Looking for a better backup solution

We have an inadequate backup regime, and are looking for suggestions on how to improve it...

I work for a small company (25 people). We run a daily differential backup of file servers and database servers to a 1Tb Buffalo NAS device. We do a full backup at the weekend. The NAS is set up as 4 spanned 250gb drives, giving 1Tb total capacity.

We backup about 300Gb each day, and retain 3 days "live" data on the NAS - so the full backup is about 900Gb. The data is 50% large database backups, and 50% file server data (about 80,000 files).

For off-site backup we use a 1Tb SATA drive in a SATA-USB drive cradle, and connect it directly to the NAS. We do a full backup every weekend.

The problem is that the full backups (from NAS to the directly-connected USB drive cradle) are now taking several days to complete, and are regularly failing. This is why I need a new backup solution.

My gut feeling is that it's not the volume of data that is the primary problem, but the number of files (240,000 altogether). With this in mind, I'm looking for a way of doing the full backup via an image copy, rather than a file-based operation.

My current thinking is:
- Use a single 1Tb drive for the daily differential backups and weekend full backups
- Continue to use a 1Tb USB drive for the weekly full off-site backup
- Use image copies to do the full backups to the external drive (e.g. using Ghost?)

Does this sound sensible? Is it possible to do Ghost image copies to USB drives? Does anyone have any better ideas?
8 answers Last reply
More about looking backup solution
  1. That all sounds a good idea to me.

    Only other thing I would do is build a nice server machine for the office. Buy (or build) a budget machine and with the price of drives falling day by day, you could purchase 4-6 1TB drives and have them running in raid for extra security.

    You could use this computer then just for backup, or to hold the live files and backup?

    Depends what you want to do and if you want to spend money. Personally I love building computers so that my answer to everything. But if you don't want to go down that route, what you're talking about doing sounds fine to me :).
  2. If you're using a external usb drive, it's going to take a while to copy 900gb, no matter what. Get an esata drive, and a NAS with esata port. That will probably be the best way to improve copy times.
  3. I also like the idea of a separate backup system. With a couple eSata drives (forget the USB), I wouldn't think copy times would be as much of an issue, and you could just swap them out for your offsite. Even a budget machine would be more than adequate for this purpose.

    If you want to do it the hard way, an alternative to ghost might be to script some sort of fast file compression (gzip, 7zip, etc..) for the server data to consolidate the thousands of files into a few larger ones (and maybe save a little space while you're at it). Doing a trial run and copy to the external would at least give you some data to support your conclusion that it's the number of files rather than size.
  4. +1 for the eSATA, you can probably cut your copy time by close to half this way.
  5. If your 1TB NAS is failing I would back it up ASAP. If a spanned volume fails data is still very difficult to recover.
  6. For an affordable real time solution I would suggest Carbonite.Com - It is fully encrypted backup solution that is economical and kept by a real It backed professional storage site. The down side is that it takes a while for the initial backup. The upside is that you can store as much as you like or need for one computer and all directly attached storage for $55 a year and you have total access to things down to a single file. It is a fully automated solution perfect for the individual or small business... as long as you have a high speed internet connection.
  7. I think ExtremeCopy can help you if you have to copy huge files , it copy files so much fast
  8. eSATA definatly the way to go, have a look at the Sans eSATA enclosure:
    •Maximum Capacity: 7.5TB
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