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Best way to do small biz backups

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Joseph King, Feb 8, 2003.

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  1. Joseph King

    Joseph King Thread Starter

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    Running W98SE on P-III/500 with 20GB 7200RPM IDE HD and Plextor 40/12/40 CD burner. Small business use. About 12GB of data at present (including OS, apps, etc). Minimal workstation use networked "peer-to-peer" using W98SE, with all data on my machine which acts as admin.

    I have Backup MyPC software.

    I'd appreciate advice on the most practical way to approach backups.

    Burning to CD was recommended when I last inquired based on reliability, easy retrieval, and economy. The problem, though, is that I find I can rarely make time sit and swap seven to ten disks every ten to fifteen minutes for an hour and a half or more, and then do it again for the same amount of time to "verify" the burn, all the while avoiding use of the machine for doing any work. So, I end up rarely doing backups and I really should do them.

    I'm told it's simply not advisable to do backups while using the system. I'm also told that using tape drives is getting to be a bit obsolete for a single system due to the costs and slow retrieval. It has been suggested to me that a second HD that I can ghost to is a realistic idea and may be the most practical. However, I'm a bit concerned about having only one backup at a time and about having to lose it the moment I do a new one. Also, I had a colleague once lose his data when doing things this way because an electrical surge fried both HDs at once. I'm thinking that maybe adding a removable HD that I can do backups to is perhaps realistic, and that way I can have multiple versions of backups and can even send one off-site for safety now and then.

    I'm working on a rather limited budget for the time being, though.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    THANKS!
     
  2. rugrat

    rugrat

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    Just a thought,

    You do not need to back up the OS or any programs, just the data that is created by the programs. Sounds like you are trying to backup everything. Program backups will not re-install, as long as you have the original disks, just back up the data.
    If I am incorrect, let us know. The cd burning should be fine, you just need to select what is backed up.
    SeeYa
     
  3. Rockn

    Rockn

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    Ask yourself how much your data is really worth to you. I would say from your post that it is very important to you and your business. If you want to do it right you should have a central location for your data....a server!! You should also have some kind of tape backup and nevermind the cost. How much will the lost data cost you, probably more than the cost of a tape backup solution. Get a good sized DAT tape drive and allow for future data to be backed up. You should get a piece of backup software that will run automatically on a consistent basis once you set it up and have a good backup strategy and store one set off site and rotate them off site on a schedule. Some software you might consider would be Veritas Backup Exec or ARC Serve. It will be quite an output of cash, but it's worth it.....ask your buddy. I would never reccomend a CD-R backup even to an enemy..it's a great thing to archive data, but it is worthless for a backup solution. Do you have any databases or mail servers to back up as well?
     
  4. rugrat

    rugrat

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    And Rockn really hit the point,

    SeeYa
     
  5. Joseph King

    Joseph King Thread Starter

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    Rockn,

    I appreciate your comments.

    Part of why I was told tape isn't the best choice is not cost so much as expedience in retrieval time (although the truth is I rarely have to go retrieve old files). I think you're saying that that's not enough reason to get involved with a HD solution... not that I'm even aware of any removable HDs anyway, per se. I hear what you're saying that using good backup software is important and, now that you mention it, I realize that ghosting HD to HD isn't making use of the benefits of backup software.

    By the way, I had purchased Backup Exec Desktop Pro from Veritas a while back and they since sold it to Stomp, who now calls it Backup MyPC, which, as I said in my first post, is what I have. They've done a few version upgrades since. It works great with the Plextor drive. (BTW, why is it that you wouldn't suggest using CDs for backups? Is it mainly the intolerable fact of being a slave to sitting for hours swapping disks? Trust me, it doesn’t work in the real world!).

    I realize that if I go with a tape drive -- Backup MyPC has plenty of functionality specific for tape drives, of course -- I can set it to backup through the night all on one tape, so it won't take up any of my time and I could care less how long a backup takes.

    So, that sounds like a plan.

    Any advice on which particular tape drive (and tapes) would be greatly appreciated. I have a somewhat older Abit MB (BE-6) with Intel 82371AB/EB showing under Hard Disk Controllers in Device Manager, for whatever that's worth. I have four drive ports on the MB, two being ATA/66 and two being ATA/33, with one of each currently in use: HD on one ATA/66, and CD drive on one ATA/33 (I believe). I have available drive bays.

    Did I mention my budget is a bit limited? :D
     
  6. slipe

    slipe

    Joined:
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    A removable IDE HD and a RAID card would be your most hassle-free solution. I trust you have battery backup and a power surge frying both is probably only slightly more likely than worrying about a meteor strike. When you shut down just pop out the HD and take it home with you.

    Price:
    $24 for an aluminum tray: http://www.xpcgear.com/kf101it.html You can get a plastic one for $18 if the budget is tight.

    $27 for a Tekram RAID card: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProdu...=11&manufactory=1582&DEPA=1&sortby=14&order=1 You can get generics a little cheaper and pay a little more for a Promise card, but Tekram makes good stuff.

    $53 for a 7200 RPM WD hard drive: http://www.upgrade-solution.com/detail.cfm?show=yes&PID=373&add=yes You can save a few bucks by getting a 5400RPM drive if that is what your current one is.

    Figure shipping and you come in at around $120.

    If you set it up for RAID 1, everything is mirrored on both drives. If one fails you need only switch to single drive and get a new one. There is no involvement on your part except to pop the drive out at the end of the day.

    One caveat is that you have to keep your virus definitions up to date. If one gets a virus they both will.

    If the virus or direct lightening strike possibility worries you the second hard drive is easy to disconnect except when you run your ghost if you have the tray. And you can still take it home, which is considered a requirement for business backup. You wouldn’t need the RAID card to do that. But Ghosting 12Gb on your computer is going to take a while. The good news is that you don’t have to compress the ghost, which is faster.
     
  7. Joseph King

    Joseph King Thread Starter

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    Slipe,

    Yeah. I've heard both arguments about RAID. How hard is it to have the best of both worlds by having two (or three) removable HDs and using one for the RAID mirroring and the other(s) for a backup I put on the side and/or send off-site every week or two?

    And, if I do that, can't I let it ghost to the extra weekly backup overnight if I start the process and then leave the office?

    In fact, can't I start with one removable HD (using RAID or ghosting) and expand into that full procedure when I choose?

    Thanks!
     
  8. Joseph King

    Joseph King Thread Starter

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    Slipe,

    Looked at links you gave me. A few questions if that's okay, please:

    For two HDs, should I get an extra internal tray for the tray housing? Also, it says it's for ATA 100/133 and my MB is ATA 33/66. Is that going to be compatible?

    Same for WD HD -- It says it's ATA 100. Will that work with my MB? (I had tried a WD HD when I first got the computer and had a lot of trouble configuring it for ATA 66 even with WD tech support -- the floppy that came with it and even their current downloads were problematic, as were the instructions. It was a very delicate process and I finally gave up and went with my current IBM 20GB 7200RPM ATA 66 HD. I hope it's become easier to configure these for ATA 66 if it can even be done.)

    I guess I can wait on the RAID until I want to go to more than one backup HD since I can just ghost frequently for now, right? Also, I'm a bit confused by what you mean when you say "second hard drive is easy to disconnect except when you run your ghost if you have the tray".

    THANKS A MILLION!
     
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