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Backup scheme advice please


j_cocker
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I bought one of the ProLiant N40L's, put 2 x 3TB HDDs + 8GB or RAM in it, and am now looking to set it up.

 

What I am looking to achieve:

 

- A media server for  streaming mainly videos and some audio to (potentially) 3xPCs (all running Win7 Home Premium), 2 TV's and a couple of Android devices
(not at the same time…). It will primarily stream to the TVs.

- a FLEXIBLE backup solution for the 3 x PCs. i.e. have the option to only backup specific folders, vary between 'simple copy', 'synchronise', etc. Can't see myself ever wanting to back up a whole PC/HDD on a sector by sector basis.

- Ability to manage it remotely and, if possible as an added bonus, access it remotely over the web.

- Low-cost solution (no £'000 on software).

- OS/software MUST be Windows -based.

 

Media server is not a problem - I'll run Serviio or similar on the server, with whatever OS I have running on it.

 

Flexibility is the most important aspect of the backup scheme for me. Each PC has 2 HDDs, and each of them backs up the critical files/folders of the other two on its spare HDD. The server is to be used to merely add another layer of backup. Unfortunately I didn't do my homework properly, and ended up buying a copy of WHS 2011, which despite all my efforts to set it up wouldn't provide solution that I am after.

 

My question therefore is:


 

- Should I drop WHS and use a copy of Win7 Ultimate that  I also have? I can them used Remote Desktop Connection to manage the 'server'. Also, two of the PCs are only turned on sporadically, so I can run something like SecondCopy on them that will back then up to the server whenever they are turned on. I can also run a copy of SecondCopy on the server that will ensure that its two HDDs are mirrored. Alternatively I can use the RAID-1 solution on the server to achieve that instead. It is not a perfect
backup solution, but I am comfortable with it, and prefer its flexibility to that offered by WHS.

 

How does that sound?
 

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Seems like you are answering your own questions.  I think you will find that most users on these forums would lean toward using WHS2011 especially when you already own a copy.

 

I am curious why WHS2011 won't work for you?  You don't have to use the built in back up solution.  You could simply use Robocopy or something similar to sync the specific folders and shares that you want to back up.

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I agree with using WHS2011. Your backup solution can be tailored to suit your needs. Mine is.

 

I use WHS Client Backup only to back up the OS drive in my client PCs. This is so I can easily do bare metal restores of any client PC in a quick manner. My data is located on a 2nd drive in my client PCs and is copied to shared folders on my WHS using batch files that run RoboCopy commands. The batch files are launched by Scheduled Tasks.

 

IMHO, WHS is the best bare metal client PC backup available. Acronis is fine, but WHS is still better overall.

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Seems like you are answering your own questions.  I think you will find that most users on these forums would lean toward using WHS2011 especially when you already own a copy.

 

I am curious why WHS2011 won't work for you?  You don't have to use the built in back up solution.  You could simply use Robocopy or something similar to sync the specific folders and shares that you want to back up.

 

I guess so you are right and I was answering my own question... ;-)

 

WHS2011 doesn't seem to offer the flexibility that I am after, and its backup option just seem too simplistic. It sharing options are also pretty limited - e.g. cannot share top level folders, or nested folders.

 

I suppose I can simply use it as an OS, rather than a server OS, and set everything up myself as you suggested...

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I agree with using WHS2011. Your backup solution can be tailored to suit your needs. Mine is.

 

I use WHS Client Backup only to back up the OS drive in my client PCs. This is so I can easily do bare metal restores of any client PC in a quick manner. My data is located on a 2nd drive in my client PCs and is copied to shared folders on my WHS using batch files that run RoboCopy commands. The batch files are launched by Scheduled Tasks.

 

IMHO, WHS is the best bare metal client PC backup available. Acronis is fine, but WHS is still better overall.

 

Thanks for that. Note though that I am not looking to backup any drive image, just critical files/folder. The system is a simple home server solution.

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I saw that, but I must confess I can't quite understand why anyone would not want to have a simple, easy-to-restore backup of their client PCs, at least the system drive. The alternative is to always have to reinstall the OS from scratch any time a system gets too badly messed up. But, of course, it's your call; you have to do what works for you, so good luck with it.

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I would just use CrashPlan.  Run that on your server (it runs fine on WHS 2011) and your client PC's can back up to it.  Each PC can be configured to backup whatever files/folders you want.  That's all free too, BTW.  Of course if you want the added redundancy of backing up to the cloud then you'd need to pay for a Crashplan subscription.  (but the point is, that option exists for you by going this route)  

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Seems like you are answering your own questions. I think you will find that most users on these forums would lean toward using WHS2011 especially when you already own a copy.

 

I am curious why WHS2011 won't work for you? You don't have to use the built in back up solution. You could simply use Robocopy or something similar to sync the specific folders and shares that you want to back up.

 

I guess so you are right and I was answering my own question... ;-)

 

WHS2011 doesn't seem to offer the flexibility that I am after, and its backup option just seem too simplistic. It sharing options are also pretty limited - e.g. cannot share top level folders, or nested folders.

 

I suppose I can simply use it as an OS, rather than a server OS, and set everything up myself as you suggested...

 

Not true. I backup root folders and subfolders all the time.

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WHS 2011 has all of the backup features that Server 2008 has, but the dashboard GUI was thrown in there for simplification.  It's only limited by your imagination.

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Another alternative, if you have some spare space on the drives is Symform.  It's been covered a bit on the podcasts but I've just started using it and it's really simple.  Nice way to securely get your data in the cloud without having to spend any money.

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