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Help choosing a backup solution

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June 30, 2010 2:57:28 PM

Hello everyone, I am very new to Disaster recovery and backup solutions, so any help would be appreciated. I am purchasing (2) Servers to run Hyper-V. In total I plan on have 8 virtual servers running across the 2 machines. Each server will have a raid 5 configured with (3) 600gb hard drives. Realistically though, I plan on having 500gb full backups with 100gb dailies. I will also have a 3rd server who's role is simply to backup the 2 virtual servers to media.

So my question is what solution should I go with? There are many options like tape, hard drive, cloud, and I am having trouble figuring out what would be best suited to my needs.

My budget is approximately $4K, and any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

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a c 415 G Storage
June 30, 2010 4:15:26 PM
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Backup is a very complex subject - there are a lot of options and what's best for the goose is not necessarily best for the gander.

The most important things you need to do no matter which solution you choose are (1) make sure you have at least two different backups on two different media, and (2) store at least one of them offsite. Depending on the cost of re-entering data, it doesn't matter so much whether the two copies are of the same backup or are backups taken on different days, but you need a "Plan B" if you try to restore and you find that one of your backups is no good.

You need to think about not only how much data you back up each day / week, but also what kind of retention period you need for your backups. Are you going to keep the full backups for just a couple of weeks or keep a whole year's worth? (Note - never back up to the disk that holds the latest backup - you need to at least alternate between two different discs). You can keep backup media costs low while having long retention time if you stagger the retention periods - for example you could keep weekly backups for a month and monthly backups for a year.

If you're planning on being able to recover from a disaster that takes out your business location (fire, for example) then cloud storage is really convenient because you can easily access your data from anywhere. But IMHO you shouldn't trust all your data to just one backup vendor - the "two copies" rule means you should have backups with two vendors just in case one is having problems when you need to recover or (heaven forbid that this could happen to an Internet company) go out of business.

The big downside to cloud storage is likely to be the cost to store the backup volumes you'll need with two vendors and the Internet capacity to transfer terabytes of data every week.

Tape drives used to be the only alternative for large volumes of data, but disks have now become so cheap that they're a real contender, IMHO. There's still a big perception that tapes are somehow less likely to fail than disks, but my experience with tapes (all the way from ancient 9-track drives to modern LTO ones) taught me that they have issues too. Unlike disks, the tape actually rubs against the read/write heads as it moves and this causes wear and head contamination which translates into regular maintenance requirements and problems from time to time. Any media can fail - that's why you need two copies of your backups.

So I'd seriously consider using disks for the job. They're easier to use than tape although they may not be as fast (depending on what kind of disk you buy and what kind of connection it uses). If you ensure the drives you use have offloading ramps to park the heads, then the drives are pretty robust when they're powered off. The biggest danger is yanking them out of the system before they've had a chance to spin down.
November 15, 2010 7:18:16 AM

A lot depends on whether you are looking to have offsite copies of your data for Disaster Recovery. Also, the kind of receovery times you are looking to have will have to be a consideration.
Tapes provide an easy way to send data offsite at regular time intervals. For servers that require quicker recovery(of files and folders OR the whole machine), you can consider having a local Disk backup.
For backup software, you can look at our ARCserve Backup product that can meet your needs for tape backups and the ARCserve D2D product that allows disk backups.
ARCserve Backup includes Deduplication that can save disk space by backing up only changed blocks of data. ARCserve also has an Agent for Virtual Machines that can restore individual files from an Image based backup of Hyper-V Virtual Machines. This agent is also available on per Host licensing.
ARCserve D2D provide an Image based disk bakup software that can take Incremental backups to Disk. It uses a patent pending technology called infinite Incrementals which allows you to automatically merge the first Incremental with the initial full backup. This means that you do not have to take another full backup. Also, ARCserve D2D allows bare metal recovery to dissimilar hardware.

Here is a link to the ARCserve site for a free 30 day trial of our software: http://www.arcserve.com/us/default.aspx

Let me know in case you need somthing.
Regards,
Arun
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November 26, 2010 11:30:02 AM

Best answer selected by mikegeig.
October 20, 2012 5:46:55 PM

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