Backup Solution....RAID or normal software

vapb400

Gawd
Joined
Sep 19, 2004
Messages
786
We are a small heating and air conditioning company running ~ 15 computers connected to a W2K3 server. Most of our files are stored on individual computers but I would like to centralize things on a better server. Many people do not have a set desk, so being able to access their files from anywhere is important. I am going to build a decent file server (also functioning as a domain controller, e-mail, and web server in the future) with an Intel P-D 805, 2GB of RAM and now I am looking into a backup solution. We have a custom program for heating and air conditioning that runs on a seperate unix server, so the only real data that we would need to store on the file server would be e-mail, word documents, and pictures....basic stuff. I am estimating we will have ~100GB of data and grow from there.

I am trying to figure out a good backup solution for us. I estimate that it would peak at 250GB of data, which gives me alot of room to spare. Tape drives seem to expensive and they are slow, so I am thinking I would use a hot swappable HD set as my backup solution.
Our data is fairly important, nothing mission critical (that is on the other server). I would like to protect it with RAID 1, we dont necessarily require extreme speeds.

Would it be best/easiest to use a RAID 1 array with 2/3 HDs? Each night hot-swapping 1 HD and letting it rebuild the array? or should I run a backup HD independent from the RAID 1 array that would take a nightly snapshot of the system then hot swap it every day.

Is snapshotting as a backup solution reliable? or would I be better doing a normal backup of the data and create a Ghost Image of the basic OS for quick recovery.

Sorry for the long post, I really appreciate any help you guys can provide. Thanks.
 

Lazn_Work

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 30, 2001
Messages
5,618
I would recommend a Ghost of the system and then use Windows Backup to run a nightly backup to a separate drive, not part of the array.. also, have more than one backup drive because you want one offsite/not plugged into the server in case you get hit by lightning durring the backup job.

Really the best would be tape and BackupExec or ArcServ etc., but you mentioned cost as an issue.

Really you want multiple drives, and this starts making tape look cheaper.. Becase you want to be able to restore a file to a point in time, eg: someone overwrote a file on tuesday, then again on thursday, and you need both versions of the file.

==>Lazn
 

vapb400

Gawd
Joined
Sep 19, 2004
Messages
786
Thanks. I would probably have 2 HDs off site at any given time. (so a 3 disc rotation).

Can anybody recommend backup software that would allow me to create an incremental backup while keeping a copy of the old backup for x amount of days?
 

Lazn_Work

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 30, 2001
Messages
5,618
vapb400 said:
Thanks. I would probably have 2 HDs off site at any given time. (so a 3 disc rotation).

Can anybody recommend backup software that would allow me to create an incremental backup while keeping a copy of the old backup for x amount of days?

Actually windows backup is fairly capable these days. I use Backup Exec, but it is quite costly, check to see if windows backup is enough for you. (check advanced options)

==>Lazn
 

unhappy_mage

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - October 2005
Joined
Jun 29, 2004
Messages
11,455
DO NOT use broken raid 1 sets for backup. They are just that: broken. Any decent controller will scream bloody murder all day long because a disk is missing.

What I'd look into for incremental backups (since you've got the Unix box already, and presumably know your way around it) is toss another pair of 500 gb disks in it. Create a cron job that rsyncs the new Windows machine to it, and use the snapshot script thingy to create the incrementals. If you can run gigE between the two machines in question, and possibly an rsync daemon on the Windows box, those will increase speeds quite a bit. Without the daemon, one must transfer 100GB over network to make sure that nothing has changed; without gigE whatever transfers happen are 10x slower.

As for off-site backup, get removable trays for the drives, rotate them physically, store in foam boxes while transporting them, pretend they're Ming vases. Anything that can damage the drives is a no-no.

Finally, when you set up the domain, I'd strongly suggest two things: keep the browser cache *off* the server. That data will almost certainly change every time someone uses the machine, and there's no need to keep it. Second, keep the user's files in a seperate network drive. Then there's no need to sync all the user's junk along with their profile. This way all that's actually kept in the profile is, y'know, profile stuff.

 
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