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Small-Office Windows Based Backup Software?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the small-scale-disaster-recovery dept.

Data Storage 136

Billhead asks: "My boss purchased a Quantum SDLT220 tape backup drive for our few computers in the office, and I have been put in charge of maintaining the backups. The only prior backup experience I have is with my home networks using Python scripts. We don't have any special needs, just encryption and scheduling. Our original backup software isn't compatible with the SDLT220, and other backup software we have tried have been horrible (unable to decrypt backups, memory leaks, unstable network backups). What does the Slashdot community use for small office backups?"

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EMC/Legato Networker (2, Informative)

skroz (7870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17465966)

I've been using Legato (now EMC) Networker at a number of different sites for over ten years now. It's easy, reliable, and supports a wide range of hardware. It scales well, but can get quite expensive when you start adding large autoloaders into the mix.

Their site [] should get you started. They'll set you up with a media kit and 45 day demo licenses if you request one.

Re:EMC/Legato Networker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17466074)

I have Networker 7.3 and really like it other than one problem which is a PITA. I have an autoloader, and haven't had any issue backing up to tape. But I am using Legato to back up to hard drive first, with a specific amount of space it is supposed to take up before offloading old data to the tapes. The program keeps filling up the hard drive and seems to ignore any policies for when/if to backup to tape. I've worked with EMC support, which includes some really stupid people who keep trying to apply patches to fix the problem, without giving any hint that they actually know what they are doing. Other than that major problem, I've found Networker to be a very powerful yet easy to use product.

Re:EMC/Legato Networker (1)

skroz (7870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17467392)

Sounds like a problem with your staging policy. Make sure the stage itself is enabled and make sure the destination pool is correct. Does manual staging work?

Slashdot isn't really a networker support forum... feel free to email me at skroz at skroz dot net, if you'd like.

Re:EMC/Legato Networker (1)

Dadoo (899435) | more than 7 years ago | (#17468982)

I've been using Legato (now EMC) Networker at a number of different sites for over ten years now.

Not that my opinion means anything, but I'm surprised to hear anyone say that about Legato, especially 10 years ago. I used to work for a Unix VAR and, when we discovered it, we tried to sell it to 3 or 4 customers. They were so annoyed by it, every one of them insisted we replace it. I wrote shell scripts (using tar) for them and they've been happy ever since.

I suppose the Windows version could be significantly different from the Unix version, but I'd be surprised if that was the case.

Re:EMC/Legato Networker (1)

skroz (7870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17469018)

Actually, the windows version is annoying, clunky, and makes my head hurt. I prefer the UNIX (and now Linux) versions because so much can be done from the command line when necessary. With Networker on UNIX, you can just use wrapper scripts around the basic commands if the GUI doesn't work for you. For large or complex recoveries, CLI is really the best way to go, anyway.

Gonna sound horrible, but... (1, Insightful)

reklusband (862215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466010)

I'm fond of Veritas/Symantec for windows based backups. A pain to initially configure, but the support has gotten MUCH better and it's pretty flexible about what media you can backup to and from. It's been pretty good to me for disaster recovery and it's easy to set up media rotation (which is a very important thing to a small business owner that doesn't want to go crazy creating and maintaining media libraries.

Re:Gonna sound horrible, but... (1)

wizzard2k (979669) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466242)

I like Backup Exec as well.
Setting up job policy templates is very scalable, so while it may seem overkill for backing up one server, adding 2-100 servers is very easy, not only to set up, but to maintain.
It has pretty good media management, including customizeable "vaults" (say, if you send your tapes offsite every once in a while).
It can produce numerous reports, giving you an idea of how its doing, or what it might run into in the future.
Also, its not terribly expensive for being an enterprise class product. Their support has been well worth it as well.
Restoring is a breeze, especially if you have an autoloader. (10min if the tape is in the changer somewhere).

Re:Gonna sound horrible, but... (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 7 years ago | (#17469430)

Templates are great, but you'll run into bug after bug after bug as soon as you try a job with the slightest complexity. Go ahead, call tech support. The first thing they'll recommend is that you set up the jobs manually. It only takes an hour or two to convince them that the templates are one of the only decent features their horrible product has, for all the good that'll do you; more than likely, you'll just end up finding out exactly how patient you are.

Re:Gonna sound horrible, but... (1)

RazzleDazzle (442937) | more than 7 years ago | (#17472602)

You are paying for each server you install the backup agent on right? No? The bsa would like to have a word with you.

Re:Gonna sound horrible, but... (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 7 years ago | (#17469398)

Funny, I've had the exact opposite experience. The agent crashes if you use timestamp-based incremental backups on x64 machines. The problem existed in 10d also. It was a known issue, yet it took roughly 16 hours with support which achieved absolutely nothing except me having to find a place for a few terabytes of storage when they refused to help me further unless I wiped my backup store, and that was only acknowledged when I narrowed the problem down myself with god only knows how many more hours of shotgun testing and then spent another 4 hours over as many phone calls in two days refusing to speak with anyone but an engineer or someone who knew what the problem was. The engineer told me they were pretty sure they fixed it in 11, I was on 10 at the time, but when I went to download 11 their licensing site was screwed up for over a week and the only answer I could get is them telling me to wait. Running multiple simultaneous jobs means crippling fragmentation, a problem they fixed with a patch and registy hack in 10d, that's come right back in 11, no pre-alloc patch yet. It performs horrily if you have more than 100 or so backup-to-disk files, so I cant make them small enough to fit on a DVD if I wanted to back up particular files semi-permanently without restoring them to a redirected folder and re-backing them up to a separate backup-to-disk folder that I can size differently. The DLO agent cripples performance, uses double disk-space for any files you want to back up, blue-screens Windows when random files are backed up or restored, interferes with 16-bit apps (yeah, I know, but it's a business and there's no choice) by locking the 16-bit subsystem, and now for added fun in 11 the program itself crashes too.

There's more, but that's all I can think of now. And yes, this is the official position of my employer, in as much as I'm invested to speak for them as the sole network admin, which is probably not at all. Basically, this and every other piece of Symantec software I've ever had the displeasure of dealing with is the worst piece of trash I've ever seen. I will never willingly buy so much as a wallpaper from them as long as I live, nor will any company I work for unless they want to see me looking for another job ASAP. My current employer I don't blame, since this shit was recommended by my idiot predecessor, but as soon as the maintenance contracts (HA! WHAT A JOKE!) expire and I can justify buying something else, we're off their backup, their shit virus scanner, and any other lumps I find. Bah!

Re:Gonna sound horrible, but... (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 7 years ago | (#17469524)

BTW, no, the x64 problem is not fixed in 11.

Oh, and 2003 remote agent installs STILL isn't supported. It works about half the time, the other half it fails with auth errors even when I got frustrated and tried installing it with the Enterprise Admin account and I've gone over every scrap of domain and local policy on these machines personally. Who the fuck knows why it doesn't work? Symantec tech support certainly doesn't, and that doesn't seem to bother them much either.

I love my job, every last user that forgets their password every day, even the ones that have a mystical talent for breaking their machines, but GOD I HATE THIS FUCKING SOFTWARE. It is single-handedly responsible for me coming home stressed-out after a 14-hour day because the god-damn backups are fucked up again! Aargh!

What kind of backups will you be doing? (4, Informative)

graphicartist82 (462767) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466014)

I don't really have a comment on which software to use for Small Office Backups, but we use CommVault QiNetix and we are very happy with it. But, we use a fibre attached SpectaLogic T50 which is way overkill for a small office setup. One of the questions you need to answer is this:
  • Will you be doing backups for disaster recovery? Meaning, you won't really worry about keeping data for long periods of time as long as you have a good backup for a month or so?
  • Or will you be doing backups for file restoration? Will you be needing to always recover that MS Excel document that Sally from accounting deleted 6 months ago?
Once you have that question answered, search for a backup software that fits your needs. You may look into CommVault, i'm not sure how it's priced for the regular consumer market (we're a .edu).

Acronis... (3, Informative)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466048)

Since big hard drives are relatively cheap, rotating external hard drives and using Acronis [] might do the trick.

Re:Acronis... (1)

Jhon (241832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466564)

And a nice hot fire will destroy your data. Any backup solution should consider periodic off-site storage of media.

Until they roll out cheap 40+ gig solid state media, I'm sticking with tape. It's easy to move and I wont faint if it's dropped.

Re:Acronis... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17467560)

didnt the poster say rotate them out ? I assumed he meant offsite. thats what we do.
tape sucks so bad. load times, backup times, restore times...who has the frickin time for it ?

Re:Acronis... (1)

Jhon (241832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17468216)

And *I* made a comment about dropping them. You drop a mechanical drive and don't be surprised if your data goes bye-bye. It would certainly be an additional measure -- but for regular transport to off-site storage, tape is the way to go. Tiny, light and resistant to bumps and drops -- which happen during transport.

As for who has the time? You swap the tape out in the morning -- takes all of about 20 seconds. Backup runs whenever (evening, morning, whenever you script it to run). Next morning, you take ANOTHER 20 seconds and swap the next tape. Takes an additional few seconds to drop in the transport bin for off-site storage -- or drop in your pocket to take home.

Yes, restores will take longer than USB 2.0 or firewire. So what? If your backup plan also includes in-house off-server storage (such as a backup file server or something), you restore from that. The only time you would need to recover from tape would be due to a catastrophe (the whole data center burns to the ground leaving ash and slag).

Re:Acronis... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17468694)

And *I* made a comment about dropping them. You drop a mechanical drive and don't be surprised if your data goes bye-bye.

That's why you need foam-cushioned cases to transport the drives in. Whatever backup media is selected, a certain amount of care will be need to protect that media. Even solid state media is no good if you step on it.

Re:Acronis... (1)

Jhon (241832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17471154)

And you really think it's more convienient to disconnect a drive and place the drive in a foam cushioned case for off-site transportation? That this is a practical off-site data solution? That it would be practical to handle daily backups? That the daily connection/disconnection of USB or firewire hardware is healthy for a production server? More convienient than say... droping a tape in a transport bin? Ok... if it works for you, go for it.

I'll have my people take 20 or 30 seconds a day to swap tapes and otherwise leave the server alone. One tape drive + a dozen tapes is a better solution than a dozen portable USB HDs. Unless you are suggesting only one or two HDs? Then you lose HISTORY. You cant restore past the most recent backup.

Re:Acronis... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17473084)

It depends on your requirement. For a small business, external drives might work. If you want to be anal retentative, having a tape for every minute of the day might work as well. ;P

External HDD (3, Interesting)

Daemonstar (84116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466082)

Most of the small setups I've done have a RAID for storage and an external HDD for backup. In my experience, most tape drives are slow, cumbersome and expensive. These days, a big external HDD is cheaper and a lot easier to work with on today's OS's. Agreed, this solution may not be what works best with older OS's (we have an old IBM AIX machine here that houses our main software, ick).

Windows-run servers are easy; most external HDD come with backup software. On the last one I did, the external HDD (Seagate, I think) came with the "one touch" feature. I just set the software to backup a specific shared folder (small workgroup, public storage; it's for a small newspaper), and all the lady has to do is bring the drive in, plug it in and push the button.

A *NX solution I used before was to write a simple shell script to mount an external HDD and tar.gz the appropriate directories to it for that day. The script can either be run manually or set up in cron.

But, all-in-all, research and experience is the best tool in finding what works best for your solution. I just don't like tapes. :)

Re:External HDD (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466912)

You use *an* external HDD for backup? As in *1* device. A decent grandfather-father-son backup system needs 25 devices!!! What happens if Joe User comes and says he wants a file he deleted 6 months ago? What happens when you drop the drive?

Tapes are much smaller & far more robust! They're not cheap, but neither is losing 100s of man hours of work due to a fire etc.

p.s. Most (all?) OS's come with tape backup software included, and have done a long time...

Re:External HDD (1)

Daemonstar (84116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17467378)

Um, yes; maybe 2, depending on what the client wants. Decent tape drives cost 6-7x as much as an external HDD, not to mention the endless supply of tapes you'll be buying each month to replace monthly (or however) archived or worn out tapes. Depending on the amount of data backed up, you can store several months worth to a single HDD (backing up essential data, not making snapshots every week or month). You can always "archive" the drive and put in a new one every so often. Replacing the HDD in the external case (USB2.0 or external SATA) is cheaper than buying tapes, and they're readily available if you need one. You can also pull the information off from just about any workstation and aren't limited to the one with the tape drive.

Re:External HDD (1)

gregmac (629064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17468878)

That's what we do, using rsync and hardlinks to make differential backups. It takes up much less space - eg, if you do daily backups and keep two weeks worth, it takes up 100% of the original space plus whatever data has changed during in the 14 days. The best part about that method is that it's simple to restore. I don't know if you've ever tried to restore from tapes - especially when you're doing incremental backups - but it's not the funnest thing to do. Restoring from the hard drive is simple, because you just have to copy files. It's trivial to restore that file that Bob in accounting deleted last week and just realized it today.

I think if you wanted to keep monthly archives forever, using hard drives would get expensive. It might make sense to use a tape drive to do a full backup on a monthly basis, and use the hard drive for regularly-performed short-term backups.

rsnapshot does this for you (1)

anomaly (15035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17472400)

You might want to take a look at rsnapshot - perl+rsync gives you hourly, daily, weekly, monthly snapshots - really cool, and simple to set up.

Recovery is quite simple, too.

Re:External HDD (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17467546)

A decent grandfather-father-son backup system needs 25 devices!!!
Which most lay people will hear as "It's way too expensive and too much trouble; don't even bother". A less-than-ideal backup system that gets used is much better than an according-to-Hoyle setup that's too complicated for the users.

Re:External HDD (1)

Steinfiend (700505) | more than 7 years ago | (#17469096)

What happens if Joe User comes to me and says he wants that file he deleted 6 months ago? I tell him if he wanted it, he shouldn't have deleted it. I'm not sure about other companies, but the amount of crap created every day in my organization would take a truck load of tapes to archive. If something is important it gets put in a specific group of network shares which get archived, everything else is under a daily backup schedule, with a retention of 1 month.

I too use a HDD backup system, although with more than 1 device, and with off-site storage. I've had one HDD go bad on me, but luckily, thanks to my daily backups, I didn't lose any data. We used to use tapes but when our data footprint exceeded the capacity of a tape, it became exponentially harder to maintain. I've now tripled my daily backup size in less than 6 months, without having to change process or (forget to) swap tapes, mid-backup.

Re:External HDD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17467548)

The above poster is going the direction I'd recommened--simple disk-to-disk backup.

I'd offer a few other tips:
* Make sure you know where all the data you need to back up is located. I'd recommened building a centralized fileserver (such as FreeNAS, et al.), and training users to put all their data on a shared device.
* Chase down gremlins like local email data & bookmarks.
* build a disk-to-disk backup scheme that the process owner understands. I've used KarenWare's Replicator, due to its simplicity.
* Make sure you know what you're safeguarding against: accidental deletion? disaster recovery? hardware failure? Those are different goals with different strategies.
* What out for any gotchas (like Quickbooks files on samba servers).
* I still haven't found a GREAT backup software program. Try a bunch, keep what you like.
* I've never liked tape. I'm glad disks are big now!
* There are three different things to "back up": OS, apps, and data. Worry about the data, know how to reinstall OS & apps. Keep keys, install media, and install instructions printed out on hardcopy.

Tapes still have a place (1)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17470492)

Billhead already has a tape drive, so he might as well use it.

I personally like tapes for a number of reasons. Yes, the drives are expensive. But for small business to enterprise level hardware, the drives aren't more expensive than RAID hardware of comparable quality. Also, the cost of adding media is better with tape.

Mean-time-to-failure is better & having data segmented across several tapes is nice--if one tape fails, you should still have a backup on another tape. It is rare that that other tape would also fail. Separating the read/write mechanism from the media does improve reliability.

Also, tapes are fairly small & rugged & lend themselves to transport (to keep backups offsite, for instance).

I also disagree with your specific recommendation for hard drive backups. What you describe amounts to little more than a clunky mirroring, which is not what backups should be. Backups should be zero-touch (automated/cronned)! OP also wants network backup solution.

HDDs can be used to perform networked backups daily (and can be used to store multiple full and incremental backups, rather than a one-time mirror). They can even be put in an array to improve reliability and loaded on trays to make swapping almost as easy as tapes. But this requires the same kind of backup software that the OP is asking about. It also doesn't really solve the incremental media cost or mechanical durability issues.

Images (2, Interesting)

RancidPickle (160946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466124)

I have a group that uses an old disk imaging software set (Ghost Corp 7) to dump client disks to a server every weekend, then they dump the files to tape. If you have access to an imaging software product like Ghost Corp 7 (the Symantec abominations suck), I'd suggest setting up an older server as the backup system (and include the tape drive), then dump the clients and your main server to the backup server. Leave the images on the backup server HDD for fast restores, and use the tapes for offsite backups. This system has worked quite well for a couple of years.

Re:Images (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17467034)

> (the Symantec abominations suck)

I'm not a fan of the Norton CPU Tax, but LiveState is actually pretty decent.

Re:Images (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17468028)

That's too much trouble (and cost) to go through for a small business owner: a dedicated server, a tape drive, tape changing, etc.

Remember, on small scale (i.e. non-edu, non-1k+ employees) tapes REALLY SUCK.

External hard disks is what she needs. On or off-site.

Re:Images (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17470476)

wow - tapes suck for a small scale non-1k+ employee firm. Most of wasted all that money on that fancy tape library - but the robotic arm is just so cool. Guess I need to go out and find that large hardrive to backup my stuff with - I feel real comfortable storing my 250+ TB of data on removable drive, now just need to find a 250 TB hardrive, they have that right?

Serously - the orignal post indicated that they just bought a tape drive and have it available - suggesting not to use it is a terrible idea. SDLT is a very stable tape platform. You just need a decent backup program to manage it. Backup exec is actually a good product on sub terabyte of data which most small companies are under. We might be an unusual exception where we average a terabyte or so of data per employee and with 200 of them we have lots to backup. Under 100 GB of data drives may be a half decent idea for a backup media but it is not worth it, a single drop and it is gone, no more, but a tape will survive just about anything, even socking in an inch of water tapes once dried work as expected, don't think a hardrive would survive that.

There is definatly a cost point where even the more expensive tape drive makes sense over multiple hardrives. I am amazed at the number of vendors that try to convince us it would be cheaper to backup to drives then tape. But at 250+TB of data copying that to disk is extremly expensive, not only we are talking about the physical cost of drives, but the power and A/C to cool it all. I've even asked them to run the numbers and prove me wrong and for anything over a few terabyte of data tapes will be cheaper if you are running proper rotation of your media so that you have a couple copies of your data going back to what ever your retention policy is. Drives are not a good idea. The orginal poster has a tape drive available and should use it.

A solid backup system is important - to go cheap and use some half backed software to run is just asking for trouble - use a supported product one that has a company that you can get a service contract with because you will have issues but better to have issues with something you know you can call someone else up and get help on then something you will have to hope and pray that someone may answer on a forum. You want support - without it you are dead when it does not work and it is all a waste of time anything that you do. If your data is critical for the company to run back it up - it should be obvious that this is one area you do not want to save a buck on.

hard drives are just plain bad

Script It! Just use tar and gzip (2, Interesting)

pahoran (893196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466234)

I used tar and gzip glued together with command line PHP to manage a tape library. Worked fine for years.

Re:Script It! Just use tar and gzip (1)

youngerpants (255314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466292)

Do you have a copy of the script? I could do with that for the server I'm building right now.

Re:Script It! Just use tar and gzip (1)

pahoran (893196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17472134)

I don't have it anymore as I don't work there anymore. It wasn't very many lines. The heavy lifting was done by tar, gzip, and mt. The only thing the backup script did was save tgz files to a hard drive (for quick recovery purposes if something lost something within a week) and then copy those tgz files to the tapes. You can usually get away with a simple setup like that in a small company.

Re:Script It! Just use tar and gzip (1)

darkonc (47285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17467988)

Earlier versions of the Legato software (Then Veritas) were actually little more than front ends for a tar backup process. If the system was completely toasted and the Veritas software was unavailable you could just use tar to extract critical data (presuming that the tape didn't hold interleaved backups).

I wouldn't be surprised if it continues to be that way now.

The important thing that Legato provides is a reasonably well designed database / tracking system so that you can get the proper tape to the tape drive when you want to restore Karen's source code from 18 months ago.

Intel SS4000-E Entry Storage System (1)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466290)

This [] is the slickest automatic backup system you can possibly imagine for a small Windows or Linux network. Reasonably cheap, RAID 5 if you want it, and it even runs on Linux!

Re:Intel SS4000-E Entry Storage System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17467250)

I just setup one of those for a small business. Word of advice, start drinking early.

Retrospect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17466342)

I've used BackupExec for everything at several different jobs, and it is nice, but probably overkill (and super expensive) for what you are doing.

If you don't have any real servers and you are just backing up files, you might want to check out Retrospect (now part of EMC, I think). I used this quite a bit way back when it was primarily a Mac product, but I've also used it in a Windows environment and it was far easier to use than most other backup products. From looking at EMC's site, they seem to offer quite a few different versions, but I think there is still a fairly cheap "Pro" version if you just want to backup files from a couple of desktops.

Of course, a lot of this will depend upon what OS your machines are running, and if you need to back up any specialized server apps (db, mail, etc).

here's a link to the main site []

Another vote for:Retrospect (1)

klubar (591384) | more than 7 years ago | (#17472366)

We use retrospect and an 8 slot dds-4 tape library. The tape library is nice, in that we can use 3 slots for a full weekly offsite (rotated every Monday) and two slots for a Monday incrementatl set and a wednesday incremental set. We keep the incrementals forever so we could recove a 6 month (or 6 year) old file. We supplement this with a Retrospect duplicate to a hard drive (everyday) and backup duplicate to an external drive (every other day) + a three-week harddirve incremental set. The hard drive duplicates are useful if someone walks in a says that they deleted a file that they were working on today. We can get yesterday's version back instantly.

Interestingly, we run retrospect on a mac--mostly because I inherited the setup and we're backing up a SAMBA server running on a mac. This way we backup the (damn) resource forks. However, retro on the mac doesn't deal well with the registry.

Hard to use, bad, bad UI but solid. I'd vote for Retrospect for the 100 employee company.

What is this tape you speak of? (1)

geekmansworld (950281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466362)

I use tape for wrapping gifts.

Out small office uses a combination of Pocketec [] portable USB hard drives and a simple but powerful little piece of shareware called Synchronize It! [] which provides us with highly customizable differential backups.

The downside is that the portability of the drives hinders scheduling. However, because we can simply take the drives home with us, multiple backups of our data are available at any given time off-site. In case of theft, failure or damage to our fileserver and database, we'll be ready.

Backups? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17466374)

What does the Slashdot community use for small office backups?

Backups? What backups?

(That is unfortunately the most commonly used method.)

Our office is so small.... (2, Funny)

malraid (592373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466376)

...that someone will always have it's eyes on my screen. So... no need to back, just have to ask somebody what I was writting or reading.

Bacula (2, Informative)

jamesh (87723) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466470)

Bacula []

2.0.0 has just been released, with pretty much full support for Windows. It doesn't have a pretty GUI, but it should be able to do what you want. It does support VSS so it can back up Exchange and SQL for you, and i'm working on an agent to do proper backups of SQL too, and hope to add Exchange support after that.

Re:Bacula (2, Interesting)

lactose99 (71132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17467982)

I second this. Bacula v2.0.0 also adds encryption support via openssl and a number of other goodies like a web-based interface to look at previous backups and schedules. It also supports pre- and post-backup scripts so we can do things like near-live MySQL backups (via mysqldump) and has a highly-configurable scheduler.

I work for a small/medium business (~150 employees) with a variety of Linux, BSD, and Win32 hosts, and we use bacula for all our backup work. Actually, we are also using BackupExec for a few of the Win32 boxes but will likely be switching strictly to Bacula once we get 2.0.0 implemented in production (of which I am the lead implementor).

Currently, we backup about 70 hosts daily with bacula v1.36, using Bacula's on-disk file storage on a 1.7TB RAID5 volume for daily backups and AIT-2 tapes for weekly differential and monthly full backups (2 copies of each full backup, one to store locally and one to ship off-site as part of our disaster-recovery requirements). Bacula is fantastic for this, particularly for locating and restoring files that were backed-up at a specific point in time (to appease the occational "can you restore a proposal I created two weeks ago and have since overwritten several times?" users). With this upgrade I'm performing, we're moving from the older AIT-2 tapes to Ultrium3 which has a 400GB/800GB (compressed) capacity per tape, about 10 times that of our AIT-2's. Couple that with a Dell ML6000 tape library and 36 tape slots and we now have a backup system that will easily grow with our organization. And all for FREE! Bacula's mailing lists are fantastic for support and answering those not-so-easy questions.

My only real gripe with the system is the inability for backups stored on multiple volume types (disk-based versus tapes) to be restored via a single job, but I believe this has been addressed with 2.0.0. Other than that, I love Bacula! I've been more excited about the 2.0.0 release than any other software upgrade in quite a while.

Re:Bacula (1)

edmicman (830206) | more than 7 years ago | (#17469830)

Interesting - I've not heard of Bacula before now, but it sounds very cool. I'm with a small small business, but they've been using BackupExec for some time now. It's a Windows shop, and so they're backing up a Win2003 file server, and SQL Server 2000 databases. I know they had to buy extra addons on top of the BE software in order to interact with the databases (so they wouldn't have to start and stop the db service) and to be able to backup "open" files. They're all backing up to a VXA tape library. Is Bacula able to be a viable replacement for a setup like this? I'm not sure if they'd be up for setting up a new linux server, but if it could run on a windows server and take care of client backups, too...that'd be pretty sweet. Perhaps I'll have to try it out on my home setup for a bit!

Re:Bacula (1)

Lev_Arris (60782) | more than 7 years ago | (#17470966)

The 2.0.0 release of Bacula (released yesterday) actually introduced the server components (called director and storage daemon) on Win32, so you don't even need a Linux server any more to run Bacula.

As for the database, it depends: Bacula uses Volume Shadowing to try and grab open files, if your database system takes VSS requests and dumps a proper state to disk for the snapshot, then there should be no problem. If not, you'll probably have to script something that dumps the databases to separate files and backs up those.

Re:Bacula (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17471278)

I use it myself - upgraded from a simple DLT-v4 drive to a LTO-3 Dell PowerVault library about two days ago and it went worryingly smoothly.

The trick with Bacula is not to try and force it to run your way, but instead understand how it works then work with it. If you've used backup software like Tivoli Storage Manager before, you'll be able to understand it pretty easily.

Works cross-platform beautifully - I'm backing up about a dozen hosts (mostly Linux, one Windows). The only drawback is that AFAIK there's no configuration GUI - it's all setup through text-based config files. But the documentation is excellent, the mailing lists responsive and friendly (which is more than I can say for some open-source projects).

2 Bright Sparks' SyncBackSE (1)

behindthewall (231520) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466494)

I set up 2 Bright Sparks' product SyncBackSE for a relative, a few months ago. I needed something in a hurry, and that could be "click the button simple" for them. (It offers a lot of configuration options, but appears to have some decent defaults and allows for "profiles" (my word) that a non-expert can simply select and run.)

Simple also to the point of not hanging on open files if the user wasn't clever enough to close them, or Windoze got "stuck" holding an open file handle (can't count the number of times...). SyncBackSE supports volume shadow copy -- it can work with open files.

Note also that it supports AES encryption.

There may well be comparable and/or better alternatives. For $25 and the rush I was in, I said "good enough". []

Re:2 Bright Sparks' SyncBackSE (1)

rbochan (827946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466798)

I'll second that. SyncBack is top notch and dead simple. The price is well within any small business budget, and simple enough for just about anyone to set up for manual backups or scheduled.

Seconded! (was: Re:2 Bright Sparks' SyncBackSE) (1)

beavis88 (25983) | more than 7 years ago | (#17472336)

While I actually use Retrospect (argh!) for the regular backup of our servers, I have a half dozen seats of SyncBack floating around on end user machines (laptops, primarily), development servers, as well as shuttling some smaller files around via FTP. With a little thought devoted to your backup schedules, it can be a really powerful tool.

Handy Backup (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17466630)

I suggest Handy Backup: [] . Simple, works well, and inexpensive.

ClarkConnect Linux and Bacula (3, Interesting)

enigmatichmachine (214829) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466638)

We do small business consulting and when a client can't afford backup exec or retrospect(neither of which I like) I just make a old box a ClarkConnect Linux box and run backups via Bacula. CC has a web interface for backups, and similar functionality to backup exec, with clients for storage, and backup clients. I.e. you can run Bacula client on a windows machine and then backup that machine remotely without sharing its files, and you can run a backup file server on your windows machine without it being a smb share. I suppose you could get this functionality with any version of Linux, but I like that the end users have a web interface, should they need it. plus I'm not the worlds best Linux guy, and it is super simple to setup. oh, bacula supports most tape drives, but I've never really tried it with them, external hard drives are way cheaper, and easier to use than tape these days. if you don't have a spare machine around, setup vmware server and just run a virtual linux box. sounds a little odd, but it works great.

Re:ClarkConnect Linux and Bacula (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 7 years ago | (#17468384)

As I also posted elsewhere, Bacula 2.0.0 has just been released with full (director, stored, filed) support for Windows. At a guess, i'd say that running it on Windows directly would be preferable to running it on Linux on VMWare on Windows. Running it on Linux directly would be better still though, if you had the hardware.

BackupAssist (1)

arc.light (125142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466670)

It [] is cheap ($147) and supports the native NTBackup format.

Re:BackupAssist (1)

jtwronski (465067) | more than 7 years ago | (#17467494)

I'll toss in a nod for backupassist. Its got a nice set of features and takes a bit of the pain out of ntbackup. I've been using it at a site in combination with iomega's nifty little REV discs (35GB uncompressed). I haven't seen anything better for less than $1000 total.

And those little REV drives really are cool. They fit into your existing floppy slot, you can get an autochanger for them, and they perform much faster than tapes. Iomega supplies its own backup software with the drives, but it is useful for only the most basic setups. Forget that, its not useful for anything. Its unstable, requires your backup operator to be logged into the server (ie, doesn't run as a service), and doesn't provide for much flexibility.

Re:BackupAssist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17471988)

...supports the native NTBackup format.

Which native NTbackup? IIRC, the various native versions aren't compatible with each other. Is it compatible with all? Will it be compatible with the next? Am I going to be on yet another upgrade treadmill purchasing backup solutions for each new version of Windows as well? Feh!

Lose WINDOWS on the file/backup server... (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466730)

Use roaming profiles and map the My Documents off to a home directory on a Linux box.

Use the tapedrive to back up the linux box.

Re:Lose WINDOWS on the file/backup server... (1)

sarhjinian (94086) | more than 7 years ago | (#17468536)

No. Do not use roaming profiles. You're in for a world of suffering when someone's profile reaches the tens/hundreds of megabytes size and some misbehaving app corrupts itself (Outlook, for example--or perhaps the user's registry). Mapping My Documents is a good idea, though. Another option (if you're not doing graphics/video/suchlike) might be using Terminal Server and just backing that up.

Options to check out... (2, Informative)

CFrankBernard (605994) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466744)

NovaBACKUP (PC World Best Buy; offers tape encryption) []

Cleversafe (GPL'd) []

Genie Backup Manager l?AfID=13778 []

SyncBack (freeware) []

EMC Insignia Retrospect (formerly Dantz Retrospect; PC Magazine Editor's Choice) []

BackupPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17466768)

I have set up BackupPC: []

For the off-site portion of things, the entire disk that backuppc runs on is periodically rsynced to an external USB drive and taken away to be exchanged with the one at the owner's house.

I ran the rsync daemon on windows as the method for BackupPC to get to the windows disks. Sharing everything via samba kept leading to stalled copies that would suddenly start up again when you started pinging the stuck machine, that sort of thing.

Excellent solution (1)

tmasssey (546878) | more than 7 years ago | (#17468976)

We provide a BackupPC based solution for our customers. It's a Mini-ITX computer that is sized and shaped somewhat like an external tape drive. It uses removable IDE drives to back up data.

Our clients love it. It's fast, powerful, easy to navigate, and proactively notifies them when there are issues. We've done everything from restore individual files to complete disaster recovery.

The "client" needed on any target you want to back up (like, say, a Windows file server) is just rsync running as a daemon. You can also add encryption with SSH, but we don't. All-in-all, it just works.

tar and several removeable drives (2, Informative)

nizo (81281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466820)

While tar may or may not be available (or useable) under Microsoft Windows, you might want to consider one pitfal when using tapes for backups: if the office burns down and you lose your tape drive, unless you keep a spare drive offsite you now have a box of useless tapes until you can find and purchase a new tape drive that can read them. The advantage of removeable drives in this case is you can plunk them into any PC and get at the data right away.

Re:tar and several removeable drives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17467094)

...well, yes... I did that once... now I've got a shelf full of ESDI drives I can't read. DLT has existed for allmost 30 years and will exist for another 30... and is propably the most reliable system ever.

No Matter What... (1)

triso (67491) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466866)

No matter what backup software you select make sure that you spend as much time evaluating restoring as you do for evaluation of backing-up. The last thing anyone needs to hear is, "Sorry, but I can't find your file. The backups are bad."

Re:No Matter What... (1)

iPaul (559200) | more than 7 years ago | (#17467124)

Excellant caveat. I was using a SCSI tape for backup on the one server my company used to run (a bazillion years ago) and when to examine the tapes produced by NT 3.5.1 (or very early 4.0's) backup tool, a number of them were unreadable. I did not have the same problem on Linux with the "st" commands and tar. Also, be careful of ecryption and compression. Let's say a few bits on the tape get flipped. Uncompressed, this can result in one or a handful or corrupt files. On a compressed tape you could loose the entire archive. If you encrypt on a file by file basis you should be fine, but if you encrypt the entire volume, you could run into the same problem. Also, with Windows, make sure you export your disk encryption certs and that they're recoverable.

You should at least explore the use of a removable hard drive cage (like CRU) and relatively inexpensive 250Gb hard drives. The downside is $80 a drive versus a few bucks for tapes (although tapes get expensive). On NewEgg you can get 120-160 GB hard drives in the $60 range. Add another $20 or so for the enclosure.

Most unreliable software category: Backup software (3, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17466894)

For the last 15 years, before Windows 95 even, backup software has been some of the worst, most unreliable software commonly used. As far as I know, there are no good solutions.

Tips based on our experience:

Symantec seems scary, due to the number of very serious failures that have been reported over the years, and due to the character of the company:
  1. Symantec Ghost is not the same software Ghost was previously. Symantec bought PowerQuest's DeployCenter and relabeled it Ghost, without making that clear in ads. That showed zero respect for their original Ghost product; in my experience the disrespect was deserved.
  2. There seems to be a social breakdown at Symantec. The company seems to have far too few people with technical knowledge.
  3. My experience is that Symantec technical support is abusive; abusiveness seems to be a major managerial method there. It is difficult to defend against many small abuses, as both Microsoft and Karl Rove (Bush's brain) know very well. (Abusers tend to learn by watching each other, even though they may not know each other.)
Acronis TrueImage is generally accepted as the best backup software for small businesses now. However:
  1. The TrueImage software is not able to make encrypted backups; it can only password protect, a protection that is easily broken. So, don't allow anyone to take backup media off site. Store backups in a secure vault on site.
  2. We have had many, many problems with unreliability of Acronis software. A scheduled backup may not actually run, for example. Recent versions have been more reliable.
  3. The command line interface of TrueImage WorkStation seemed full of bugs when it was first released. Apparently the release was far too soon.
  4. Acronis technical support amazes even me. I sent a notice of a failure in a new version. About 3 months later, I got a nonsense reply from someone who sounded like she was about 21 years old and only working for Acronis so that she could find a man, get pregnant, and stay home.
  5. Acronis sales people seem to believe that anyone with technical knowledge is socially inferior. My experience is that they seem to think that dirtying their little brains with technical details is beneath their exalted place in society. When you ask for help, you may get some action that seems to be part of internal political maneuvering.
  6. Acronis recently released an "update" that changed TrueImage installations to a new product name called TrueImage Home. Apparently this is an attempt to intimidate customers to pay for the Workstation version which is far more expensive.
Some ugly history of backup software: Hewlett-Packard's tape backup software would, during restore, make hundreds of zero-length files in random places. The names of the files would be taken from the names of legitimate files on the tape. HP technical support thought that was not a particularly bad problem.

In the DOS days, a company called Fifth Generation Systems sold a product called Fastback. The product was excellent until it was sold to a former banker who put his daughter in charge of marketing. (I talked to him for about 45 minutes on the telephone one day.) Since the banker didn't have any technical knowledge, and didn't believe that was important, and since the technical people left when the banker bought the company, the product quickly fell behind, became useless, and disappeared from the marketplace.

More notes about backup software. (3, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17468612)

Here are more notes to go with my parent comment:

Disk Image backups are required to back up the operating system drive. Disk Image backups are sector-by-sector backups. Some people call that operating system cloning or disk cloning [] . There is a free Linux/Unix utility called DD [] . DD has a Windows version [] , too. My understanding is that DD has no compression, so that the backups are much larger than with commercial software that compresses the images.

Microsoft has made Windows XP difficult to back up. It is necessary to have 3rd party software that can back up the operating system and also files that are in use. Windows XP will not allow copy, xcopy, or robocopy backups of the system registry for, example. For that you must have drive imaging software like Acronis TrueImage or another.

If a user forgets to close all programs, some important files may still be loaded at night and in use when backups are scheduled. That's why it is necessary to be able to back up files that are in use. Microsoft provides the API to do that, but very limited backup software called NTBackup.

Tip: Encryption is necessary. Backups that are not encrypted are somewhat useless, since it is too risky to take them off site. Remember that password protection is not encryption.

Be careful about backup software that a big company bought from some other company. When that happens, usually the technical people are fired and the company that buys the rights is not prepared technically to respect what the fired people have done. Microsoft bought rights to NTBackup from Veritas. My understanding is that Veritas bought it from Conner and Conner bought it from Arcada.

Recently Symantec bought [] Veritas. My experience with Symantec is that their software often has huge bugs, and their telephone support is possibly close to the worst.

I found this confused-looking but extensive list of Windows backup software: Backup Software For Windows 2000 []

Re:Most unreliable software category: Backup softw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17472372)

Nice, try liar, but Fastback wasn't sold to a banker and marketed by his daughter. Fastback was sold to Symantec.

I should know, it was me that brokered the deal between Barry Bellue and Peter Norton.

", Fifth Generation Systems evolved as a major international software publisher producing thirty-four titles on a worldwide basis. The company's back-up utility, Fastback, was among the top ten best selling software packages from 1984-1992, until the company's acquisition in 1993 by Symantec Corporation, a world leader in Internet security technology."

Hope you have better luck then me. (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17467012)

There are a lot of backup solutions out there. But once you move into the realm of Windows Server, they tend to jack up the prices considerably for the same product just so it'll work on Windows Server. I did a lot of researching for an incremental backup system where I work that would give me flexibility with restore, native harddrive backup, and would be ideal for a few hundred gigabytes of dynamic drive space all the employees work off from (like 15 shared folders on it). But I didn't find anything that great (NTBackup's lack of scripted restores and crappy incremental restore over a period of time got on my nerves). I ended up going with a Linux server running Backuppc.... Hated to do it (nothing else is Linux in the building), but it was either that or pay $500+ for something decent.

StoreGrid (1)

Temsi (452609) | more than 7 years ago | (#17467080)

I've had great success with StoreGrid [] .
I use the free version with a $20 plugin that allows "open file" backups.

I have it set to a continuous incremental backup of my most vital files, plus a weekly full backup, storing two whole backups at any given time, on a second drive, which in turn gets cloned to a mirror drive (yes, I've lost data before, so I'm paranoid).

Backup Exec (2, Insightful)

Silicon Mike (611992) | more than 7 years ago | (#17467216) [] version 11 moved totally in the right direction

Retrospect from EMC Insignia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17467274)

Retrospect. 'nuff said. []

FTP backup? (1)

sonofagunn (659927) | more than 7 years ago | (#17467346)

I use Cobian Backup to backup some Windows data via FTP to an offsite server, but I'm not really happy with it. It was a real pain playing with the settings until the backups completed successfully. They would hang after a while and it took some trial and error to get them working, but my backup tasks are never marked as finished even though I can check the backup and see that they really are done. Cobian shows that the backup is still in progress until I reboot! The cancel button doesn't even work! I assume it works well for other people though, and setting up the tasks and their schedules is pretty easy and very flexible.

Re:FTP backup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17472300)

I use Cobian 8 for backing up to a removable HDD. Previous versions of Cobian as he said weren't entirely clear in some places, though 8 is much clearer, IMO. Easy to install, a couple tweaks to the initial setup, and it was exactly where I needed it to be.

Am using Retrospect here -- very happy with it. (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17467458)

I have been using Retrospect for a couple years, and have been happy with it. Retrospect was made around 1989, was pretty much a Mac only product until around 2000 (IIRC). I like the fact that I can backup to an external hard disk, then copy the backup set to tape or a stack of DVDs. Like TSM, it offers synthetic full backups, where one doesn't have to worry about firing off a full, incremental, or differential backup -- just fire off a backup with the options you want.

Caveat: Unlike BackupMyPC or NovaStor, Retrospect uses its own packet writing format for CD and DVD backups.

As another program, Backup Exec is always good, and has been around for a decade or so. I have not tried it recently, but its always worth a look.

BackupExec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17467500)

I'm not the biggest Symantec fan in the world, so I'm pretty unimpressed that they bought Veritas ... but BackupExec is relatively cheap (compared to anything better) and it generally works. I use it in our remote offices where we just backup 1-3 servers. It has a pretty rich featureset at this point.

I really prefer NetBackup [Enterprise or not], but it's WAY expensive compared to BackupExec. If you're only backing up a couple servers, I don't think you can justify the cost of it. I couldn't.

If you got a steal of a deal on the SDLT220 and you're backing up about 100GB of data per [however often you feel like changing tapes] and it's a new mechanism, then good for you. If not, take it back and look into an LTO-2. The media costs about the same and it holds twice as much. If a single tape is just not enough, look at the Quantum SuperLoader or SuperLoader3 (oddly, the plain SuperLoader is the older, better, & more expensive of the two)

I'm suprised Amanda hasn't been mentioned yet. (3, Interesting)

GrpA (691294) | more than 7 years ago | (#17467558)

Especially as it claims to be "The Most Popular Open Source Backup and Recovery Software" []

I'd be interested to read what any of it's users think of it in comparison to commercial apps.


Praise for AMANDA (2, Informative)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17470374)

We run AMANDA in our small setup. It is fantastic. The scheduler is quite sophisticated & backing up to tar makes disaster recovery easy. Not having to purchase client licenses is also a big plus

I've used Retrospect. It was "O.K.," but the above reasons make AMANDA a better fit.

We have a 5 TB RAID-5 FreeBSD server and a handfull of clients (mostly windows, but a few OS X and Linux boxes). The cygwin clients work well & there are now binaries, so you don't have to compile it yourself (as we did when we set it up a few years ago).

"Problematic" clients (such as laptops which aren't on at night) use rsync+ssh to backup to the server (which is then additionally put on tape).

Amanda provides options to encrypt the network traffic and/or the backups. It has reasonably good indexing & supports tape changers. It even supports RAIT. I have a few gripes, but relatively few of them in comparison to other backup software.

tapeware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17467724)

We use tapeware/yosemite backup. I hate it.

knoppix + rsync? (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17468122)

Why bother with a Windows solution? Is your tape drive that horrible? If it's scsi, there should be no problem mounting it up elsewhere and using all the normal tools like tar.

It would be easier still to use an external hard drive and grsync, a gui for rsync.

Re:knoppix + rsync? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17469468)

twitter [] , please read this carefully. Following this advice will make Slashdot a better place for everyone, including yourself.

  • As a representative of the Linux community, participate in mailing list and newsgroup discussions in a professional manner. Refrain from name-calling and use of vulgar language. Consider yourself a member of a virtual corporation with Mr. Torvalds as your Chief Executive Officer. Your words will either enhance or degrade the image the reader has of the Linux community.
  • Avoid hyperbole and unsubstantiated claims at all costs. It's unprofessional and will result in unproductive discussions.
  • A thoughtful, well-reasoned response to a posting will not only provide insight for your readers, but will also increase their respect for your knowledge and abilities.
  • Always remember that if you insult or are disrespectful to someone, their negative experience may be shared with many others. If you do offend someone, please try to make amends.
  • Focus on what Linux has to offer. There is no need to bash the competition. Linux is a good, solid product that stands on its own.
  • Respect the use of other operating systems. While Linux is a wonderful platform, it does not meet everyone's needs.
  • Refer to another product by its proper name. There's nothing to be gained by attempting to ridicule a company or its products by using "creative spelling". If we expect respect for Linux, we must respect other products.
  • Give credit where credit is due. Linux is just the kernel. Without the efforts of people involved with the GNU project , MIT, Berkeley and others too numerous to mention, the Linux kernel would not be very useful to most people.
  • Don't insist that Linux is the only answer for a particular application. Just as the Linux community cherishes the freedom that Linux provides them, Linux only solutions would deprive others of their freedom.
  • There will be cases where Linux is not the answer. Be the first to recognize this and offer another solution.

From cy []

BackupAssist (2, Informative)

speeDDemon (nw) (643987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17468250)

I am not affiliated with BackupAssist ( [] ) in any capacity other than a customer and have been thrilled with the product.

Simple and easy to use interface, multitude of options, logging, reporting. One of the features that I find most compelling is that the program is essentially a gui wrapper for the Windows Backup program and thus works perfectly with all the server and professional versions of windows seamlessly.

All too often we must make do with microsoft offerings, Backup Assist makes microsoft backup what it SHOULD have been

EMC (Dantz) Retrospect (1)

kschendel (644489) | more than 7 years ago | (#17468362)

I've had good luck with Retrospect both at home and in a small non-profit office. It's pretty simple to set up and supports encryption. Make sure that it supports your tape drive, though.

Bacula (1)

JunkMale (20704) | more than 7 years ago | (#17468436)

I'd recommend Bacula [] . I've installed it for several clients, all have been very happy with the results.

Disclosure: I am a Bacula developer.

Define requirements before selecting a solution (1)

tengu1sd (797240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17468722)

Before selecting media and software, you need to define what the business needs are. Do you need to

a. have 3 different backups run once a week or need to maintain years of infomration
b. have daily incremental backups
c. provide disaster recovery for business restoration
d. preserve regulated information, either financial or healthcare
e. restore custom applications
f. reimage new systems or only preserve data

Backup exec and Acronis both provide reasonable solutions for mostly stable Windows clients. Storing active data on a SAN or file server and making that up increases the backup window for the local box. Now a days, I prefer that solutions with periodic o/s backups on a bootable DVD. Annual backups can serve if your live data isn't at risk locally.

Remember, backups are worthless. It's the restored data that has value. Test your procedures and hardware periodically, make sure you have off site hardware to restore. If your Quantum SDLT220 tape drive is out of support and the only place you get another one is from a reseller on E-Bay who's had one stored . . . . Never trust a single blob of media.

Has no one tried Windows own backup app? (1)

dhartshorn (456906) | more than 7 years ago | (#17468766)

It's free, it's easy, it's reliable.

Quantum SDLT220 = $1800 for 220GB. Two 250GB drives in workstations with backup duty = $150. OK, so you don't get offsite capability unless you pop for a couple $70 NAS boxes as well.

How can this be /. if no one uses the free/cheap stuff? Must be a detour into the twilight zone.

Re:Has no one tried Windows own backup app? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17469248)

if you are referring to ntbackup, i dont know whether to laugh or cry. ntbackup is a POS.

anybody who uses ntbackup on a regular basis on different servers soon comes to despise it.

Ultrabac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17468998)

A couple of windows specializing friends are using it. excellent and responsive tech support. both have used Backup exec previously.

Backup Exec 11 (1)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 7 years ago | (#17469388)

Now supports encrypted backups.

Backup Exec does have it's problems on occasion, but it does seem to get the job done.


eSATA (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17469714)

Here's a setup I'm using which works fairly well:

On the backup server, a removable hard disk bay in one of the 5.25" bays, SATA, connected to an eSATA adapter in a PCI-X slot. Along with this, 10 bog-standard SATA drives mounted in enclosures designed to dock in the 5.25" bay. The eSATA adapter supports hot-swap, so swapping the drives is a simple unlock, swap, lock process. For software, I'm using Backup Exec. The catch is that when formatting the drives, Windows Server reserves mount points even when the drive is removed. So I created a folder on my local disk, and mounted each drive to a separate subdirectory, e.g., C:\BACKUP VOLUMES\BACKUP A, C:\BACKUP VOLUMES\BACKUP B, etc. Then you have to go into Backup Exec and add each mount point is a separate backup-to-folder device. Group all the devices and set the backup to use that device pool. That way, it will simply use whatever disk is inserted. The one snag was that Backup Exec doesn't automatically track which disks are mounted and update the device status, so you have to run a scheduled task to restart the Backup Exec services every night before the backup begins.

This scheme is fast, relatively easy to set up, fairly inexpensive, and the process for the end user is dead simple: Remove disk, insert disk, take disk offsite.

backuppc? (1)

huckda (398277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17470040)

works for me.

EMC Retrospect has worked great for many years. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17470064)

Retrospect has worked great for my 200+ computer network for ~7 years, non-stop. It just keeps going.
I looked up your tape drive & it is supported.

I think that is costs ~$500, which should last you over 5 years of service... amortize that.

no need to complicate things (1)

diitante (779203) | more than 7 years ago | (#17470462)

I keep is simple. A raid 5 array, rsync, tar and bzip2. Then I add periodic offsite transfers. You can build a multi TB raid array so cheap these days that you may as well build 2 and mirror them at different locations. Only a modest server is needed to control the array. HDs are cheaper that lots of the tapes out there.

USB HDD + Acronis True Image (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17471264)

I found Acronis True Image to be very helpful (and also work for Linux), in combination with a USB 2 connected hard disk. Set Acronis to have top priority and just sit back.

There are many reasons why I like Acronis:

(1) creates boot disk for "bare metal" restore (when you have to start again from the ground up)
(2) combines full system restore and file restore (so you can also restore just a file)
(3) supports rescaling of partitions
(4) supports Windows NTFS as well as Linux ext3 (I think ReiserFS as well but I don't us it)
(5) It's quite fast to backup a whole box.
(6) It's end user friendly - VERY easy to use.

I've dropped tapes because my backups are small enough, but tapes scale easier..

Our office backups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17472320)

We've been using an Internet based solution for a few months now, []

Only backs up our changes so it's really quick, I'm told by our IT ppl it uses blowfish(?) encryption or something like that.

Bacula kicks ass. (1)

vezult (926058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17472912)

I've been using Bacula to backup servers at my agency (300GB+ of data) for the past year and a half. I've found it to be very reliable, flexible, and relatively easy to configure and use. I use an older version (1.36), packaged for sarge, which lacks some features I would like - migrating backups between volumes, ssl support. However, version 2.0 has just been released, and looks like it's got some sweet new features (my wishlist features included). It even runs on windows (in addition to *nix), if you swing that way. .en []

BackupPC (1)

stan_freedom (454935) | more than 7 years ago | (#17473002)

OK, it's not Windows-based, but it works great and it's cheap.

I'm the IT guy for a small office (30 XP desktops, 1 W2K server, 4 linux servers). Last year I replaced my homegrown scripts with BackupPC. I have been extremely happy with the results. I took an obsolete server, loaded it with four 160 GB SATA drives and a PCI SATA adapter. Total cost was under $400. Fedora FC5 and FC6 include BackupPC in their Yum repositories, so you can easily install all necessary software at no cost. Configuration was not too complicated, although it is text-based.

BackupPC has a web-based management interface that is a snap to use. BackupPC uses some fairly advanced techniques to keep the pool of backed up data to a manageable level on disk. To get data to tape (DVD in my case), BackupPC has archive tools which by default build specific backup sets as tar archives. You can easily modify BackupPC's config file to use a custom script that also handles your encryption requirements.
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