Looking for ideas for Backups

By 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.


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All Answers

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We were always taught

by neilb@uk In reply to Looking for ideas for Bac ...

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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7 years?

by jdclyde In reply to We were always taught

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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Not an answer that's going to help you

by neilb@uk In reply to 7 years?

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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Recover from a crash

by CG IT In reply to 7 years?

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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by jdclyde In reply to Recover from a crash

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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lol Terminal Servers are easy JD

by CG IT In reply to ugh

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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Another "gotcha" about old data

by jdclyde In reply to lol Terminal Servers are ...

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


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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Well you COULD

by TonytheTiger In reply to Another "gotcha" about ol ...

just robocopy straight to external hard drives :)

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Server Clone...

by Brenton Keegan In reply to lol Terminal Servers are ...

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:

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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Backup software in use

by jdclyde In reply to Looking for ideas for Bac ...

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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