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Offsite backup - best solution?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by NCTurner2002, Mar 31, 2008.

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  1. NCTurner2002

    NCTurner2002 Thread Starter

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    I'm trying to back up my office data to a hard drive at my home, via the net, on a nightly basis. I've been considering the WD World Edition, but they seem to be fairly unstable. Anyone have a better suggestion? I need to do incremental backups.

    There are other solutions, via commecial entities, but for various reasons, I want the data at my home, not some remote location. ANY help is greatly appreciated!

    Greg
     
  2. griffinspc

    griffinspc

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  3. NCTurner2002

    NCTurner2002 Thread Starter

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    Griffin,

    thanks for the suggestion. I think that's mainly just a remote control program, right? I use remote desktop which works fine, but I'm needing to do automatic backups from office to home, and have the data available at home. I REALLY want something like the WD World Edition hard drive, but it needs to work (something that I guess is questionable with the WD drive at present.)

    Any other suggestions? Anyone? Thanks!

    Greg

     
  4. herhubby86

    herhubby86

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    Have you considered an external USB hard drive? You can backup quickly at work, then take the drive home for safe keeping (or to transfer to your home computer if that's what you're needing).

    I have two backup drives. I keep one here locally to recover from things like accidently deleting a file, restoring after a virus, etc. I keep the second one in my safe deposit box to protect against things like fire, theft, etc.

    I backup locally every day or two, then swap the local drive with the one at the bank once a month.

    Just a thought.
     
  5. NCTurner2002

    NCTurner2002 Thread Starter

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    Anthony,

    yes, that is what we're currently doing, but there are days I don't come to the office, so the backup doesn't get done (and it doesn't get to my house.)
     
  6. TheOutcaste

    TheOutcaste

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    If one or the other of your PCs has a public IP address (i.e., is not behind a router) you could use the builtin Windows FTP server and client.
    The built in Windows FTP client can be started from a batch file, and can be given a script with commands to run. You would need to setup an FTP server on the PC with the public IP address.
    If both PCs are behind a router, you'd need to purchase a good FTP server software, as you have to be able to configure it to respond to passive connections with the public address. The windows server can't be configured that way, it always responds with it's private address (at least I've never found a way).

    This is basically what the commercial offsite storage programs do, is a scripted FTP transfer.
    This batch file changes to the Backup folder then starts the FTP session.
    When done, it changes the current directory back to where it was when the batch was called
    Code:
    pushd C:\Backup
    ftp %1 -i -s:C:\Scripts\batftp.txt 192.168.9.3
    popd
    And this is the script that contains the FTP commands:
    Username, password, change directory, mget to get the files, then quits.
    Code:
    TheOutcaste
    mypassword
    cd Logs
    mget *.log
    quit
    
    Some downsides:
    • The password has to be stored in plain text.
      You can create a group and user just for FTP, then even if they get the username and password and have physical access to the system, they still won't be able to log-in.
      If using a virtual directory, it would not be visible via FTP -- you would have to actually know the name.
    • Some residential ISPs don't allow you to run a server at home, so you may be violating your terms if you setup an FTP server at home.
      Most don't care about people using it to transfer files to/from work, but I've heard some simply block incoming FTP requests, requiring you to use non standard ports.
    • The data is not encrypted.
      SSL is not available on Win2k or WinXP (I don't know about Vista). There are 3rd party solutions (OpenSSL for example).
      Another option is to use a batch file to put the files into a password protected archive on the server, then to extract the files on the receiving end. The archive password would be in plain text in the batch file, but would not be sent over the Internet, and at home you could manually extract the files.

    If your ISP at work gives you any Online storage or web space, you may be able to use FTP and a script to upload to there, then download from home. This is a good workaround if both systems are behind routers.
    You might not have FTP access to this space from outside the ISP network though. Putting all the files into one archive can get around this though, and still let you automate the downloading to the home PC.

    HTH

    Jerry
     
  7. NCTurner2002

    NCTurner2002 Thread Starter

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    Jerry, thank you very much! I've never used an FTP, so I'll need to become familiar with that. But from what you said, can it do incremental backups?

    I have some days literally hundreds of new files, some quite large (scanned images being the largest, usually), so the compressed / zipped file doesn't work well (tried that on a basic, local level.)

    Is there an "FTP for Dummies" site to help with this? Thanks again!

    Greg
     
  8. TheOutcaste

    TheOutcaste

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    FTP is just a method of transferring files (File Transfer Protocol), so in itself doesn't do backups, just moves files. So selecting the files to move would have to be done with something else.

    A batch file that uses the xcopy command, and sets the archive bit is one way.
    • Copy all changed files to a temp folder, reseting the archive bit on the copied files
    • Use FTP to transfer them.
    • Once the transfer is complete, the temp folder is deleted.
      or, use one folder for each day of the week, space permitting. That gives you 7 days to make sure everything was transferred successfully. Or a different folder every other day if space is an issue.
    • The next day, any new/changed files will have the archive bit set, so only those will be copied.
    This is how most backup programs work to do incremental backups, so another option is to use a backup program to do the backups to a local folder, then transfer the folder. Once the folder is transfered, it is deleted/emptied. This works best if the backup program can be run from a batch file, otherwise you need some way to make sure the backup has completed before the FTP script is run, or some files won't be copied

    There actually is an FTP for Dummies site, but it mainly covers using an FTP client.
    The Internet Information Services documentation is a good place to start for setting up the server, it (and the FTP server itself) can be installed from Add/Remove Programs | Add/Remove Windows Components | Internet Information Services
    Click Details and only install what you are going to use, i.e., don't install the FrontPage, SMTP, or World Wide Web Services.
    For help on the built in FTP client, type ftp -? at a command prompt. To get help on the commands you can use once in the client, type ftp, hit enter, then type help. That will list the commands. Google can give more info on the commands, as the built in help does little more than provide a description i.e. help mget just says get multiple files.

    There are also free and low cost programs that use FTP to synchronize folders between two PCs, you may find something useful here:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=ftp+synchronization+program+freeware

    Just keep in mind that one of the PCs must have a public IP address or this won't work.
     
  9. NCTurner2002

    NCTurner2002 Thread Starter

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    Thank you again....I'll see what I can do.
     
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