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Thoughts on Backup


pcdoc
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I want to bring up a controversial point as there has been allot of discussion lately about the backup and 2T limitations of 2011 and I wanted to offer some counter points, as I do not believe we are putting things into perspective. This not intended to be a rant but rather some thoughts to keep things in perspective.

 

With regards to the 2T limit in V2, we do not know whether or not there was a limit in V1 as in my opinion V1 did not have a "real" backup at all. It had a folder sync/File copy of sorts that was completely manual with no ability to backup the OS and no scheduled backup of the shares. Shares where backup manually (much like a snyc program) and client backups where handled through another manual addin to an external drive via BDBB. Most are talking about a limitation of 2T and not being able to backup shares but in reality that is 2T more than we had before and most V1 users setup duplication and did not back up at all as it was done manually. If you need to backup shared that are larger than 2T you can still use something like alwaysync which is far more automated than V1 ever was. If data is actually critical, then a mirror setup is far more efficient and performs better than folder duplication ever did in V1. Keep in mind that when you parse down your requirements, that we may want to backup your entire movie collection, however separating the critical data to be backed up and putting it on a separate mirrored drive, not backing up the client databases as part of the backup program, and using a weekly or month sync of the client database and larger shares is more protection than we had in V1 and is far more automated than V1. Is it perfect, No far from it. But to keep things real, we came from nothing where everything was done manually to at least getting some of the features we want most notably the ability to backup the OS and critical shares. Nothing stops us from using third party addins just like V1. My main point is that people should not steer away from V2 because of 2T limit as that limit really is not a problem if your strategy is handled accordingly. Plan your storage requirements, figure out what is critical and setup your hardware to assure yourself that you are covered and if you do this correctly, I can almost guarantee that you will be more secure than with V1 and with allot less manual intervention. Just my two cents as for one, I am happy to have a real backup program that backs up the OS. Agree or Disagree, would like to hear your perspective...

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There are things I like about v2 over v1 and there are things I like about v1 over v1. I just hit the 2TB backup limit and now I am having problems. So this weekend I guess I get to figure something out.

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I disagree, a little. V1 had backup functionality for all the shares if you didn't add a drive to the pool. While you had to kick the backup off manually, it automatically coppied your shares to the hard drive and there was no limit. other than the number of hard drives. I usually had two external drives attached and one was for important video's and the other was for critcal files and photo's. Each drive would backup up about 1.5 TB of data. All I ever had to do was kickoff the backup. With a reminder in Outlook set, I never forgot a backup and it would back up well over 2 TB.

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I use Tivoli Storage Manager to back up to some SAN space at work via a perm VPN connection with a 5 versions copy. That is then taken offsite in LTO5s for a true Disaster Recovery. Average daily backup only takes 15 min. since TSM works on a incremental forever philosophy. Prior to this test I was backing up with Back-Up Exec to an attached LTO4 with that copy going to work to go in the offsite backup on monday mornings for a revolving 5 week back up at Iron Mountain. Guess it comes from being the backup administrator along with other hats at work.

 

I take them very seriously as I have seen many a man hour wasted due to poor backup practices. I always have the following:

Raid due to media failure (bad drive)

1 due to human stupidity (someone deletes)

1 offsite in case of disaster (tornado/fire)

1 at storage facility in case the vehicle/line that carries the offsite is destroyed in a fiery crash (Dallas traffic)

and lastly test them do not trust them. hmm reminds me of the 1 ring prophesy from LotR.

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I fall into the camp that the 2TB backup limit isn't a problem. Like pcdoc mentioned, backup with v1 was pretty much non-existent so I was never in the habit of backing up via the server. With v1 I did a rather cumbersome sync to external drives for music/video and used Keepvault for an online backup of the non-video files.

With 2011 it's pretty much the same thing. I used the built in backup for the OS and computer backups. For everything I've gone to Cloudberry for backups. In addition to online backups it does backups to attached or network local drives. Cloudberry sends my music/video files to a share on my old v1 box. It's not a cheap backup solution but I already had the hardware and I've always been paranoid about backups so am willing to pay a bit for reliability. This has the added benefit of being online and in one place if my WHS 2011 box fails for any reason.

I was one of those disgusted with the changes to WHS 2011 but have to admit the more I've used it the more I like it better than v1. I did have to change my mindset and not consider it an upgrade from v1 but a new product which required me to rethink the way I do things. Which isn't bad to do every once in awhile.

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I fall into the camp that the 2TB backup limit isn't a problem. Like pcdoc mentioned, backup with v1 was pretty much non-existent so I was never in the habit of backing up via the server. With v1 I did a rather cumbersome sync to external drives for music/video and used Keepvault for an online backup of the non-video files.

With 2011 it's pretty much the same thing. I used the built in backup for the OS and computer backups. For everything I've gone to Cloudberry for backups. In addition to online backups it does backups to attached or network local drives. Cloudberry sends my music/video files to a share on my old v1 box. It's not a cheap backup solution but I already had the hardware and I've always been paranoid about backups so am willing to pay a bit for reliability. This has the added benefit of being online and in one place if my WHS 2011 box fails for any reason.

I was one of those disgusted with the changes to WHS 2011 but have to admit the more I've used it the more I like it better than v1. I did have to change my mindset and not consider it an upgrade from v1 but a new product which required me to rethink the way I do things. Which isn't bad to do every once in awhile.

 

 

Nice summary and you hit on the head, mindset.

 

I use Tivoli Storage Manager to back up to some SAN space at work via a perm VPN connection with a 5 versions copy. That is then taken offsite in LTO5s for a true Disaster Recovery. Average daily backup only takes 15 min. since TSM works on a incremental forever philosophy. Prior to this test I was backing up with Back-Up Exec to an attached LTO4 with that copy going to work to go in the offsite backup on monday mornings for a revolving 5 week back up at Iron Mountain. Guess it comes from being the backup administrator along with other hats at work.

 

I take them very seriously as I have seen many a man hour wasted due to poor backup practices. I always have the following:

Raid due to media failure (bad drive)

1 due to human stupidity (someone deletes)

1 offsite in case of disaster (tornado/fire)

1 at storage facility in case the vehicle/line that carries the offsite is destroyed in a fiery crash (Dallas traffic)

and lastly test them do not trust them. hmm reminds me of the 1 ring prophesy from LotR.

 

 

Very thorough solution. More than most will do but you can never have too many backups when data is critical.

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I disagree, a little. V1 had backup functionality for all the shares if you didn't add a drive to the pool. While you had to kick the backup off manually, it automatically coppied your shares to the hard drive and there was no limit. other than the number of hard drives. I usually had two external drives attached and one was for important video's and the other was for critcal files and photo's. Each drive would backup up about 1.5 TB of data. All I ever had to do was kickoff the backup. With a reminder in Outlook set, I never forgot a backup and it would back up well over 2 TB.

 

Good point but I would not say you did not have a limit though as I for one never backed up more than 2T of data to a "single" drive. Lets not forget that V1 did not support drives over 2T. Cumativly you are right you could put differnt things in different places which did make a bit easier.

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Apparently, I hit the 2TB limit over a week ago and the system has not backed anything up since then. I want my servers to just run and not need baby sitting as I rarely interact directly with them. So I was a bit surprised when I found out it stopped backing up since I don't remember seeing any warnings on my PC. Sure now that I know there is a problem if I click on the little "show hidden icons" thing on the task bar of the PC I can see the server icon is red, but didn't v1 give you a popup warning if something was wrong?

 

I use WHS for one main purpose, backing up the PC's, and not much else. So if it can't do that or if it is going to need me to baby sit it, then I need another solution. Does Windows Storage Server have the same 2TB limit? I hope not since it can back up 25 PC's vs the 10 of WHS.

 

As for WHS v1, I used Crashplan to backup all the shares and the PC backups. So for me, v1 just worked and rarely needed me to interact with it directly.

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Is it that the backup of all data on the server must be under 2TB or just a single share or partition?

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From what I understand, if you want to backup a share or shares, the total size for the backup has to be under 2TB. If you have a RAID with a share greater than 2TB as part of your pool, then you can not include that share into the backup. ( also if you hacked in a 3TB GPT).

 

With v1, if you have a large RAID enclosure as a backup device (like a Drobo or such)and your shared folder or folders that you choose in the backup option on your v1 box is larger than 2TB then you can easily back that up no problem.

 

With v1 you could also choose to backup different shares to different backup devices. So lets say you have a Norco case with 20 drives, you can in 1 pass, backup 10 drives to 10 other backup drives.

 

You could use an addin like WHStrigger to schedule the v1 backups.

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