Questions

Looking for ideas for Backups

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Looking for ideas for Backups

jdclyde
Greetings everyone,

I am in the process of reviewing the backup procedures for the company I have recently taken employment at.

Looking at the log files, our backups were failing on a regular bases. Called Dell and they changed the drive out as it was still under warranty.

Everything was great, for a day.

Starting to bomb out again. In the morning, we look at the backup and it had ejected the tape and the software says "loading media".

I asked how old the tapes were, but no one knew for sure. My opinion is, if they don't know when they were last replaced, they are to old. I ordered new tapes are are waiting for them to come in.

How many times will you use a tape before retiring it? (dat72).

How many tapes are in the rotation at a time?

Do you pull and save at set intervals, such as end of month or end of year?

Thanks for you input.

jd
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    neilb@uk

    A thousand passes or a hundred full backups for any type of tape. I've no idea whether that's good enough or not as we've always moved up the tape size ladder before we reached the magic number. They are supposed to be pretty robust as the lifetime should be good enough for whatever legal retention requirements you might hit. That's at least seven years over here.

    Do make sure that you've got a good cleaning tape and you use it regularly!

    :)

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    jdclyde

    wow, that is a lot further out than I would have imagined.

    But then again, we do the full backup everynight, and I think there is only 5 tapes in the rotation, so that is about 70 usages per year.

    How many tapes in your rotation?

    FYI, I am concerned with being able to recover from a crash, if that changes the focus or not.

    I did realize that we do NOT have a boot disk for the backup.

    Need to analyze this from the ground up.

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    neilb@uk

    We currently have 485 LTO3 at around 600GB each, half in a library and half off-site. we also have a 10TB mirrored disk cache. And all of our data disks are replicated off-site.

    Designed so I only have to be "tapebitch" once a week.

    :)

    When you have actually BEEN blown up by terrorists then you take care to have a good disaster recovery system in place.

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    CG IT

    Is this your Domain Controllers, your file servers database server or what?

    I approach disaster recovery different than data backups.

    Disaster recovery is when a domain controller or database server dies and the entire network is unusable. Critical business data also falls into thei category. If that data is lost the business itself can not continue, that's included in Disaster recovery.

    Data backups are the stuff that while inconvinent if lost and troublesome to recreate, are not necessary for the business to continue operations.This is usually user files and folders, Outlook contacts and calendars which might be the users responsibility or backed up to some media that is quick and easy to restore. Flash drives, external harddrives, or some other easily used rewritable media.


    While system state backups are expedient, they might not be necessary in some instances. Domain Controllers that crash and you only have one of them, then you need basically a clone. If you have redundancy, then heck you can just install the O/S, patch it join in promote it and replicate.

    The bottom line in planning is how long would it take to recover without undue financial loss to the company and without loss of data that can't be lost. Then a method is used to accomplish that.

    Some like cloning, some like tape, some go to great lenghts and expense with tape libraries. Some use redundant systems.

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    ugh

    jdclyde

    you are depressing me.....

    the tape backup is on the domain controller.

    no backup of the terminal server, web server or email server.

    Disaster recovery is non-existent.

    Unfortunately, coming from a decade of *nix only servers, I don't know domain controllers and terminal servers. Spent a good deal of time reading about TS yesterday.

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    CG IT

    Their like web based applications. Everything is hosted on the Terminal Server except the GUI.

    But back to backups. Terminal Servers are probably the worst after database servers to restore after a disaster. If it was me, I'd clone the the whole server if I could.

    Web server... If it's 1 web site without a lot of fancy stuff, running on IIS, I'd just backup the site. The web server itself can be easily restored from media and patched up quickly, then all you have to do is put the site into a folder, tell IIS the path and your back in business.

    Exchange works with Active Directory. So all user accounts and mailboxes are from Active Directory. Again, if users backup their stuff to pst files, you aren't going to lose much. The real problem is getting email boxes matched up to user accounts. In essence, if the Exchange takes a dive, and you didn't "clone" Exchange, you almost have to recreate everything from scratch on Exchange, eg set address space, go to each workstation, configure outlook again for each user, import user stuff from pst files, then your good to go. While not so bad with 9 users, anything more it can be a real time waster.

    If I remember correctly, you only have 9 users. So recreating stuff isn't that much work if the Domain Controller takes a dive unless you have some complex GPO and share configurations. Even then you can export GPO configurations and save em. Share folder stuff you document so if you have to recreate it, you got the template in the documentation. The files in the shared folders are always backed up. User files that users say they can't live without are always backed up.

    So, how I plan out disaster recovery is how I would go about recreating the entire network as if I'm creating the network from scratch. Those areas that require a lot of configuration, or is critical business data that isn't standard stuff, like databases and user critical files, I backup. Those I don't and use default settings, I don't backup. All this is documented in a step by step instruction.

    With somewhat large small businesses, 25 users or more, redundancy is the life saver. Everything works while your trying to fix what broke and nothing is lost.

    added note: just read GGs stuff. I assumed that you would understand that business critical data, data the business can not afford to lose, includes all the legally required records. As GG also points out, users or management have to tell you what their needs are so that you can meet them.If users need to access archived stuff 25 years in the past, well you gotta plan for it. some archived material doesn't need instant access, some does. Users store lots of crap they never use but say they must have. Saving data can turn into a ponzi. Data on top of data on top of data with this data growing expotentially right along with the cost. It can and does get out of hand real fast.

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    jdclyde

    if you just back up the data, 5/10 years later, will you have the software available to read it?

    Thanks!

    After I get a few basics down on TS, my big thing will be to do the domain server. It is doing VERY little, really.

    More on THAT later.....

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    TonytheTiger

    just robocopy straight to external hard drives :)

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    Brenton Keegan

    Well, I assume you have a physical box. There may be other products but this product can take an image of a server while it's running:
    http://www.ultrabac.com/

    We use that to take an image of all our physical Windows servers. VCB takes care of all the virtual ones.

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    jdclyde

    Symantec Backup Exec 11d for Windows Server
    Quickstart Edition
    Ver 11 rev 6235

    Currently running the live update as I see there are a few service packs available in the 11d series (3 and 4).

    Should I check into the version 12?

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    Darryl~ Moderator

    We're only running Symantec Backup Exec 10d but it suits our needs well. We have a tape library so our rotation may vary a bit from how you do yours.
    We leave our daily tapes in and rotate the weekly/monthly/yearly...this is how ours works.

    Mon, Tue, Wed, Thur are daily incremental
    Fri daily Full
    Sat is a Full weekly
    Sun is Monthly incremental.
    We take the weekly tape to the bank (safe deposit box) on Mondays.
    The last Sun of the month does a Monthly ....the monthly goes to the safe deposit box....Last Sun of the year is a Yearly.

    We have 4 weekly tapes in constant rotation, 12 Monthly tapes in rotation, and each year gets its own tape.

    As you can see, we have a lot of tapes in use but they want to make sure we can go back to almost any time in history if need be....we're dealing with tax files etc.

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    jdclyde

    do you have it set so that it does each increment after each other, or overwrite the previous?

    Bad thing is, I am not even sure how much data needs to be backup up yet! :0 oh my....

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    Darryl~ Moderator

    That way we can restore to any given day more easily.

    The amount of data is a whole other issue....trying to convince people we really don't want to backup copies of "their" backup of "their" backups...it can be quite a challenge to get them to trust the fact that you can restore it for them.

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    Wild Card

    is essentially the same thing as 11d.

    We run both here and honestly, I like 11d better. The problem I have with 12 is anytime something has to do with SQL. The thing is so picky. The backups "fail" but still show that data is being backed up. I never have that problem with the 11d machines.

    For your original question we run a series of 14 tapes on the 12 machine and 7 on 11d machine. Tapes get retired after we take note that a backup for that particular tape fails more than once. On a failure we try to do a manual backup on the tape, if that fails we grab a new tape from the supply, relabel it and go from there.

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    jdclyde

    If you are using tapes right up to failure, do you get concerned about getting false positives as to your backups?

    Thanks for the info on v12. As this is a SQL server2005, I will stay at v11d. Will read up on the service packs though. I am on SP3, and SP4 is out.

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    Wild Card

    Usually once a week someone deletes a file they shouldn't have or we need to make sure certain files get backed up. That serves as our verify.

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    TonytheTiger

    And if you do, expect to use more tapes, because the encrypted data doesn't compress as well.

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    shasca

    Q: How long should a typical tape last and when should it be retired?

    A: A typical DAT or TR-5 backup tape is good for 60 to 120 backup, restore, or verify operations in a regularly cleaned and properly maintained tape backup unit (TBU). A tape should be retired after two to six months of use to prevent media failure.
    DLT tapes are much more robust than DAT or TR-5 media. A DLT tape is capable of running more than 10,000 backup jobs. In spite of this longevity, DLT tapes are not indestructible and should still be retired from active use long before they reach their failure point. Annual tape replacement is recommended for DLT tapes.

    Tapes should be taken out of regular usage long before they fail. Under optimal conditions, tape manufacturers rate TR-5 and DAT media as good for 1,000 physical tape passes and DLT tapes capable of 1,000,000 successful tape passes (a completed job can require as many as 6 to 12 physical tape passes). Wear is not evenly distributed across the entire backup media. The first section of a tape is prone to failure due to the high amount of access it receives during the execution of any tape job. A backup tape may have many good backup or restore uses left, but it should be archived long before it reaches the point where it can no longer be used. The focus of any good backup tape strategy should be maintaining data integrity and not testing tape endurance limits.

    Several factors may shorten tape life. Using tapes in a dirty tape drive decreases tape life. Extremes in temperature and high concentrations of dust or airborne particles shorten tape life. Tapes should be stored according to vendor's specifications on temperature and environment.

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    jdclyde

    "A tape should be retired after two to six months of use to prevent media failure."

    months of use, so if is used one day a week, are they talking calendar months or actual usage days?

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    shasca

    If the time frame is as vague as 2-6 months, what difference does counting/not weekends???. Since few would be backing up on the weekends They would more than likely be inclusive. Don't you think? Six months seems too short of a life span to mee.Commvault, and Arcserve expire tapes for you. They keep track of usage and notify you when it's ready for the"Old Tapes Home". CFheck and see if symantec has the same feature.

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    jdclyde

    Sure would be nice if I had the books/disks that came with the symantec! grrrr.

    Well, help file, here I come!

    Thanks for the tip!

    jd

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    Brenton Keegan

    If you are looking for the product installer, I would use Symantec FileConnect:

    https://fileconnect.symantec.com/licenselogin.jsp?localeStr=en_US

    You will need the product's serial number though.

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    Brenton Keegan

    If your tape drive has a barcode reader, each tape can be cataloged according to a barcode. BackupExec (at least 12d) will record all sorts of information about each tape, including how many hours the tape has been in use and how much total data has been written to it and read from it over its lifetime.

    If it encounters hardware based errors, it will also record that.

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    jdclyde

    I don't think this has bar code reader?

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    neilb@uk

    You DO know how to use a spreadsheet program, don't you?

    I think you're in an RTFM situation.

    :)

    Now, if you could take a thumb OFF for this answer, you probably should.

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    jdclyde

    as I clearly said before, I don't HAVE a manual to F'en read!

    No software and no documentation. Things would be a lot easier if I did have it.

    And just to make you happy, I gave you a thumb just so I could take it away! ;\

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    jdclyde

    Maybe I will pass on printing it off.....


    Thanks for the link!

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    =)

    Brenton Keegan

    Sure thing mate.

    A lot of companies label the manuals to Network Admin applications "Server Admin Guide", "Admin Guide" etc. So typing the product name plus some variation of those will often yield results.

    Crafting google searches is an art.

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    jdclyde

    the INDEX is 45 pages!!!!! :0

    I was going to print just THAT off to make it easier to look things up.... wow.....

    Anyone feel like reading this and telling me what it says?

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    TonytheTiger

    NTBACKUP is better, cheaper, and faster :)

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    TonytheTiger

    BE stores media statistics... starting from either when the tape was formatted, or when it was imported.

    On the media tab, right-click on a tape and select properties. There should be a statistics tab.

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    computechdan

    several years back i began moving away from tape backups and towards hdd based back up on almost all the servers i support

    initially i used removeable ide drive bays in a workstation.

    this has worked very well for the most part, only problems where the drive bays didn't seem to last more than six months or so and workstation had to be shutdown to change the drive then restarted, which they would sometimes forget to turn it back on

    so now as clients need more capacity or as the drive bays fail i've been using this rather than replacing the drive bays or buying larger ide based drives.

    http://tinyurl.com/56eb3b

    in my area i can get these for about 60 bux at best buy when i'm in a pinch for one

    connected directly to server it eliminates one of my issues, and so far has been rock solid. they make um in usb2 or firewire and both types support 2.5 or 3.5 sata drives up to 2tb


    i put a sheet of thin plastic over the bare drive's electronics and make a couple of wraps around it with a high quality packing tape to protect against static discharge

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    jdclyde

    What kind of rotation of drives do you use?

    Do they have software that can boot off a boot disk for a baremetal restore?

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    computechdan

    the os is on a mirror the data on a raid 5

    the os drive doesn't change much if any

    most rotating three drives, one offsite at all times

    occasionally i image the servers with acronis workstation w/universal restore

    so yes i can actually restore bare metal even to new hardware and have done so several times

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    gadgetgirl

    before you even start, you MUST find out how long LEGALLY you are required to maintain records availability. That really must be your starting point - without that, you have no idea what your exact goal is.

    (In fairness, where I'm working now has to have some records available for 25 years, whereas in local government we had to comply with the seven year financial statute)

    As Shasca said, ArcServe tells you when a tape expiry is due; in current circumstances, that's a godsend...!

    Wherever I've worked, we've used the GFS tape rotation (Grandfather/father/son) system. It works, and if it ain't broke, why fix it?

    In local government, we used to buy a batch of tapes once every six months; this also covered mishaps with tapes (spilt fluids, broken casings etc) and had new blanks at various points in the organisation, including archive. When these tapes were received they were labelled with the date of purchase, numbered and stored ready.

    As far as what we did - OS and program disks along with monthly and annual tapes were stored in a 2 hours fire safe. This "tape run" was done on a monthly basis, (signed it/out) after the monthly back up was complete.

    Incremental back ups were taken on a daily basis (we also had to include weekends, due to international locations) The monthly backups were taken the first weekend after the start of the month, and the annual back up taken every New Years Eve.

    We also had a DR point in another location (hey! that was MY project!) with internet connection, pre-loaded (recycled/old) servers, enough kit for five staff, and used that for DR planning and practice. (Works a helluva lot better than a table top exercise when they can talk their way out of anything - doing it like this made them *do* instead of *talk*!!)

    DR restore at our secondary location twice a year, and proved/disproved the validity of the system.

    I have some stuff on your "stick" that'll be useful for this, but in the meantime, have a look at the DR and BC guidelines within BS7799/ISO270001. That also covers the paperwork you'll need to get in place and keep up to date to CYA.

    (Hey, I'm not gonna do it ALL for you!)

    We can talk this though (BOINGBOUNCEBOING) face to face - believe me, it'll be easier!

    (WOOHOO! Sorry, went for the space station again!)

    GG

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    jdclyde

    No one knows legally what is required. They have paper copies of transactions, and that was traditionally the only thing that was considered.

    A call to our CPA is going out, and we hope to get the legal question answered.

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    Wizard-09

    Backup exec is what I used, we did weekly, monthy and yearly backups, one year we used the tapes for. Also you may want to buy some cleaning tapes for the dat 72 tapes. Hope this helps.

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    jdclyde

    The server is under maintenance agreement, would they answer questions about this for me?

    I suppose I will hit they Symantec site tomorrow to see what kind of information they have available.

    Thanks everyone.

    jd

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    JamesRL

    We do a 7 day rotation, full backups every time.

    Most people would scratch their heads at this but there are bsuiness reasons for it. We are trying to minimize the restore process and maximize the safety. If you do an incremental, you have to worry about multiple backups being successful and readble. Full backups every day is the safest.

    We recommend to our customers that they pull one tape a month and store it offsite. Many do not. Some do after year end accounting is closed.

    We try to encourage people to replace their tapes after a year. Many people don't and we find that after the two year mark the failure rate rapidly increases.

    We are actually selling a newer technology as well: http://www.rdxstorage.com/ its a removeable HD. Much faster backups.

    James

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    jdclyde

    What is the life expectency of the drives vs tapes?

    If you got a longer life and more capacity, I could see that being a real benefit for people with large data backup needs, over a few year span, but would probably take a few years to pay for its self.

    And yes, I have always been a fan of full backups. If they run at night, why would I care if it takes one hour vs 20 minutes to run?

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    JamesRL

    We do get quite a few support calls on Backup problems, including:
    "Forgot to put tape in drive"
    "Tape out of Capacity"
    "Bad Media"

    And thats what lead us to look at alternatives. We first had the GoVault, similar technology, cartridges from 40 to 160GB. They really are just platters from a HD encased in a cartridge that go into a carrier with the HD spindle/motor/controller.

    The Go Vaults had a 1 year warranty, not sure about RDX.

    James

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    Brenton Keegan

    Maybe this has all been said in previous posts.

    However, one piece of advice I would have would be to document what you backup and when you back it up.

    Document this down as an SLA and then publish it to the organization. That way you have yourself covered. Without this you may find that your users have false expectations and they do something silly like save a bunch of important documents in an location that is not backed up. Naturally something would happen and this data would get lost. Then this user would come to you so you can recover the data and get upset when you can't restore it for him/her.

    What you backup and when you do it varies from business to business. As many have posted so far, may do some kind of nightly job (either incremental and differential) and then do a full backup on the weekend, which gets put into a safety deposit box offsite. Many have some kind of month-end backup situation. These are all common practices.

    Beyond that you might consider some mid-day non-tape drive backup. In my organization we have software developers who get their work backed up at noon. I am not sure what is left out in "Quickstart Edition", but you should be able to configure a "device" in backup exec which is just a folder. This way you can schedule BE to grab files and drop them in .bfk files in a folder somewhere. This is really only applicable if you have important data somewhere that needs to be on the local workstation. In our case it's checked-out code from a repository.

    I'd recommend keeping all backup related tasks centralized as much as possible. Try to keep all scheduled tasks managed from BE. If you have random scheduled scripts outside of BE they can very easily be lost track of. (And considering you'd have this down in an SLA, losing track of it can mean your job).

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    jdclyde

    looking around the server trying to find out where all the data is. The databases aren't that big, but the drive was showing 300 GIGS used???

    There they were, almost 300 One gig bkf files at the root directory, all dated yesterday around noon when I was having failed backups and running test backups on tapes to see if I have any that still work (I ordered a new box that should be in today/tomorrow).

    Looking at the BE settings, I can't see ANYTHING that would tell it to make these?

    Can I delete them? :0

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    Brenton Keegan

    On the BE console, go to the Devices tab, expand Device Pools -> All Devices. That's where they are defined. Again, I don't know what Quickstart edition does or doesn't have.

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    jdclyde

    When I went into the job, it was set to backup to all devices, which is the tape AND the backup to folder.

    I changed that to only point at the tape, and disabled the folder.

    So, it should be safe to kill the 270+ files filling up my hardrive? The backup files are taking up more space than I have data!

    Side note, WITH compression, the tapes only hold about 70 gigs.

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    Brenton Keegan

    Backup to a folder isn't a bad idea. I am not going to advise you to delete it simply because I am not right there looking at it. It would be foolish of me to suggest deleting a backup without really knowing what it is. You'll have to make that decision.

    The folder backup isn't a bad idea. If it's exactly the same as the tape backup it's really a convenience issue. Do you get users asking you to restore files a lot? Can you see how it would be a cumbersome task to do those kind of backups from tape? Especially considering you already told me you don't have a bar-code reader and no way to automatically catalog them.

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    jdclyde

    to make good and sure I have a valid backup.

    The problem I see is two things.

    1) dumping the backups at the root instead of in a directory

    2) not having that directory excluded from the next backup.

    I am thinking my backup failures are from exceeding the capacity of the tapes because of these backup files.

    Will then move the files, set an exception, and see what happens. after a week, I will kill them and start doing a NEW rotating and intentional disk backup as well as the tape backup.

    Thanks for all the help.

    jd

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    reisen55

    Rotation
    Weekly offsite, keep it simple.

    Daily runs of only critical data at night.
    Full if you can get away with it.
    Incremental if you need to
    Do not touch differentials EVER.

    Test restore if you have the chance.

    Media
    Tape is dead. If you have to stick with, check to see if you can increase tape size such as LTO2 to LT03 or 4. Many tape drives accept the new standards without modification.

    Hard drives are better. Best actually. One municipality cut backup time from 15 to 5 hours going from tape to drives.

    Faster restoration too!!!!!!

    Software
    Do not upgrade just because it is new. If Symantec 11 is working great and 12.5 is a new product, do not upgrade just because the new product is OUT THERE. Restoration does not give a damn about version numbers. Which is what you are backing up FOR, RIGHT?

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    Brenton Keegan

    Backup to Harddrive instead of tapes? Are you serious?

    First of all, I sure hope you are getting solid state drives. Something about moving platter based hard drives around and tossing them in bank vaults doesn't seem right to me.

    Sure, it may backup faster. But is it really all about speed? Don't get me wrong, speed is nice, but isn't it really about having a copy of company data in case of emergencies? I wouldn't want to be the guy whose hard-drive backup died.

    If you are getting solid state drives, well I hope you're loaded. A 128 GB SSD costs around 400-500 dollars. All that for a measly 128 GB. And by the way, you're going to need more than one.

    Let's assume all your data somehow fits in 128 GB, you're going to need 5 for differentials/incremental, 1 for the Full weekly. And how long do you keep the weekly tapes? Let's say you keep them around for a month. Well that's 4 more. And what about month ends? 12 months in a year, that's 12 more drives. 21 tapes in total times 400 dollars, that's nearly 5 grand. And that's if all the company data fits in 128 GB.

    Tapes on the otherhand.

    Let's say you have LTO3 system. A single loader LTO3 tape drive costs around 1,500 dollars. LTO3 tapes hold 400/800 (400 GB, 800 compressed... whole lot more likely you're going to fit all your company's data on one of those.

    LTO3 tapes are about 30 dollars each. We established you're going to need about 21 of them. 21 times 30 dollars is 630 dollars. So you're looking at somewhere around 2,000 - 2,200 dollars.

    Oh, and if your company's data grows and say the full weekly and month ends start to take two tapes, you'll need to buy more tapes, and at 30 dollar a piece, that's manageable. But I'm sure whatever big C you need to report to is going to love to hear that you need to spend money on a handful of new HDs costing 400 dollars each.

    If you're not actually getting solid state and cheap platter drives... we'll that's just foolish. I don't like to play Russian roulette with my job.

    Tapes are around for a reason. Doesn't matter how fast the backup is if it failed.

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    reisen55

    I do not back up once to one media, but twice to two separate sets of media and keep one offsite. I also test restore my servers and, believe it or not, I have several accounts wherein I can restore a server in 10 minutes from total crash to working fine.

    Also I know a little tiny bit about data restoration. Before you get on your high horse here.

    101st floor, South Tower, World Trade Center.
    System admin for Aon Consulting.
    So maybe I kinda know something here.

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    Brenton Keegan

    You didn't mention HDD as a secondary backup. I was under the impression that you were suggesting platter based hard drives as primary backup... and to be honest I don't think it's a good idea.

    Having that as a secondary option isn't a bad idea.

    SSD drives are bound to come down in price. When this happens I think it would be a lot more practical to use them for backups like tapes are being used now.

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    neilb@uk

    A thousand passes or a hundred full backups for any type of tape. I've no idea whether that's good enough or not as we've always moved up the tape size ladder before we reached the magic number. They are supposed to be pretty robust as the lifetime should be good enough for whatever legal retention requirements you might hit. That's at least seven years over here.

    Do make sure that you've got a good cleaning tape and you use it regularly!

    :)

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    jdclyde

    wow, that is a lot further out than I would have imagined.

    But then again, we do the full backup everynight, and I think there is only 5 tapes in the rotation, so that is about 70 usages per year.

    How many tapes in your rotation?

    FYI, I am concerned with being able to recover from a crash, if that changes the focus or not.

    I did realize that we do NOT have a boot disk for the backup.

    Need to analyze this from the ground up.

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    neilb@uk

    We currently have 485 LTO3 at around 600GB each, half in a library and half off-site. we also have a 10TB mirrored disk cache. And all of our data disks are replicated off-site.

    Designed so I only have to be "tapebitch" once a week.

    :)

    When you have actually BEEN blown up by terrorists then you take care to have a good disaster recovery system in place.

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    CG IT

    Is this your Domain Controllers, your file servers database server or what?

    I approach disaster recovery different than data backups.

    Disaster recovery is when a domain controller or database server dies and the entire network is unusable. Critical business data also falls into thei category. If that data is lost the business itself can not continue, that's included in Disaster recovery.

    Data backups are the stuff that while inconvinent if lost and troublesome to recreate, are not necessary for the business to continue operations.This is usually user files and folders, Outlook contacts and calendars which might be the users responsibility or backed up to some media that is quick and easy to restore. Flash drives, external harddrives, or some other easily used rewritable media.


    While system state backups are expedient, they might not be necessary in some instances. Domain Controllers that crash and you only have one of them, then you need basically a clone. If you have redundancy, then heck you can just install the O/S, patch it join in promote it and replicate.

    The bottom line in planning is how long would it take to recover without undue financial loss to the company and without loss of data that can't be lost. Then a method is used to accomplish that.

    Some like cloning, some like tape, some go to great lenghts and expense with tape libraries. Some use redundant systems.

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    ugh

    jdclyde

    you are depressing me.....

    the tape backup is on the domain controller.

    no backup of the terminal server, web server or email server.

    Disaster recovery is non-existent.

    Unfortunately, coming from a decade of *nix only servers, I don't know domain controllers and terminal servers. Spent a good deal of time reading about TS yesterday.

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    CG IT

    Their like web based applications. Everything is hosted on the Terminal Server except the GUI.

    But back to backups. Terminal Servers are probably the worst after database servers to restore after a disaster. If it was me, I'd clone the the whole server if I could.

    Web server... If it's 1 web site without a lot of fancy stuff, running on IIS, I'd just backup the site. The web server itself can be easily restored from media and patched up quickly, then all you have to do is put the site into a folder, tell IIS the path and your back in business.

    Exchange works with Active Directory. So all user accounts and mailboxes are from Active Directory. Again, if users backup their stuff to pst files, you aren't going to lose much. The real problem is getting email boxes matched up to user accounts. In essence, if the Exchange takes a dive, and you didn't "clone" Exchange, you almost have to recreate everything from scratch on Exchange, eg set address space, go to each workstation, configure outlook again for each user, import user stuff from pst files, then your good to go. While not so bad with 9 users, anything more it can be a real time waster.

    If I remember correctly, you only have 9 users. So recreating stuff isn't that much work if the Domain Controller takes a dive unless you have some complex GPO and share configurations. Even then you can export GPO configurations and save em. Share folder stuff you document so if you have to recreate it, you got the template in the documentation. The files in the shared folders are always backed up. User files that users say they can't live without are always backed up.

    So, how I plan out disaster recovery is how I would go about recreating the entire network as if I'm creating the network from scratch. Those areas that require a lot of configuration, or is critical business data that isn't standard stuff, like databases and user critical files, I backup. Those I don't and use default settings, I don't backup. All this is documented in a step by step instruction.

    With somewhat large small businesses, 25 users or more, redundancy is the life saver. Everything works while your trying to fix what broke and nothing is lost.

    added note: just read GGs stuff. I assumed that you would understand that business critical data, data the business can not afford to lose, includes all the legally required records. As GG also points out, users or management have to tell you what their needs are so that you can meet them.If users need to access archived stuff 25 years in the past, well you gotta plan for it. some archived material doesn't need instant access, some does. Users store lots of crap they never use but say they must have. Saving data can turn into a ponzi. Data on top of data on top of data with this data growing expotentially right along with the cost. It can and does get out of hand real fast.

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    jdclyde

    if you just back up the data, 5/10 years later, will you have the software available to read it?

    Thanks!

    After I get a few basics down on TS, my big thing will be to do the domain server. It is doing VERY little, really.

    More on THAT later.....

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    TonytheTiger

    just robocopy straight to external hard drives :)

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    Brenton Keegan

    Well, I assume you have a physical box. There may be other products but this product can take an image of a server while it's running:
    http://www.ultrabac.com/

    We use that to take an image of all our physical Windows servers. VCB takes care of all the virtual ones.

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    jdclyde

    Symantec Backup Exec 11d for Windows Server
    Quickstart Edition
    Ver 11 rev 6235

    Currently running the live update as I see there are a few service packs available in the 11d series (3 and 4).

    Should I check into the version 12?

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    Darryl~ Moderator

    We're only running Symantec Backup Exec 10d but it suits our needs well. We have a tape library so our rotation may vary a bit from how you do yours.
    We leave our daily tapes in and rotate the weekly/monthly/yearly...this is how ours works.

    Mon, Tue, Wed, Thur are daily incremental
    Fri daily Full
    Sat is a Full weekly
    Sun is Monthly incremental.
    We take the weekly tape to the bank (safe deposit box) on Mondays.
    The last Sun of the month does a Monthly ....the monthly goes to the safe deposit box....Last Sun of the year is a Yearly.

    We have 4 weekly tapes in constant rotation, 12 Monthly tapes in rotation, and each year gets its own tape.

    As you can see, we have a lot of tapes in use but they want to make sure we can go back to almost any time in history if need be....we're dealing with tax files etc.

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    jdclyde

    do you have it set so that it does each increment after each other, or overwrite the previous?

    Bad thing is, I am not even sure how much data needs to be backup up yet! :0 oh my....

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    Darryl~ Moderator

    That way we can restore to any given day more easily.

    The amount of data is a whole other issue....trying to convince people we really don't want to backup copies of "their" backup of "their" backups...it can be quite a challenge to get them to trust the fact that you can restore it for them.

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    Wild Card

    is essentially the same thing as 11d.

    We run both here and honestly, I like 11d better. The problem I have with 12 is anytime something has to do with SQL. The thing is so picky. The backups "fail" but still show that data is being backed up. I never have that problem with the 11d machines.

    For your original question we run a series of 14 tapes on the 12 machine and 7 on 11d machine. Tapes get retired after we take note that a backup for that particular tape fails more than once. On a failure we try to do a manual backup on the tape, if that fails we grab a new tape from the supply, relabel it and go from there.

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    jdclyde

    If you are using tapes right up to failure, do you get concerned about getting false positives as to your backups?

    Thanks for the info on v12. As this is a SQL server2005, I will stay at v11d. Will read up on the service packs though. I am on SP3, and SP4 is out.

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    Wild Card

    Usually once a week someone deletes a file they shouldn't have or we need to make sure certain files get backed up. That serves as our verify.

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    TonytheTiger

    And if you do, expect to use more tapes, because the encrypted data doesn't compress as well.

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    shasca

    Q: How long should a typical tape last and when should it be retired?

    A: A typical DAT or TR-5 backup tape is good for 60 to 120 backup, restore, or verify operations in a regularly cleaned and properly maintained tape backup unit (TBU). A tape should be retired after two to six months of use to prevent media failure.
    DLT tapes are much more robust than DAT or TR-5 media. A DLT tape is capable of running more than 10,000 backup jobs. In spite of this longevity, DLT tapes are not indestructible and should still be retired from active use long before they reach their failure point. Annual tape replacement is recommended for DLT tapes.

    Tapes should be taken out of regular usage long before they fail. Under optimal conditions, tape manufacturers rate TR-5 and DAT media as good for 1,000 physical tape passes and DLT tapes capable of 1,000,000 successful tape passes (a completed job can require as many as 6 to 12 physical tape passes). Wear is not evenly distributed across the entire backup media. The first section of a tape is prone to failure due to the high amount of access it receives during the execution of any tape job. A backup tape may have many good backup or restore uses left, but it should be archived long before it reaches the point where it can no longer be used. The focus of any good backup tape strategy should be maintaining data integrity and not testing tape endurance limits.

    Several factors may shorten tape life. Using tapes in a dirty tape drive decreases tape life. Extremes in temperature and high concentrations of dust or airborne particles shorten tape life. Tapes should be stored according to vendor's specifications on temperature and environment.

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    jdclyde

    "A tape should be retired after two to six months of use to prevent media failure."

    months of use, so if is used one day a week, are they talking calendar months or actual usage days?

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    shasca

    If the time frame is as vague as 2-6 months, what difference does counting/not weekends???. Since few would be backing up on the weekends They would more than likely be inclusive. Don't you think? Six months seems too short of a life span to mee.Commvault, and Arcserve expire tapes for you. They keep track of usage and notify you when it's ready for the"Old Tapes Home". CFheck and see if symantec has the same feature.

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    jdclyde

    Sure would be nice if I had the books/disks that came with the symantec! grrrr.

    Well, help file, here I come!

    Thanks for the tip!

    jd

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    Brenton Keegan

    If you are looking for the product installer, I would use Symantec FileConnect:

    https://fileconnect.symantec.com/licenselogin.jsp?localeStr=en_US

    You will need the product's serial number though.

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    Brenton Keegan

    If your tape drive has a barcode reader, each tape can be cataloged according to a barcode. BackupExec (at least 12d) will record all sorts of information about each tape, including how many hours the tape has been in use and how much total data has been written to it and read from it over its lifetime.

    If it encounters hardware based errors, it will also record that.

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    jdclyde

    I don't think this has bar code reader?

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    neilb@uk

    You DO know how to use a spreadsheet program, don't you?

    I think you're in an RTFM situation.

    :)

    Now, if you could take a thumb OFF for this answer, you probably should.

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    jdclyde

    as I clearly said before, I don't HAVE a manual to F'en read!

    No software and no documentation. Things would be a lot easier if I did have it.

    And just to make you happy, I gave you a thumb just so I could take it away! ;\

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    jdclyde

    Maybe I will pass on printing it off.....


    Thanks for the link!

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    =)

    Brenton Keegan

    Sure thing mate.

    A lot of companies label the manuals to Network Admin applications "Server Admin Guide", "Admin Guide" etc. So typing the product name plus some variation of those will often yield results.

    Crafting google searches is an art.

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    jdclyde

    the INDEX is 45 pages!!!!! :0

    I was going to print just THAT off to make it easier to look things up.... wow.....

    Anyone feel like reading this and telling me what it says?

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    TonytheTiger

    NTBACKUP is better, cheaper, and faster :)

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    TonytheTiger

    BE stores media statistics... starting from either when the tape was formatted, or when it was imported.

    On the media tab, right-click on a tape and select properties. There should be a statistics tab.

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    computechdan

    several years back i began moving away from tape backups and towards hdd based back up on almost all the servers i support

    initially i used removeable ide drive bays in a workstation.

    this has worked very well for the most part, only problems where the drive bays didn't seem to last more than six months or so and workstation had to be shutdown to change the drive then restarted, which they would sometimes forget to turn it back on

    so now as clients need more capacity or as the drive bays fail i've been using this rather than replacing the drive bays or buying larger ide based drives.

    http://tinyurl.com/56eb3b

    in my area i can get these for about 60 bux at best buy when i'm in a pinch for one

    connected directly to server it eliminates one of my issues, and so far has been rock solid. they make um in usb2 or firewire and both types support 2.5 or 3.5 sata drives up to 2tb


    i put a sheet of thin plastic over the bare drive's electronics and make a couple of wraps around it with a high quality packing tape to protect against static discharge

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    jdclyde

    What kind of rotation of drives do you use?

    Do they have software that can boot off a boot disk for a baremetal restore?

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    computechdan

    the os is on a mirror the data on a raid 5

    the os drive doesn't change much if any

    most rotating three drives, one offsite at all times

    occasionally i image the servers with acronis workstation w/universal restore

    so yes i can actually restore bare metal even to new hardware and have done so several times

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    gadgetgirl

    before you even start, you MUST find out how long LEGALLY you are required to maintain records availability. That really must be your starting point - without that, you have no idea what your exact goal is.

    (In fairness, where I'm working now has to have some records available for 25 years, whereas in local government we had to comply with the seven year financial statute)

    As Shasca said, ArcServe tells you when a tape expiry is due; in current circumstances, that's a godsend...!

    Wherever I've worked, we've used the GFS tape rotation (Grandfather/father/son) system. It works, and if it ain't broke, why fix it?

    In local government, we used to buy a batch of tapes once every six months; this also covered mishaps with tapes (spilt fluids, broken casings etc) and had new blanks at various points in the organisation, including archive. When these tapes were received they were labelled with the date of purchase, numbered and stored ready.

    As far as what we did - OS and program disks along with monthly and annual tapes were stored in a 2 hours fire safe. This "tape run" was done on a monthly basis, (signed it/out) after the monthly back up was complete.

    Incremental back ups were taken on a daily basis (we also had to include weekends, due to international locations) The monthly backups were taken the first weekend after the start of the month, and the annual back up taken every New Years Eve.

    We also had a DR point in another location (hey! that was MY project!) with internet connection, pre-loaded (recycled/old) servers, enough kit for five staff, and used that for DR planning and practice. (Works a helluva lot better than a table top exercise when they can talk their way out of anything - doing it like this made them *do* instead of *talk*!!)

    DR restore at our secondary location twice a year, and proved/disproved the validity of the system.

    I have some stuff on your "stick" that'll be useful for this, but in the meantime, have a look at the DR and BC guidelines within BS7799/ISO270001. That also covers the paperwork you'll need to get in place and keep up to date to CYA.

    (Hey, I'm not gonna do it ALL for you!)

    We can talk this though (BOINGBOUNCEBOING) face to face - believe me, it'll be easier!

    (WOOHOO! Sorry, went for the space station again!)

    GG

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    jdclyde

    No one knows legally what is required. They have paper copies of transactions, and that was traditionally the only thing that was considered.

    A call to our CPA is going out, and we hope to get the legal question answered.

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    Wizard-09

    Backup exec is what I used, we did weekly, monthy and yearly backups, one year we used the tapes for. Also you may want to buy some cleaning tapes for the dat 72 tapes. Hope this helps.

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    jdclyde

    The server is under maintenance agreement, would they answer questions about this for me?

    I suppose I will hit they Symantec site tomorrow to see what kind of information they have available.

    Thanks everyone.

    jd

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    JamesRL

    We do a 7 day rotation, full backups every time.

    Most people would scratch their heads at this but there are bsuiness reasons for it. We are trying to minimize the restore process and maximize the safety. If you do an incremental, you have to worry about multiple backups being successful and readble. Full backups every day is the safest.

    We recommend to our customers that they pull one tape a month and store it offsite. Many do not. Some do after year end accounting is closed.

    We try to encourage people to replace their tapes after a year. Many people don't and we find that after the two year mark the failure rate rapidly increases.

    We are actually selling a newer technology as well: http://www.rdxstorage.com/ its a removeable HD. Much faster backups.

    James

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    jdclyde

    What is the life expectency of the drives vs tapes?

    If you got a longer life and more capacity, I could see that being a real benefit for people with large data backup needs, over a few year span, but would probably take a few years to pay for its self.

    And yes, I have always been a fan of full backups. If they run at night, why would I care if it takes one hour vs 20 minutes to run?

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    JamesRL

    We do get quite a few support calls on Backup problems, including:
    "Forgot to put tape in drive"
    "Tape out of Capacity"
    "Bad Media"

    And thats what lead us to look at alternatives. We first had the GoVault, similar technology, cartridges from 40 to 160GB. They really are just platters from a HD encased in a cartridge that go into a carrier with the HD spindle/motor/controller.

    The Go Vaults had a 1 year warranty, not sure about RDX.

    James

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    Brenton Keegan

    Maybe this has all been said in previous posts.

    However, one piece of advice I would have would be to document what you backup and when you back it up.

    Document this down as an SLA and then publish it to the organization. That way you have yourself covered. Without this you may find that your users have false expectations and they do something silly like save a bunch of important documents in an location that is not backed up. Naturally something would happen and this data would get lost. Then this user would come to you so you can recover the data and get upset when you can't restore it for him/her.

    What you backup and when you do it varies from business to business. As many have posted so far, may do some kind of nightly job (either incremental and differential) and then do a full backup on the weekend, which gets put into a safety deposit box offsite. Many have some kind of month-end backup situation. These are all common practices.

    Beyond that you might consider some mid-day non-tape drive backup. In my organization we have software developers who get their work backed up at noon. I am not sure what is left out in "Quickstart Edition", but you should be able to configure a "device" in backup exec which is just a folder. This way you can schedule BE to grab files and drop them in .bfk files in a folder somewhere. This is really only applicable if you have important data somewhere that needs to be on the local workstation. In our case it's checked-out code from a repository.

    I'd recommend keeping all backup related tasks centralized as much as possible. Try to keep all scheduled tasks managed from BE. If you have random scheduled scripts outside of BE they can very easily be lost track of. (And considering you'd have this down in an SLA, losing track of it can mean your job).

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    jdclyde

    looking around the server trying to find out where all the data is. The databases aren't that big, but the drive was showing 300 GIGS used???

    There they were, almost 300 One gig bkf files at the root directory, all dated yesterday around noon when I was having failed backups and running test backups on tapes to see if I have any that still work (I ordered a new box that should be in today/tomorrow).

    Looking at the BE settings, I can't see ANYTHING that would tell it to make these?

    Can I delete them? :0

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    Brenton Keegan

    On the BE console, go to the Devices tab, expand Device Pools -> All Devices. That's where they are defined. Again, I don't know what Quickstart edition does or doesn't have.

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    jdclyde

    When I went into the job, it was set to backup to all devices, which is the tape AND the backup to folder.

    I changed that to only point at the tape, and disabled the folder.

    So, it should be safe to kill the 270+ files filling up my hardrive? The backup files are taking up more space than I have data!

    Side note, WITH compression, the tapes only hold about 70 gigs.

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    Brenton Keegan

    Backup to a folder isn't a bad idea. I am not going to advise you to delete it simply because I am not right there looking at it. It would be foolish of me to suggest deleting a backup without really knowing what it is. You'll have to make that decision.

    The folder backup isn't a bad idea. If it's exactly the same as the tape backup it's really a convenience issue. Do you get users asking you to restore files a lot? Can you see how it would be a cumbersome task to do those kind of backups from tape? Especially considering you already told me you don't have a bar-code reader and no way to automatically catalog them.

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    jdclyde

    to make good and sure I have a valid backup.

    The problem I see is two things.

    1) dumping the backups at the root instead of in a directory

    2) not having that directory excluded from the next backup.

    I am thinking my backup failures are from exceeding the capacity of the tapes because of these backup files.

    Will then move the files, set an exception, and see what happens. after a week, I will kill them and start doing a NEW rotating and intentional disk backup as well as the tape backup.

    Thanks for all the help.

    jd

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    reisen55

    Rotation
    Weekly offsite, keep it simple.

    Daily runs of only critical data at night.
    Full if you can get away with it.
    Incremental if you need to
    Do not touch differentials EVER.

    Test restore if you have the chance.

    Media
    Tape is dead. If you have to stick with, check to see if you can increase tape size such as LTO2 to LT03 or 4. Many tape drives accept the new standards without modification.

    Hard drives are better. Best actually. One municipality cut backup time from 15 to 5 hours going from tape to drives.

    Faster restoration too!!!!!!

    Software
    Do not upgrade just because it is new. If Symantec 11 is working great and 12.5 is a new product, do not upgrade just because the new product is OUT THERE. Restoration does not give a damn about version numbers. Which is what you are backing up FOR, RIGHT?

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    Brenton Keegan

    Backup to Harddrive instead of tapes? Are you serious?

    First of all, I sure hope you are getting solid state drives. Something about moving platter based hard drives around and tossing them in bank vaults doesn't seem right to me.

    Sure, it may backup faster. But is it really all about speed? Don't get me wrong, speed is nice, but isn't it really about having a copy of company data in case of emergencies? I wouldn't want to be the guy whose hard-drive backup died.

    If you are getting solid state drives, well I hope you're loaded. A 128 GB SSD costs around 400-500 dollars. All that for a measly 128 GB. And by the way, you're going to need more than one.

    Let's assume all your data somehow fits in 128 GB, you're going to need 5 for differentials/incremental, 1 for the Full weekly. And how long do you keep the weekly tapes? Let's say you keep them around for a month. Well that's 4 more. And what about month ends? 12 months in a year, that's 12 more drives. 21 tapes in total times 400 dollars, that's nearly 5 grand. And that's if all the company data fits in 128 GB.

    Tapes on the otherhand.

    Let's say you have LTO3 system. A single loader LTO3 tape drive costs around 1,500 dollars. LTO3 tapes hold 400/800 (400 GB, 800 compressed... whole lot more likely you're going to fit all your company's data on one of those.

    LTO3 tapes are about 30 dollars each. We established you're going to need about 21 of them. 21 times 30 dollars is 630 dollars. So you're looking at somewhere around 2,000 - 2,200 dollars.

    Oh, and if your company's data grows and say the full weekly and month ends start to take two tapes, you'll need to buy more tapes, and at 30 dollar a piece, that's manageable. But I'm sure whatever big C you need to report to is going to love to hear that you need to spend money on a handful of new HDs costing 400 dollars each.

    If you're not actually getting solid state and cheap platter drives... we'll that's just foolish. I don't like to play Russian roulette with my job.

    Tapes are around for a reason. Doesn't matter how fast the backup is if it failed.

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    reisen55

    I do not back up once to one media, but twice to two separate sets of media and keep one offsite. I also test restore my servers and, believe it or not, I have several accounts wherein I can restore a server in 10 minutes from total crash to working fine.

    Also I know a little tiny bit about data restoration. Before you get on your high horse here.

    101st floor, South Tower, World Trade Center.
    System admin for Aon Consulting.
    So maybe I kinda know something here.

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    Brenton Keegan

    You didn't mention HDD as a secondary backup. I was under the impression that you were suggesting platter based hard drives as primary backup... and to be honest I don't think it's a good idea.

    Having that as a secondary option isn't a bad idea.

    SSD drives are bound to come down in price. When this happens I think it would be a lot more practical to use them for backups like tapes are being used now.