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WHS 2011 Storage Strategy


pcdoc
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First, I like Option A the most.

  • I use RoboCopy. I run it from a CMD file that is invoked automatically by Task Scheduler. I have nothing against the others (well, SyncToy turned out to not be able to do 1 or 2 things I wanted so I gave up on it); RoboCopy is just my preference.
  • I have no comment on the cloud services as I don't use them. My bandwidth cap makes it impractical.
  • my WHS2011 Client Backups are kept on the same drive as my Data Pool. They get backed up to a Nearline external storage box AND an OffSite storage box, along with my data. The backups are done using RoboCopy.
  • I don't know if it's industry best practice, but storing data 'flat' as you say, is my own best practice. It has worked for me for a very long time.
  • The Scheduled Tasks that backup from my WHS to the NearLine and OffSite units are on my WHS. I have another Scheduled Task on my Win7 main desktop that RoboCopies My Documents to the server, and then back again (because I may have put new files into those folders on the server from another computer).
  • I keep the OS backup external, and rotate 2 drives offsite.
  • I do not include any data in the server backup. For me, it's a means to restore the server OS in case of catastrophic failure.
  • IIRC, the eSATA port on the N40L is NOT multi-port aware.
  • whether or not to use encryption is really up to you. It depends on how sensitive the data is, and how likely it is that it might fall into the wrong hands.

Here's an image of my server setup:

gallery_502_35_361703.jpg

Top Shelf (left to right): CyberPower UPS, Lian-Li EX-503 for NearLine storage, Lian-Li EX-503 for OffSite storage.

2nd Shelf (left to right): USB fan to cool external drive, external drive for server OS backup, Lian-Li WHS chassis

 

If you look closely, you will see that the Lian-Li EX-503's are labelled NearLine and OffSite. Every night, data (including client backup files) is copied from the internal 4-drive RAID-5 array to the NearLine and OffSite boxes by Scheduled RoboCopy Tasks. The OS is backed up to the external HDD dock every night as well.

Every morning, the drives in the OffSite EX-503 are removed and placed into a Pelican 1300 case for transport to the offsite location. A second Pelican case at the offsite location is brought home, and its drives are installed in the EX-503 OffSite box for that night's backup.

 

 

I didn't know Google had a datacenter in Canada!

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My toaster is actually connected via USB. I have seriously been considering changing it over to 2 self-contained external enclosures. If I do that, though, I will insist on using enclosures that have fans in them. I've seen some really cool looking ones from Thermaltake recently: http://www.thermalta...cts.aspx?C=1285

 

So, my choice would be to use 2 USB(3) external enclosures.

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  • 3 weeks later...

sorry if this is a bit long winded......

 

regarding rotating 2 USB external enclosures.

 

Would you be rotating these for backing up the same internal drive. So instead of using a toaster plugged in full time as a backup destination, and hot swapping 2 rotating drives, can you rotate 2 separate USB drives, which would require physically disconnecting the whole unit from the servers usb port. Unlike with the toaster, which would always be connected to the servers usb port.

 

In more other words, if you're setting up 2 rotating drives for backup, and using either the server backup to back up the OS, OR robocopy (for example) to sync data on a shares drive, can you use 2 separate USB drives, or do you have to use a toaster and just rotate the drives themselves.

 

I suppose what I'm getting at is, when you set up the backup schedule, does the software (server backup or robocopy) have the ability to identify the drive you're telling it to back up to.

 

What would happen if you plugged one of the usb drives into a different port from where you set it up from.

 

Thanks

capall

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First, it is necessary to separate the data backup from the server backup.

 

For data backup using RoboCopy, it is absolutely possible to use 2 drives (or 2 sets of drives). It is what I do. One of my offsite data backup drive sets shows up as drive S: and the other as drive T:. I have written the CMD file so that it can detect if drive S: or drive T: is currently connected. It then Robocopies the data files to the currently connected drive. It aborts if no drive is connected.

 

I'm not so sure about the OS backup. As far as I know, that really can only be done by the Windows Server Backup software. I'm not sure if it can handle backing up to 2 different rotating drives. If you find out, please let us all know.

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yes, was aware that the OS needed its own backup drive, might have been yourself in fact earlier that told me, thanks...I think I just see why I might have confused what I was asking...I've just remembered that the server backup, while it can include data from the shares folders, (in vhd format on the backup drive), it still needs it's own drive.

 

Regarding your OS backup strategy, from your comments above "I keep the OS backup external, and rotate 2 drives offsite."..sounds like I misinterpreted this, to mean that you have 2 drives rotating for your OS backup. But, I believe you meant you have one taster drive for the OS backup, and a set of drives that get rotated offsite in the "offsite" 503.

 

In the case of your data backup drive sets (the Lian Li 503's), which I assume you're talking about, ("nearline" and "offsite"), if I understand correctly, you have the drive bays always connected, and show up to the server as drive S and T, however, I was wondering about the situation if you were to physically unplug each one.

For example, if I wanted to back up one of the 2Tb internal drives, with 2 rotating offsite USB 2TB drives, and use either robocopy / alwway sync etc to sync the data, will I run into problems with an

automated script if the drives are physically unplugged from the servers USB ports each time they are rotated back to the server for a backup?

 

If the 2 rotating drives must stay connected to the usb ports, then I now understand that I would need either a hot swap toaster or a multi-bay enclosure with Raid 5 (because no port multiplier on microserver), such as the 503 as the backup source, depending on how much I want to back up....correct?

 

 

thanks

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Regarding your OS backup strategy, from your comments above "I keep the OS backup external, and rotate 2 drives offsite."..sounds like I misinterpreted this, to mean that you have 2 drives rotating for your OS backup. But, I believe you meant you have one taster drive for the OS backup, and a set of drives that get rotated offsite in the "offsite" 503.

Correct. The Nearline 503 is always connected and the drives do not get removed, except to be SpinRited. The OffSite 503 has 2 sets of drives. The procedure is:

  1. RDP into the server;
  2. Use the Windows USB System Tray tool to Eject the OffSite 503 unit;
  3. Power down the OffSite 503;
  4. Remove the drives from the OffSite 503 and place them in a Pelican case for transport to the offsite location;
  5. When the other set of OffSite drives arrive home, place them into the OffSite 503 and power it on.

In the case of your data backup drive sets (the Lian Li 503's), which I assume you're talking about, ("nearline" and "offsite"), if I understand correctly, you have the drive bays always connected, and show up to the server as drive S and T

Not quite. As I mentioned above, the NearLine 503 is always connected, and is configured as drive N:. One set of OffSite drives is configured to show up as drive S:; the other set is configured as drive T:.

 

however, I was wondering about the situation if you were to physically unplug each one. For example, if I wanted to back up one of the 2Tb internal drives, with 2 rotating offsite USB 2TB drives, and use either robocopy / alwway sync etc to sync the data, will I run into problems with anbautomated script if the drives are physically unplugged from the servers USB ports each time they are rotated back to the server for a backup?

No, it won't cause problems. As stated above, I actually turn the OffSite 503 off before cycling the drives. When I turn the unit back on, it is discovered, the drive configuration is read and drive S: or T: is again available for backup. My CMD file detects if there is no drive S; or T: available and aborts.

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as the saying goes, "its all clear now!"

Thanks for the detailed description. really beginning to get a handle on my backup strategy now.

 

Where can I get info on how to configure a drive (in the case of a single usb portable drive) or set of drives (eg 503) as a letter that will be remembered after its disconnected and subsequently reconnected. It sounds like this process involves identifying the drive ID to the backup/sync software?

 

If I was using 2 portable usb drives to rotate, do they have to plug into the same usb port each time they are rotated?

 

Thanks

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That article is not wrong, but it seems a little overly complicated. If Computer shows up in your Start Menu, simply right-click on Computer and select Manage. If you don't have Computer in your Start Menu then open Windows Explorer and right-click on Computer in there.

 

In Computer Management click on Disk Management (under Storage). Next, find the USB drive, right-click on the partition you want to change and select Change Drive Letter and Paths. Set the USB drive to the drive letter you want and, voila!

 

Do the same for the other USB drive. Make sure not to use the same drive letter for the other USB drive.

 

I'm not 100% certain about whether you have to plug each enclosure in the same USB port each time but I think I would, just in case. To ensure I'm always plugging into the same USB port, I would unplug the USB cable from the drive enclosure rather than the computer. That way, the cable is always in the same port automatically.

 

I'm also not sure if you can use the same USB port for both enclosures or not. I would try it and see.

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