backups and erase older copies of backups? Is it known to be reliable or have other schools suffered problems? Would I best use the software designed for the SNAP server (bakbone netvault virtual tape library software) is very expensive to purchase APPROX 7K!!! if i want a 6tb VTL as well as plugins for exchange and SQL. I have looked at an alternative such as SEP Sesam which is approx 4k and seems to do more or less the same job. Does anyone recommend this?

    The freenas box will continue to be used for a secondary backup of the MAC data and archival storage and the windows backup server is going to be located in a remote location and my plan is a weekly backup will be done onto the snap server and then NAS will send a secondary copy over to the windows server at a remote location. What do fellow members think of this, would there be a better way?

    A lot of of our servers are being moved to VMware so need a backup solution to backup our virtual servers, can anyone recommend how I would do this? would it be best to use something like VCB?

    Solutions I am currently thinking of is Rysnc, Bakbone Netvault, Sep Sesam, Retrospect?

    Any recommendations? budget on backup/DR strategy is approx 5k.

    Thanks you in advance.

  • #2
    Re: Backup solution for Windows/Vmware/MacOSX

    i just had one of our engineers produce some documentation on enhancing our backup solution at my company recently.

    Basically we ended up at the solution costing, at a minimum, 10K.

    Yes. backup software costs good money. However. It's like your car insurance... you probably don't need it.. but if you DO need it,and you don't have it, how much have you saved ?

    What i'm saying is.. with the roll-your-own solution, it might only cost 5K, but what if the backups didn't work for some reason... and the business loses all it's data in a fire.. and yo ucan't recover it...
    That 5K is all of a sudden very small amount.

    Personally - I think it's worth spending the money on backup software that's suitable for the purpose, whether it's Arcserv, backup exec, netbackup, legato, or any other variant.
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    • #3
      Re: Backup solution for Windows/Vmware/MacOSX

      Originally posted by tehcamel View Post
      What i'm saying is.. with the roll-your-own solution, it might only cost 5K, but what if the backups didn't work for some reason... and the business loses all it's data in a fire.. and yo ucan't recover it...
      That 5K is all of a sudden very small amount.
      Case in point: Ma.gnolia. Here's a good video explaining the collapse. A few years back I took some classes on Windows Administration. The long-time SysAdmin there repeated this one comment over and over that made quite an impression on me: "Your backups are only as good as your backups." It's quite possible that your entire career hangs on the integrity of your backups. It frustrates me when management doesn't want to spring for good backup tools because I know that I'll be the one to take the hit if and when bad stuff happens with the backups even though I asked for better tools. 5K sounds like an excruciatingly low number for a good backup solutions spanning the amount of computers and storage you have.

      Anyways, I'd be very careful with backup solutions that lean on xCopy, RoboCopy, rsync and any other file copying tool. The biggest downfall is version control. If data gets corrupted but you don't notice it for a few hours, it could be that your backups are just copies of the corruption. Do you have file-copy scripts for each day of the week? I think you're doing that already from what it sounded like in your post, but I thought I should reiterate that point. Ma.gnolia was the same problem. The corrupted half terabyte database got copied and thus there was no good copy. Versioning is a must. Yes, that means you need n times more space to have versioning (unless you rely on backup software that can do differential or incremental backups), but hard drive space is relatively cheap.

      Retrospect is decent. It has a Mac client and a Windows client. It was used at one of my workplaces for the fleet of about 40 to 50 Macs. The only problem was that the index files seemed to be very cryptic and the server version we had at that time had to be running and open on the server to work. It couldn't work in the background. I'm sure that's fixed by now though. I don't think it would scale into the many hundreds or thousands of clients though. I'd go with Backup Exec for that (which comes with a monster price tag, of course).

      Virtualizing comes with interesting backup possibilities. I'll let others with more experience talk about the specifics of that, but it does allow for faster disaster recovery if properly implemeneted. Change control is nice if you utilize snapshots. Of course, you'll need lots of storage (I hope your SAN is big!). Maybe consider getting a storage server like an HP DL320s (14 3.5 inch drive bays!) for a monster NAS box?

      I hope this post isn't too rambling. My first posts of that day tend to do that.
      Wesley David
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