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Advice needed on implementing a simple backup solution

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December 7, 2006 7:49:31 AM

Hi guys

I work for a small company with only a few employees and about ten PC's on a peer-to-peer network. We don't have a proper network server, just a PC that acts as a file server that contains stuff like the main customer database, invoice files etc.

The thing is that at the moment all I do is back up this PC to a 40Gb tape drive every evening. I've never really been too happy about this as restoring files takes ages and I've never had reason to actually do a system restore so I've no way of knowing whether in the event of a total loss my backups would be restorable - it's a bit of a concern. I'm in charge of the PC's, but only as a secondary part to my job which is really as a printer tech support manager.

What would you guys suggest? Bear in mind that my boss doesn't like spending money on stuff (even if it's important like this :roll: ) so whatever solution I use needs to be fairly inexpensive. Oh, and did I mention the file server PC is running Windows NT 4.0 Server :lol:  Don't worry, I know the whole machine needs an upgrade and I'm working on that, but I'd like to upgrade it with a suitable backup system already in place, so I'm thinking RAID 1 and some kind of external removeable storage and system restore device...?

Many thanks

Graham
December 7, 2006 8:54:52 AM

RAID1 is a good solution for your needs, but remember that as it's running concurrently, it cna be corrupted, whereas the tapes, although slow, allow you to maintain a grandfathered archive of backups. If you install RAID1, then you could relegate the tapes to perhaps a weekly function.

Another option to augment your RAID1, retire your tape drive, and speed up the backup process, would be to also install an additional clone drive. This drive would contain several partitions for grandfathered clones. If you set up this drive on a separate controller, then you can disabled that controller in BIOS, so that the drive doesn't operate concurrently, and can't be corrupted. As secure as a tape on the shelf, you would enabled only to clone, restore, or grab inadvertently deleted files.

Hope this helps.
December 7, 2006 9:08:43 AM

Quote:
RAID1 is a good solution for your needs, but remember that as it's running concurrently, it cna be corrupted, whereas the tapes, although slow, allow you to maintain a grandfathered archive of backups. If you install RAID1, then you could relegate the tapes to perhaps a weekly function.

Another option to augment your RAID1, retire your tape drive, and speed up the backup process, would be to also install an additional clone drive. This drive would contain several partitions for grandfathered clones. If you set up this drive on a separate controller, then you can disabled that controller in BIOS, so that the drive doesn't operate concurrently, and can't be corrupted. As secure as a tape on the shelf, you would enabled only to clone, restore, or grab inadvertently deleted files.

Hope this helps.


Thanks for that :)  Yes I know RAID1 is really a hardware redundancy solution rather than a data backup, that's fine.

With the clone drive, would that be a manual process? Ie, activate the controller, copy the whole main hard drive to say partition A, then deactivate the controller. Next day, reactivate the controller, copy the whole main hard drive to partition B, then deactivate the controller etc? You would need a monster clone drive to make enough sufficiently sized partitions to operate this way on a 5 day rotation!

Thanks

Graham
December 7, 2006 9:13:27 AM

Yes, you're exactly correct, it's a manual operation, but it's quick and painless. Fortunately, monster drives are quite reasonably affordable now.
!