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External Drive Full Server Backup


joem
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If, for example, I use a rotating external backup routine and plan on using a three disk rotation, I notice that when you install the first disk via eSata in my case, there is no drive letter assigned to it though you can backup to it. If I assign a drive letter to the disk through disk management and backup to it and remove the disk and insert a second one for external backup would it get assigned the same drive letter? Or is it best practice to not assign a drive letter. Without a drive letter you cannot explore the disk to checkout the backups. I would test this myself but I am waiting for a power supply replacement for my test server. Thanks.

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To the best of my knowledge, you cannot see the Drive Letter because the Drive has been taken off line. You should see it in Disk Management. How big of a drive are you talking about?

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Issues like this are one reason I use USB for my external offsite drives.

 

However, I believe you should try giving each drive a different letter. From what I recall, the signature info for a drive is stored physically on the drive itself. After each drive has been given a letter, run the following test: disconnect the currently connected drive and connect another one, and see if it shows up with the correct drive letter. I do this with my USB connected drives and it works beautifully.

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There is a command where you can make the drive letter persistent to a device. USB 3.0 is going to be faster than eSata, right?

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USB 3.0 is going to be faster than eSata, right?

 

I think they're pretty comparable: i.e. not enough difference to matter all that much. What I do caution about with USB-3 is to test, test, test, to be sure you are actually getting USB-3 performance. There are a lot of so-called USB-3 devices out there (add-in cards, drive enclosures, etc.) that do not perform as they should. In fact, some of them aren't even as good as USB-2.

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Thanks for the replies. I will test this when I get that power supply for my test server. Should be here tomorrow. I'll try all variants to this and see what works best.

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Three drive roatation:

So far eSata is not the way to go about this. You need a different drive letter for each drive you rotate and you would have to go in and change the backup settings each time. I have one the HP proliant microservers and it won't hotswap eSata. Not good if using a rotating drive system. I'll try it with USB soon and see how that works. It should be a system whereby you just unplug a drive and put another in and it is all automated. If you are scheduling the backup at night you just pop out the drive that was backed up to and put the other in and it just seemlinessly backsup to it and on and on.

OK now I know this is contradictory to below here but I am going to try it anyway. It just seems to me that if you insert another drive the backup program is looking for a USB driver with the same drive letter.

 

"Issues like this are one reason I use USB for my external offsite drives.

However, I believe you should try giving each drive a different letter. From what I recall, the signature info for a drive is stored physically on the drive itself. After each drive has been given a letter, run the following test: disconnect the currently connected drive and connect another one, and see if it shows up with the correct drive letter. I do this with my USB connected drives and it works beautifully."

 

Please override me on my thinking here if you think or know I am wrong. Thanks.

Edited by joem
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In my experiments I found that I could not have 2 different backup drives (let's call them 1 and 2) both labeled with the same drive letter. IOW, drive 1 and drive 2 could not both be labeled as drive W for backup purposes. It made drive detection unreliable.

 

What I did was label my external backup drives (I have 2 of them) as A and B (since no one uses floppy disks any more). I then created a CMD file that runs RoboCopy to back up my data to the external drive that's currently connected.

 

The first thing the CMD file does is detect which of the backup drives is connected, then it uses variable substitution to adjust the actual RoboCopy commands so they copy to the correct drive letter. If no backup drive is detected, it simply quits. In all cases it creates a dated log file of the results.

 

The one thing I have to do manually is RDP into the server and use the System Tray tool to disconnect the USB drive.

 

BTW: I used the same technique when I was using eSATA. I did configure the drives for quick removal and, even though my system was not hot-swap enabled, I never had any data loss that I noticed, and the system never complained about the drives being funky in any way. Basically, as long as the drives are idle long enough for the cache(s) to be flushed, there should be little to no danger of data loss or corruption.

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I think I will just do a manual backup each evening when I leave via USB. Too bad you just can't figure a static port for backups that just works for any disk you insert into that USB port. I suppose I could fiddle with this later when I have more time. But at least the backup job is reliable according to my testing.

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