Crude backup of W2k3 server using batch file to external HDD

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by dave-, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. wilsontc

    wilsontc Member

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    Your motives are noble, good job.

    For a small business, this is ridiculous! If this is the only option your IT service provider suggested, it's time to find a vendor that is more in touch with your business. Are you one of their smaller clients?

    It's as close to ultimate as you can get for small businesses. The trick to managing any sort of tape or USB disk backup is to designate the rotation of the media to a reliable employee. They then put that event in their calendar, and optionally many backup programs can send a reminder email (or a solution like this can be scripted).

    After reading this, I think you're going about the problem the wrong way. You've got two major issues: an IT provider who isn't doing their job, and an old server + network that is beginning to fail (tape drive issues).

    While it's not clear if your Dad is using the Small Business Server edition of Windows Server 2003, the company is a perfect candidate for SBS 2008. It sounds like the server is getting quite old and should be replaced due to reliability issues; this would be the perfect opportunity to move to new hardware and newer, more robust platform.

    SBS 2008 comes with Exchange for your email, and SharePoint for collaboration (your Dad's company may not be using this yet!). There is a supported migration path from Microsoft, and it works very well - I've migrated a couple of clients who were in a similar situation to your Dad's business in the last couple of weeks.

    SBS 2008 has a much improved backup utility which is designed for USB disks. In fact, it supports nothing but. It is very easy to use, but more importantly, monitor. I highly recommend you find a new IT support company to handle a migration to the new platform and manage it.

    *Disclaimer: I work for an IT company that supports SMB clients of between 3-40 people in Melbourne - I do this for a living. I definitely agree with Dave's assessment that there are many sharks out there - you need to do some research, maybe ask some other small businesses that you or your father has connections with, and see what they do for IT support.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010
  2. Torment

    Torment Member

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    Hi Dave,

    (Take my recommendations with a grain of sand/salt, it my recommendations only).......

    I run a Small IT Consultancy Business supporting many Real Estate Agencies across NSW, what I have found is that most Real Estate Agencies don’t have any mission critical applications you cannot get back from a backup within a couple of hours on one or two machines, things like rent trust, console (Gateway 2003, 2007, Live etc) The L.J.Hooker system (if it’s a LJH office) only requires a re-install of the program and then a dump of the backup data. Nothing suggests a Disaster Recovery solution to me.

    With backups, I tend to do a couple of things, (sighting Windows 2003 Server) I use a program called BackupAssist. This software while approx $300 does a couple of nifty things for me.

    Through a Set Schedule

    1. A Replication of the Data (Home Drives, Program Data Directory etc)
    2. An E-mail Alert to a number of people to tell you how the backup ran (or didn’t)
    3. A System Backup (using NTBackup through this software)
    4. A Exchange Backup (if they have it).

    BackupAssist has some really cool backup features (that many of the other will also have) like keeping the last 10 (or however many you like) backups and delete the others etc. The ability to tell what drive the external HDD is plugged into (very nifty at times).

    My Recommended Office Setup..... and some advice

    Use three external HDDs within the Office

    1. Monday / Wednesday
    2. Tuesday / Thursday
    3. Friday

    (More if they work on Weekends as many of them do)

    Always have one at home or external (some people tend to leave them in the car)......

    Always have one person with some IT knowledge in the office receive the backup reports so they know what’s going on. (and you and the old man).

    ALSO have a set replication of the critical data only (Data Directories for programs that I mentioned above). While I set a nightly backup on all these directories I also have a replication of this data as a manual backup routine that takes approx 5 to 10 minutes to complete (depending on the data), that I have that knowledgeable IT person in the office run before they go home as you get whatever changes throughout the day. (this gets the you are only as good as your last good backup reduced from one day to overnight) if you leave it overnight and the place burns down you have lost a day’s work (only). Doing the above with the critical data give you your day back.


    There are plently of other little tips that I can suggest as well. Give me a PM and I can give you some advice if you'd like....
     
  3. Nyarghnia

    Nyarghnia (Taking a Break)

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    +1 ShadowProtect

    First question to ask is this, and think about this carefully...

    What would be the impact to the business if you went in tommorrow and 'pulled the plug' on the server in there. I would precict it would have a fairly nasty impact, especially if that server is hosting all the documents, e-mail and so on and so forth...

    Now this may sound a bit faciteous, but it's a genuine question and should determine the nature of the backups that you provide.

    Personally, I'd get a copy of 'ShadowProtect' V4 and a small NAS appliance of some sort, you can get that solution together for under 2k, one of the really great things about the ShadowProtect product is that is takes full images of the server plus snapshots and can write then to your NAS (or a USB drive).

    You can then recover that image into any bare metal machine that's got the resources, in testing we've recovered servers onto a laptop in a VM (Check out Version 4).

    I think it would be an ideal solution, if they have e-mail you can even get it to send you an e-mail after every job, you can also 'explore' bakcups like a file system and recovery individual files quickly and very easily. Because of Snapshotting, you could have a 4 week rotating cycle on your NAS, this means that even if someone deleted a file a week or so ago, you could easily get that deleted file back for them.

    Applications may not be deemed 'mission critical', but being able to recovery files and machines quickly matters when things are down.

    Google 'ShadowProtect'. I wouldn't run a server on bare metal without it. It just works.

    -NyarghNia
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  4. OP
    OP
    dave-

    dave- Member

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    Yeah that idea was just to have another copy of the data, was never going to be the sole backup.

    Can't recall the company name off the top of my head, but I think it was Hosted Continuity.

    That was my first advice but the old man or other users aren't that saavy and sometimes the change will be more distruptive that working around the issue. I can't be there during business hours to assist. Basically the owner of the company started as their IT guy and has expanded. I beleive he thinks he is too good for the small office now. However, the current employee that gets sent out to sort out dads IT issues has been good.

    Bingo, see above. Dad was one of their first clients. If it wasn't for the current bloke being sent out, I'd be forcing a change in provider.

    Not quite, it took me MANY years to get dad to look at the server/client model compared to the old win98 p2p network they had. Torment would probably agree that business like R/E agents are very reluctant to spend money on IT because they did without it for so many years (Dad's been in the game for 30+ yrs), so they're very resistant to change. I already made the suggestion that dad hire a new company and have them perform a migration to all new equipment and take it from there. I suspect he plans on retirement in the next 18-24mths, hence not wanting to spend money.

    I'm not sure if its SBS edition, it might be as I'm sure I've seen that referenced. They don't use exchange for e-mail and things like sharepoint aren't required. They have rather simple needs.

    Good to see someone who understands the business :) I agree entirely. There are only 2 critical items, MYOB for the trust accounting and Tenacity for rentals. Both of which can be backed up anywhere and restored anywhere within 15mins. Everything else is a bonus.

    I've given mum that task, she was managing the tape backup/rotation when it was working so she will be fine with rotating a couple portable hdds between home and the office on a regular basis. She also backs up the MYOB stuff manually to a USB key and brings it home.

    If MYOB and rental files were backed up? then nothing. Letters sent are saved in files anyway, photos of houses can be redone if need be. As users are using remote profiles, they'd just need to create a user on the local machine and configure outlook for pop email and they're back online.

    Sidenote:
    I had dad check what application was being used for the tape backups. They have Symantec Backup Executive 2010 Windows Server installed. They received some type of renewal for it, which I suspect was for the support as I didn't think they had a yearly licence to use the product?

    The IT provider has their employee there now replacing a drive in the server which had been marked as "potential failure" in software and I've told Dad to order a 2nd replacement SAS drive but keep it onsite as a spare if required. Unless anyone suggests differently, I think it is better to have a spare available than replace a disk which isn't reporting any issues yet?

    While he is there, I've told Dad to get him to alter the existing Backup Exec schedule to use an external HDD connected 24/7 instead of the faulty tape drive. Along with a second drive replicating the same data which they can take off site. We'll get a 3rd drive running with alternate backup and also take that offsite.

    I feel this is the best compromise without doing hardware and software replacements/upgrades. And again thanks to everyone for the comments and feedback.
     
  5. harpie

    harpie Member

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    Just to throw another option in.

    http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.asp

    The free version will not work on SBS 2003 but the paid version does and is only $US30 odd anyway.

    It works a treat - scheduled daily incremental backup, with weekly full backup over network or onto portable drive ( I do both and take home the drive daily)
    You can mount the image to extract files using macrium free on any other (non server) PC.
    You can convert the image to a virtual one.

    I have a small system with three users and needed a cheap and easy backup solution. I use a combination of Drop Box for small daily use files on client PCs; NT backup to tape and Macrium reflect to external HDD for the server.
     
  6. Crusher

    Crusher Member

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    Wow. I have never come across it before, it looks good. Downloading now :)

    Interface is a clone of Shadowprotect :)
     
  7. harpie

    harpie Member

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    No worries

    use this code for a 20% discount if you buy it (I bought it after the 30day trial expired)

    PRM-YQM6

    Brings the price down to US$31.99
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
  8. OP
    OP
    dave-

    dave- Member

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  9. danyell

    danyell Member

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    seconded, very impressed with this free product and looking forward to testing it out in a backup/restore scenario. for individual machines in a home environment, this is perfect. obviously it requires a purchased license for commercial use, but that price seems pretty fair at ~USD$30 with the code kindly provided above.

    i note the licensed version also does file/folder backup, which is handy for quick, non-intrusive daily backups before shutdown of a pc... there is never really the need for a daily drive image of a client pc, but having both kinds of backup in the one app. is convenient.

    getting back on topic, i think the op chose well in getting some backups configured so that they're done to the external drives. i would suggest following the numerous suggestions above from others guys about increasing the number of external drives in the backup set, however... it's always nice to have the option to go back in time somewhat, and not only that, this can ensure a drive is offsite at all times. in that instance, a 2.5" external usb drive is ideal and the Lacie drives mentioned above sound the most suitable with the "rugged" construction.

    Dan
     
  10. ECHO

    ECHO Member

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    It doesn't have hardware independent restore (HIR) does it though? That's the biggest selling point to me in regards to ShadowProtect. Being able to migrate to completely different hardware is awesome.
     
  11. harpie

    harpie Member

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