Advise me on a good backup solution

Here is my situation:

I work for a medium sized business with eight locations spread across as many states. I need a comprehensive backup solution for both personal desktops and servers in each location that is reliable and doesn't require constant supervision.

We have so far tried external hard drives in every office. Each office has two, and I've tried arranging it so that there is a separate windows backup job for each drive. The drives are connected to one of the computers in each office and shared so every machine can see the drives. This method has proven notoriously unreliable. Even using a third party backup program (FBackup in this case) I simply cannot trust it to work every time.

I'm currently running a free trial of carbonite and I do not like what I see so far. A couple of my users have had their initial backup stall mid-way, and it simply won't resume no matter what I do.

I am really getting to the end of my rope here. I need a backup solution that backs up data off-site, runs reliably, runs automatically, and that I can trust to actually run when I have it scheduled to.
7 answers Last reply
More about advise good backup solution
  1. I've worked with and have deployed many, many different backup solutions in my time, and the most reliable that I've come by so far is Avamar by EMC. It just plain works, and there's a high probability that you won't need a backup solution in each location due to the extreme de-dupe offered via variable block length deduplication.
    Admittedly, I work for a re-seller of many backup applications, but between Netbackup, Commvault and Avamar, Avamar is king.

    Shameless plug: is my company. If you want more info for sales, you can start there. Otherwise here's the EMC site:
    There is a Virtual Appliance that you can try for free for 60 or 90 days as well.
  2. - 50gb free online storage.. and its forever free.
    other then that usb flash drives are pretty redundant.

    These are the ceapest ways of backing up your data.

    Other more expensive solutions include RAID configurations and such.
  3. You know, what would really work well, is if we had a simple NAS for each office that had a hot swappable hard drive in it that got mirrored to the NAS's internal drive, and someone could take that home every night. I don't know why someone hasn't thought of this before.

    External hard drives have simply proven unreliable, especially when it comes to having two drives being switched out on a regular basis and getting the backup software to get along well with that situation. Well, that and having every machine in the office backup over the network to an external drive attached to one of the computers. That seems to work whenever it feels like working rather than when it's told to.
  4. Sounds like you need a file server, or actually a NAS would do.
    With Windows server it will manage backing up each workstation to the server. With a NAS you could put batch files and scheduled events in each computer to backup to the NAS.
    Then the person that manages the backups could backup the entire NAS to their own external drive and take it home. External drives should work fine if you have one person managing them and if he can backup only from the server (or NAS) to the external drive.
  5. How big is your medium-size business? I think you are confusing medium with small size businesses. Do you have around 200-500 employees?

    I've never seen any professional business rely on external hard drives for backups especailly for multiple locations; isn't that what you would use in a home environement or a small business? However, I've seen small/medium companies use NAS for backups.

    Larger companies would use Dell Tape Autoloaders with LTO5 tape capabilities for backups across multiple sites. Symantec BackupExec or similar software would be used to control & schedule the backups. Also, many large comparies are moving towards SAN and virtualization.
  6. aylafan said:
    How big is your medium-size business? I think you are confusing medium with small size businesses. Do you have around 200-500 employees?

    We are a small engineering office with a max. of 9 employees. We use a Linux server for our data files and we don't have anything other than email on our local workstations that we worry about backing up. We used to use DAT for our backups and we rotated the tapes out daily, but we had no confidence in the DAT hardware/software. On one occasion we had to retrieve something and it worked, but we also got frequent error messages while writing tapes. Plus the tapes are relatively expensive. One day we realized that we could buy external hard drives for our backups for a lot less than we were spending on tapes, and we had more confidence in them so we switched to that. We have 2 large capacity drives that we rotate out of the office. Also we have 2 workstations in the office that we backup the server to daily. So at any given time our data will reside on 4 hard drives in our office and 1 hard drive outside of our office. We've generated 300GB of data in 10 years of operation so it isn't too hard to back up that much.
  7. Check out Dynamic Vault, They offer off-site encrypted backups with multiple keys and turn-key DR services.
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