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How do you do....it? Thread, Offsite Backup in Technical; Hi folks, Of the three classic offsite backup types what good and bad experiences do you have? What would you ...
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    Gongalong's Avatar
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    Question Offsite Backup

    Hi folks,

    Of the three classic offsite backup types what good and bad experiences do you have? What would you choose?

    1. Tape.
    2. HDD (if viable?).
    3. Internet/Cloud.
    (Am I missing any?)

    Is it possible to store these at someone's home, or does it have to go somewhere secured? I'm guessing the latter for data protection reasons.

    Do you consider offsite backup a necessity with a school?

    Interested to hear your thoughts!

    TIA

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    bladedanny's Avatar
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    We use two encrypted HDDs alternating each one monthly. Each drive is encrypted and is stored in lock box at my house, one key is kept in the server room and the other is kept at the head teachers house.

    We're a Primary School so don't have masses of data, it all fits nicely onto a 1TB HDD.

    Edit -
    I'll add that SIMS and Finance data is backed up, encrypted and copied to another local school each night for an offsite backup.
    Last edited by bladedanny; 27th September 2012 at 03:12 PM.

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    Gongalong (27th September 2012)

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    teejay's Avatar
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    What size of backups are you looking at storing?

    We have a lot of data and virtual/physical servers to back up, the only option for us was tape using hardware encrypted tape drives, you cannot take backup tapes off-site unless they are encrypted. We keep most tapes on-site, but the latest full weekend backup goes off-site.
    HDD just doesn't work that well if you want to off-site large quantities of data, internet/cloud is eye wateringly expensive for the amount of storage we would need even though everyone bangs on about how it reduces costs

    So, for small amounts of data then any of the options work fine, as you ramp the size up then tape starts to become the most cost effective unless you are a dual site and can do d2d across the 2 sites.

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    Gongalong (27th September 2012)

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    Gongalong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    What size of backups are you looking at storing?
    Good point! We have around 4TB.

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    Millgate's Avatar
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    We supply all types but I've seen an increase in off site back up in schools recently. Nice monthly cost, nice and easy. Each to their own i suppose

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    Gongalong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teejay View Post
    but the latest full weekend backup goes off-site.
    Do you store at home?

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    jinnantonnixx's Avatar
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    I read about Amazon Glacier recently . I think there was a thread on Edugeek recently with pros and cons.

    Amazon Glacier

    Low cost – Amazon Glacier is an extremely low-cost, pay-as-you-go storage service that can cost as little as $0.01 per gigabyte per month. With Amazon Glacier, there are no upfront capital commitments and all ongoing operational expenses are included in the price. You save money by paying only for what you use.
    Last edited by jinnantonnixx; 27th September 2012 at 03:35 PM.

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    Gongalong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Millgate View Post
    We supply all types but I've seen an increase in off site back up in schools recently. Nice monthly cost, nice and easy. Each to their own i suppose
    What particular type of offsite backup though?

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    We don't have true 'offsite' backups, but we have 5 different buildings, so the servers are in one, and the backup NAS is in another, at opposite ends of the site.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    An alternative is an on site fireproof safe.

    We have a very spread out site. Our servers and NAS are in the buildings furthest apart. We assessed the risk and decided that any incident that wiped out both buildings would probably remove most of this end of town... including my house. We don't take backups off site or have a fire proof safe.

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    Millgate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gongalong View Post
    What particular type of offsite backup though?
    Online back up. You tell me how much space you need and i'll give you a monthly cost. You can increase it whenever you like, easy to control, easy to use.

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    jinnantonnixx's Avatar
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    If you choose Amazon Glacier, the upload and download requires coding through an API. They supply java templates, but for an easy life you might want to consider a front end like this:
    FastGlacier - Windows Client for Amazon Glacier - An Extremely Low-Cost Storage Service. Amazon Glacier Client.
    or multiplatform: http://simpleglacieruploader.brianmcmichael.com/

    Also, Glacier (as its name might suggest) is cheap because it's slow. It can take hours for a restore request to become available. Also, retrieval is charged at a much higher rate than archival. For these reasons, never consider it for primary backups, treat it as a secondary OMFG backup solution.
    Last edited by jinnantonnixx; 27th September 2012 at 04:27 PM.

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    A note of caution I'd sound about fireproof safes is that it may not be practical or possible to access them in the event of an incident. Unless (as in elsieg40's case) your site is so spread out that you consider it possible to keep the backup 'separate' to the servers, a fire that destroys the server room could make the room containing the safe unsafe, and you won't be able to access it. Offsite backup would then be essential.

    And schools do catch fire with alarming frequency!

    Also - in terms of backup, what do you *really* need? If the school burned down tonight, what would you need tomorrow? SIMS backup? How about the SIMS software to restore it to, and your licence info? Do you need all of the year 10 geography field trip photos?

    A caveat about cloning: it's OK if you're restoring to identical hardware, but if you're restoring to something else then you take your chances. For example, an image of a five year old server might blue screen when booted on a new box, leaving you with the headache of a 'hardware problem' as well as everything else.

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    nicholab's Avatar
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    Sims and AD/DC data need to be off site in the cloud. Also it means that you can restore quickly.

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    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theriver;

    A caveat about cloning: it's OK if you're restoring to identical hardware, but if you're restoring to something else then you take your chances. For example, an image of a five year old server might blue screen when booted on a new box, leaving you with the headache of a 'hardware problem' as well as everything else.
    This is were virtualisation is a reel boon. Something like 95% of our servers are virtualised and because of how virtualisation works we have been able to split the roles down to a 1 server 1 service ratio.

    Our backups are on a Truecrypt encrypted 4Tb Buffalo Terrastation Set up in RAID5. It is kept at my house, 15mi away. We backup all Virtual Machine HD images, we do a system backup of the DCs for AD, sql backups of all sql servers and robocopy home and public folders.

    The other question is how often to do the backups? We go for three times a year, Easter, Summer, Christmas. But our off-site backups are part of a wider, granular DR plan. We have a daily onsite data backup to a RAID5 array in another building, A semi-live robocopy mirror of our main storage array, our main storage array is 16 disk RAID50 with two hot spares and we replace 1or 2 new drives in each array every year.
    Last edited by tmcd35; 28th September 2012 at 05:31 AM.

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