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Backup strategy suggestions?


ChrisCowles
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I've read some of the backup strategies here but most seem way more than I need. Also, I'm unclear on what I should protect with the server backup utility.

 

I have WHS 2011 running on an HP N40L microserver. My storage of shared and user files doesn't include recorded TV or movies. As of now 1TB total data storage (not including client backups) is more than enough for that purpose. In addition to the shared data, my primary use of the server is automated client backups. I have experience doing a bare metal restore from WHSv1 and find option that very valuable.

 

Drive configuration:

  1. The OS is on a 2.5" hardware raid pair in an IcyDock MB982SPR-2S in the OD compartment. That's all that's on that drive.
  2. Data storage is comprised of 2 x 1TB WD Green hard drives + 1 x 2TB WD Red hard drive. The 2TB is partitioned into 2 x 1TB volumes.
    • 1 x 1TB hard drive + 1 x 1TB partition (on the 2TB drive) are pooled using DrivePool. All WHS shares are in the pool, and duplicated.
      (I started out with DrivePool because I had a variety of smaller used drives and no money for new ones.)
    • 1 x 1TB hard drives is dedicated to server backup using the utility in WHS.
    • 1 x 1TB partition (on the 2TB drive) is used for client backups. Also, it's a backup destination for a remote laptop, using CrashPlan.

I'm lazy. For any backup plan to have a slight chance of success it can't require me to swap drives, move something off-site, etc. It just won't happen. I need an automated process that transfers data offsite automatically for secure storage. I have a subscription to CrashPlan+ for that purpose.

 

Questions:

 

To be able to restore the server, what should I back up locally with the server backup utility? I set it up and quickly filled the 1 TB drive I allotted so I either selected way to much to back up or badly underestimated the storage requirements. Just how much server protection is required, anyway? I have the OS install disks. I can rebuild it if I have to, as long as the data are preserved. It would be inconvenient but I'm not dependent on it for my livelihood.

 

Is it reasonable to back up the client backups to CrashPlan?

 

Using DrivePool results in the need to back up both parts of the pool, if I want to store it off the server. Or, since I have only 2 drives in the pool and everything is duplicated, that means each pool contains the same data. Is it sufficient to back up only one part of the pool?

 

Because of the data duplication issue, and because I can afford to buy another 2TB drive if indicated, am I better off buying another 2TB WD red, abandoning DrivePool, and rearranging the volumes with use of RAID1? If I store the data shares in RAID it looks like only 1 set of data to the backup system, no? In that case, what happens if a drive dies? How easy is it to replace and rebuild the array, using the RAID system available in the N40L Microserver? I'm not going to buy a new storage controller or invest in other software utilities, nor buy a separate external drive.

 

I'm not so paranoid that I'm willing to set up a RAID5 array. I'm not interested in investing that much money or effort. I don't expect 100% bulletproof no-chance-of-ever-failing backup, but I want a reasonable chance of reducing the risk of data loss to a pretty low level, with modest effort.

 

Thanks for your time spent reading my long question, and replying.

 

 

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Wow, a lot of questions. Not sure I can absorb it all.

 

First, how much backup you need is dependent on you. No one else can answer that for you. The basic question I always suggest to people is to ask themselves how upset they would be if they woke up tomorrow morning and some particular data was gone.

 

I see nothing wrong with using CrashPlan to back up your Client PC backups, providing you can afford the bandwidth and storage.

 

Not sure what you mean by "both parts of the pool". Are you talking about the duplication? If so, I don't know why you would need to back it up. I would back up using the DrivePool's drive letter rather than the driver letters of the individual drives.

 

I don't see any reason to abandon DrivePool.

 

Not sure what to say about external backup except I think it's a good idea. I think a 3 or 4 TB drive in an external enclosure or drive toaster could back up your entire system and provide a reasonable degree of security with very little effort; It could provide safety from a catastrophic server failure. And, it could be fully automated so you would have little to no maintenance.

 

Those are a few thoughts....

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Wow, a lot of questions. Not sure I can absorb it all.

 

I appreciate your patience.

 

Not sure what you mean by "both parts of the pool". Are you talking about the duplication? If so, I don't know why you would need to back it up. I would back up using the DrivePool's drive letter rather than the driver letters of the individual drives.

 

According to these instructions, StableBit support says you have to select the parts of the pool rather than the drive letter.

 

"... Additionally, server backups requires the volume to be on a disk that stores actual bits on it. Since DrivePool is a virtual disk that stores its data on one or more physical disks, there is no single image that can be taken of the pool drive. ... "

 

That applies to using Server Backup and I inferred that it applies to other backup tools. Perhaps I erred in doing so, since CrashPlan apparently doesn't have the same requirements? If I can (and it seems now that I should) backup to CrashPlan using DrivePool's drive letter, perhaps I should migrate the client backups into the pool, and just backup the pool?

 

Adopting that strategy, what does the server backup utility protect, that CrashPlan doesn't? The OS, obviously, but what is unique about server backup that I can't replicate with the install disk? If I'm willing to accept reinstall as a requirement for restoration, what minimum amount must I back up with Server Backup to be able to restore the previous configuration? Does the server backup utility provide a means of bare metal restore, in the same sense that WHS provides bare metal restore for client backups?

 

Thanks

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You nailed it: Windows Server Backup does provide Bare Metal Restore. Moreover, it can restore your server to working condition much faster than a reinstall. It can restore the entire server if you like, I just keep a 250GB HDD in an external enclosure connected to my server via USb3. It backs up only the OS drive to the external enclosure once a day. You actually use the WHS2011 installation disk to do a Restore.

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I've read some of the backup strategies here but most seem way more than I need. Also, I'm unclear on what I should protect with the server backup utility.

 

I have WHS 2011 running on an HP N40L microserver. My storage of shared and user files doesn't include recorded TV or movies. As of now 1TB total data storage (not including client backups) is more than enough for that purpose. In addition to the shared data, my primary use of the server is automated client backups. I have experience doing a bare metal restore from WHSv1 and find option that very valuable.

 

Drive configuration:

  1. The OS is on a 2.5" hardware raid pair in an IcyDock MB982SPR-2S in the OD compartment. That's all that's on that drive.
  2. Data storage is comprised of 2 x 1TB WD Green hard drives + 1 x 2TB WD Red hard drive. The 2TB is partitioned into 2 x 1TB volumes.
    • 1 x 1TB hard drive + 1 x 1TB partition (on the 2TB drive) are pooled using DrivePool. All WHS shares are in the pool, and duplicated.

      (I started out with DrivePool because I had a variety of smaller used drives and no money for new ones.)

    • 1 x 1TB hard drives is dedicated to server backup using the utility in WHS.
    • 1 x 1TB partition (on the 2TB drive) is used for client backups. Also, it's a backup destination for a remote laptop, using CrashPlan.

I'm lazy. For any backup plan to have a slight chance of success it can't require me to swap drives, move something off-site, etc. It just won't happen. I need an automated process that transfers data offsite automatically for secure storage. I have a subscription to CrashPlan+ for that purpose.

 

Questions:

 

To be able to restore the server, what should I back up locally with the server backup utility? I set it up and quickly filled the 1 TB drive I allotted so I either selected way to much to back up or badly underestimated the storage requirements. Just how much server protection is required, anyway? I have the OS install disks. I can rebuild it if I have to, as long as the data are preserved. It would be inconvenient but I'm not dependent on it for my livelihood.

 

Is it reasonable to back up the client backups to CrashPlan?

 

Using DrivePool results in the need to back up both parts of the pool, if I want to store it off the server. Or, since I have only 2 drives in the pool and everything is duplicated, that means each pool contains the same data. Is it sufficient to back up only one part of the pool?

 

Because of the data duplication issue, and because I can afford to buy another 2TB drive if indicated, am I better off buying another 2TB WD red, abandoning DrivePool, and rearranging the volumes with use of RAID1? If I store the data shares in RAID it looks like only 1 set of data to the backup system, no? In that case, what happens if a drive dies? How easy is it to replace and rebuild the array, using the RAID system available in the N40L Microserver? I'm not going to buy a new storage controller or invest in other software utilities, nor buy a separate external drive.

 

I'm not so paranoid that I'm willing to set up a RAID5 array. I'm not interested in investing that much money or effort. I don't expect 100% bulletproof no-chance-of-ever-failing backup, but I want a reasonable chance of reducing the risk of data loss to a pretty low level, with modest effort.

 

Thanks for your time spent reading my long question, and replying.

 

 

Without repeating what others said, the only thing I would not recommend is backing up your "client backup" to crashplan.  You can back up the clients independently but do not do the the actual client backup from WHS.

 

Your question on Drivepool is yes.  You do not need to backup both parts of the duplication.

 

Drive pool will behave much like a RAID 1 so it is really up to you.  Both should be duplicated an both should rebuild.  Personally I would stick with drive pool.

 

Good luck with you backup strategy.  BTW just for clarification, building a RAID 5 does not really have anything to do with being paranoid but rather getting the most storage from your drives and still getting some redundancy.

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You nailed it: Windows Server Backup does provide Bare Metal Restore. Moreover, it can restore your server to working condition much faster than a reinstall. It can restore the entire server if you like, I just keep a 250GB HDD in an external enclosure connected to my server via USb3. It backs up only the OS drive to the external enclosure once a day. You actually use the WHS2011 installation disk to do a Restore.

Now that I know that, and the fact that I can backup to CrashPlan directly from the pool, I'm more confident with my plan. I'll backup only the OS using Windows Server Backup. That's a small drive so I can recycle an older drive by putting it in an external enclosure.

 

Does the server backup create separate copies each time? Or it is just a single copy, with incremental additions? The current OS size being only ~30GB, how much would I need?

 

All data, including client backups, will be in DrivePool, and duplicated. I have a lot of space so including the client backups in the pool isn't costing me anything.

 

Since the pool drive appears to CrashPlan as a drive letter, I'll create a directory in the pool to use as a CrashPlan storage directory. That addresses the floating laptop that I backup with CrashPlan to the server.

 

I'll backup the entire pool to CrashPlan online, as my off-site backup.

 

 

Without repeating what others said, the only thing I would not recommend is backing up your "client backup" to crashplan.  You can back up the clients independently but do not do the actual client backup from WHS.

 

Why not? Am I missing something? I'm aware of file lock conflicts but those can be avoided by scheduling CrashPlan around the client backup window.

 

Thanks to all for sharing your knowledge.

 

Chris

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You nailed it: Windows Server Backup does provide Bare Metal Restore. Moreover, it can restore your server to working condition much faster than a reinstall. It can restore the entire server if you like, I just keep a 250GB HDD in an external enclosure connected to my server via USb3. It backs up only the OS drive to the external enclosure once a day. You actually use the WHS2011 installation disk to do a Restore.

Now that I know that, and the fact that I can backup to CrashPlan directly from the pool, I'm more confident with my plan. I'll backup only the OS using Windows Server Backup. That's a small drive so I can recycle an older drive by putting it in an external enclosure.

 

Does the server backup create separate copies each time? Or it is just a single copy, with incremental additions? The current OS size being only ~30GB, how much would I need?

 

All data, including client backups, will be in DrivePool, and duplicated. I have a lot of space so including the client backups in the pool isn't costing me anything.

 

Since the pool drive appears to CrashPlan as a drive letter, I'll create a directory in the pool to use as a CrashPlan storage directory. That addresses the floating laptop that I backup with CrashPlan to the server.

 

I'll backup the entire pool to CrashPlan online, as my off-site backup.

 

 

Without repeating what others said, the only thing I would not recommend is backing up your "client backup" to crashplan.  You can back up the clients independently but do not do the actual client backup from WHS.

 

Why not? Am I missing something? I'm aware of file lock conflicts but those can be avoided by scheduling CrashPlan around the client backup window.

 

Thanks to all for sharing your knowledge.

 

Chris

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Windows Server backups are incremental, when the target volume on which you are doing the backups starts to run low on space, the oldest incremental backups are deleted. It is fairly fire-and-forget.

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