What to back up?
I recently upgraded Backup Exec from 10d to 2010 and I'm looking to clean up our selection lists. Has anyone got any advice on what to back up and what to miss out in a normal school environment?
For example: I have a SAN/NAS that new userspaces and profiles are going on, but I still have three Windows servers that contain users' data. The C: drive of these servers contains the Windows install and various utilities, drivers, etc. (the usual), but no specific applications. The E: drive of the servers has a 'users' folder and from there folders containing userspaces and profiles.
Is it worth backing up the C: drives of these servers at all? If the server completely died then Dell probably wouldn't be able to get me an identical replacement. They're all under NBD warranties, but are 3 years old and I doubt Dell have identical hardware on hand to replace them. As such, a bare-metal restore is unlikely to work (drivers would be completely wrong) and I'd be doing a fresh install of Windows anyway. At that point, I might as well restore the users' data to the SAN and just change the path mappings in AD?
Obviously SQL and Exchange need full backups, all user data and shared resources need backing up, I need system states of DCs to get me AD, application servers, etc. Just wondering how many of you back up ' absolutely everything' these days (that'd be more TB that I care to think about) and how many of you just get the data you couldn't replace with a fresh install?
Thanks in advance,
I backup my exchange (about 50Gb), backup all SIMS server (39Gb), and 2 User Servers with files (one is 150Gb, contains staff, post 16(years 12,13 & Some 14) other is 45Gb (Years 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and a DC Server))
Thanks for the reply. On the user servers, do you just back up user data or do you back up the whole server (e.g. OS + system drive/files)?
If I do a backup of what I consider 'core data' (not everything) then it's about 1.6TB which is a pain as it's 4 tapes, a lot of disk space, and about 30 hours. I'd like to cut it down if possible, but I also don't want to put myself in a position where I need to recover after a server failure and find I don't have the data I need.
ah, i backup the whole lot, for me its only about 20Gb... but then again, i aint using tapes, im backing up to a NAS. You could backup the users data and buy a couple of copies of say acronis (or someone on here might recommend something else) and take a live image every say once every 2 week. Then you can be sure you have got a "working" copy of the C:
45GB for just those few, geepers your lucky! I have about 30GB for Y11 alone, seems Edexcel feel that 15mb RTF files are an acceptable modern file type and every child has thanks to poor understanding of IT, a full copy of the DIDA source materials totaling around 350mb! Grrrr
Originally Posted by timbo343
Anyway, I backup Exchange fully and a DC fully. The rest is not done, partly as we don't have anything to backup onto (we have a small NAS that we put the Exchange and the DC onto) as it seems that when asking for cash for a backup it was new servers (to replace ones with dying motherboards and improve the LAN) or backup, so it made far more sense to go for new servers as there aint any point in having a fancy backup if you have no servers to backup.
Everything of value is stored on the SAN, so it has buckets loads of snapshots on it which is great and allows good and simple restores. I will be adding a tape autoloader to it all in the near future to backup the SANs but that will be a few months of yet. I've had enough of NAS units they just never seem to work that well for my backup needs :(
I'm pretty lucky in that I've got a 4TB NetApp SAN/NAS (iSCSI and CIFS) as well as a tape autoloader (8 slots, I've got 17 tapes), but you still run into the issue of overly-long backup windows even if you've got somewhere to put the data. That 4TB on the SAN disappears quickly when it's also doing VMware ESXi backups and archive data for staff/students who have left (comes in handy sometimes - I had a member of staff who left then came back about 3 years later and I still had a copy of all their documents, they were well pleased!) as well as regular D2D backups. The 4 tapes per full backup will eventually turn into 5, then I've got to lower my data retention time to free up more tapes.
I think one of the best solutions is definitely put as much data on a good SAN as you can, snapshot it on the SAN, then mirror your live data and snapshots to another SAN. That way you get backups, and redundancy on your live data and backups. However, we're talking significant money and infrastructure at that point, and you need the SANs to be in different locations for it to make sense from a DR point of view.
I think I'm going to keep a good amount of data on my full weekly tape backups, including server C: drives. It might take a long time and use up tapes, but I'd hate to have it and not need it. I think I'll cut down my weekly full and daily differential backups to the essentials though. The C: drives of most servers change very rarely so a weekly to tape is fine. SQL, Exchange, user data and application data can still be done daily and keep it manageable I think...
I backup The F: drive on our fileserver (user files), C and E drives (everything) of our SIMS server - plus SQL agent backups of the SIMS & FMS databases, C and E (everything) on our exchange/PDC server - plus an Exchange agent backup of the Exchange DB, C E and G on our webserver/ISA (dont know why lol) and D and E on our internal webserver/application server (basically all the data). Also all the system states, like you said.
I have to resort to running a full backup on friday nights with Differentials run on the other weekdays. The full backup totals nearly a 1Tb, takes about 16 hours. I have one LTO4 tape drive with 800Gb tapes. I don't think the compression can squeeze much more onto them either. I operate a fortnightly schedule with extra tapes to do extra, full backups at Easter, Summer and Christmas. All fun and games, lol.
Ah, the days of 16 hour backups... Mine are getting up to about 33 hours, although I'm hoping upgrade BE will have improved that! I've got some slightly modified selection lists running now and I'm going to do a week of them to see how much data I'm looking at. I've had to add a whole new SQL server and DB's which has bumped everything up unfortunately. :(
What to backup: that which your users will miss if you can't restore it.
So I found it easiest just to have a system that allowed me to restore to any point in time for any weekday in the previous month.
For huge data sets I used a combination of daily differentials and weekly incremental with termly Full. Ensuring a different tape was used each day.
Exchange got daily differentials and weekly full. Again ensuring a different tape was used each day.
SQL stores dumped to disk and were captured daily.
The server OS and App partitions were insignificant in size compared to the user data so taking a full of each server os etc on a daily basis did not significantly increase the cost or duration of the backups.
The important part of your backup strategy is: can you restore it?
The next most important part of your backup strategy for schools' technicians is how much maintenance does it need? If your backup strategy allows you to make significant changes to a server, and not have the need to modify your backup plan that day then in the long run it is likely to save you time, money and grey hairs.
If you want to spend a couple of weeks planning the optimal solution for your site then Chapter 26 of The Practice of System and Network Administration is worth a read.
Thanks for that, much appreciated.
Excellent point. Average C: drive for a server is 10GB-20GB, 12 servers = 100GB-200GB, still not that much compared to 500GB of subject resources.
Originally Posted by psydii
I've got O'Reilly Media's Backup & Recovery on a shelf somewhere but I believe it's more aimed at open source OS's and databases. I'll have a look at the book you mentioned, cheers. :)