Backup Solutions

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Blackstealth's picture
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Backup Solutions

To coincide with moving our office to new premises I'm having to upgrade our file server at work. We currently work from a single shared 40Gb drive accessible from all our machines as 'O Drive'. Due to various factors I've had to increase O Drive to two 200Gb IDE HDs in a RAID 1 config. Moving offices has been penciled in as the ideal time to do the hardware upgrade.

Anywho, the point of this post is to ask for some ideas on suitable backup solutions for 50-150Gb of data. Prior to the increase in drive space a backup of changed files was made every 15 minutes over our network to another 40Gb HD (Backup A). Every hour a complete backup was made and stored on yet another 40Gb HD (Backup B). At the end of the day backup B was/is taken home and replaced with Backup C (Yes, another 40Gb drive) so we always have a 24hr backup/rollback off-site.

I'd better point out that we're not modifying/creating 10s of Gb of data per day - we keep all our projects (past and current) on O drive and usually have about 4-6Gb of files in each current project. O Drive is also used to store disk images of all our CD masters (in addition to CD masters kept at a number of off-site locations), we have roughly 60Gb of disk images.

Now with the move to a 200Gb drive for the design staff to work from, should we be continuing with the same backup process as before (but with 3x 200Gb drives for backups) or is there a better alternative? I didn't set the original system up and the guy who did is long gone - so I'm more than willing to implement a new routine if it's going to be more efficient / cost effective.

So, Suggestions? Limiting factors are really only cost and my only technical ability. I'm willing to spend the equivalent of buying 4x 200Gb (decent IDE ones), a.k.a £400/$700, on a solution, plus any software costs. After discussions with the rest of the staff we've ruled out tape drives. The file server currently runs a vanilla install of Windows 2000, but our 'technician' is mumbling things about putting XP on there. A copy of 2003 server is lying around in the office somewhere. Clients use a mix of 2k and XP. Anyone who suggests Macs as a solution will be shot.

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[Dons bulletproof bodysuit, face mask and goggles]

Get a Mac and shoot your clients.

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What about the Lacie Ethernet

What about the Lacie Ethernet Disk? http://lacie.com/products/product.htm?id=10073

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Seems like a good solution

Seems like you have a pretty good solution going already. As long as you can adapt it for the new drives, I would just keep it as is. I don't really see any benefit to changing it. I prefer Linux on my Backup machines as it tends to be more reliable insofar as uptimes and such, but that's just my preference.

James M. Baker
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jt
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Partition the array to40GB . . .

. . . for the active files and 160GB for Disk Images, and keep using the HDDs you have or get spares for the array and partition according to current SOP. If a partition won't work, put a humongous placeholder file to fill everything but the designated free free space/backup limit and adjust the placeholder as you add new Disk Images.

Could you use the free space on the array to do an additional 5 minute backup? Maybe have half of each drive mirror the other with writes done at times of low activity? That'd give you room to grow and an additional insurance that half your data can't be lost even if all the platters disintigrated in one of your RAID drives. Dunno anything about this stuff really, so excuse me if this sounds dumb. This is an interesting problem, The freakin' RAM in my machine is approaching the storage limit of my current backup media.

jt Beee

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Blackstealth's picture
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Keep 'em coming....

Thanks for the suggestions so far guys.

Our technician wants to move to using two of those 'one-touch' firewire backup drives (Western Digital and Maxtor are the names floating round the office, both at £1 per Gb) and just make a single daily backup that'll be rotated every other day. In addition is the proposal of allocating a section of the 200Gb for a 15 minute rollback. Am I right in thinking this combination seems a pretty stupid idea?

Any other suggestions?

---
Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defence.

rael9's picture
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Our setup

At my job, we have it set up thusly:

We have two file servers running NT. "500Mhz" is the main machine/Domain controler, "Graphics" is the secondary controller. The "F" drive is shared from "500Mhz" and backed up on "Graphics" as "E". The "G" drive is shared from "Graphics" and backed up as "H" on "500Mhz". That way if one file server dies, we still have access to both of our shared drives. This is done nightly, as our network bandwidth is somewhat limited, and we have a lot of storage to be backed up.

Then I set up a secondary backup machine that runs Linux (Libranet 2.7 to be exact) and runs Samba to share an additional "F" and "G" drive, and runs rsync to do incremental backups. Right now this is also nightly, but I JUST set this machine up, so I still consider it experimenatl. Once I have verified it a bit more, I will probably have it do more backups throughout the day. We don't have any offsite storage, but if anything happens that would destroy our onsite storage, everything else would probably be so screwed it wouldn't really matter.

James M. Baker
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