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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A customer that I do work with is sick of having to change a backup tape every day. They want to know if there is a way to avoid this. One way I know is to just have it backup to the same tape everyday but I definitely don't want to do that because if that tapes goes bad they could be screwed. Anyone have any suggestions? I was thinking of maybe having a backup server. How would that work? What software would I need to have certain files/folders copied onto another pc/server? Any suggestions on how to accomplish this would be appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm not to knowledgeable about backup software and such. I just know how to run the software we have. Can you explain how an auto loader or tape library works? Where can I get these? Do I need a different type of software (we use IOMEGA backup Pro)? Do I need different tapes?

There is only one backup tape each day from Monday-Saturday. It is backed up in the middle of the night at like 2 am. Speaking of, that is another issue we will be having. They are going to become a 24 hour clinic in the very near future which means that someone will be on the computer all day and all night. I know if the backups try to backup a file that is currently being used, it will freeze and not finish the backup. Is there any way to get around this? Is there some sort of program that will wait until that file is free and then continue to backup? Any suggestions?
 

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We currently have 2 tape devices. An LTO-3 and a Sony AIT2 Tape Library. We also use Veritas Backupexec 10.0 software. Now granted the this isn't a cheap setup hardware or software. Our LTO-3 drive was 4K by itself.
The Sony will hold 15 tapes and you can schedule the backup to run anytime. We have it doing full backups on 2 tapes for our graphics arts department every night. We don't have to change tapes.
We plan on getting rid of the Sony and getting an LTO-3 autoloader since it is about 4x faster and holds about 4x as much data.
http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/pvaul_124tlto3?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd

I know if the backups try to backup a file that is currently being used, it will freeze and not finish the backup. Is there any way to get around this? Is there some sort of program that will wait until that file is free and then continue to backup? Any suggestions?
Usually you do not need to worry about this on a Win2K3 environment when you use Volume Shadow Copy.
http://technet2.microsoft.com/Windo...b7d8-42c3-b6c9-59c145b7765f1033.mspx?mfr=true
 

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One tape a night.

Honestly the cost of upgrading the equipment is more than someone taking the time to change one tape a day. If someone in my organization asked for me to set something up so they didn't have to change one tape a day I would hand them a tissue and leave the room.

That is why I asked that question.
 

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The only reason we are investing in a LTO-3 tape library is because we are starting to get close to 600GB backup a night and don't want to spead it across 2 separate units.
 

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We have just gone through a backup refurbish. We are no longer using backup tapes nightly. as we done before. Each night we would have 2 AIT 3 tape drive and 1 AIT 2 drive run, with Veritas 10.0.

Our new solution was to keep the backup tape drives for monthy offsite backup and use disk to disk backups. We currently have 1 Terabit of hard drive space and that's where our backups go. We have view 3 backup software companies. Veritas 11.0, very expensive about 4K. Arch serv was about 3K, and the software we went with was from EMC. We have already intalled the full trial version and like it. It's simple to use.

Hope this helps.
 

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I have a quantum Sdlt4 autoloader (8 to 16 tapes) works great. Its also huge 800gb/1600gb we are very happy with it. We paid 4500$ for it so its not cheap.
 

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Tapeless Backup

I use one from SonicWall. It's their CDP (Continuous Data Protection). It's far less expensive than a tape library (especially LTO). We use one with an 800GB capacity, so there is plenty of space.

We, too, are a 24 hour operation. This device includes the option (like most other worthwhile software) to backup SQL databases while they are opened and I set a "kill" program that disconnects any open sessions in our dBase database so it can be backed up (in the middle of the night we can afford 1/2 an hour with no e-mail).

The CDP keeps about 10 (maybe 15) copies of the files it is storing too. It is also a great first step in establishing a disaster recovery plan - we will be connecting another CDP for offsite backup a few buildings down.

The best part is - no more tape. Recovering from tape is a full time job. On the CDP it takes seconds (for small jobs) and a bare -metal restore is exponentially faster than a tape drive (assuming your tapes have enough info to provide this).

You won't regret moving to this appliance.

Po
 

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hmmm a real sql backup application can backup the DB with users connected. hell the enterprise manager builr into sql can do it.

if you just want a diskbackup thats fine for a online backup .. but you should have offsite backups also

the Sonic wall product is neat, similor to the product retrospect. Would be a nice product if you could get a size bigger then 1.2TB
 

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can also depend on the amount of $$ they want to spend, yada yada...
A thought could be 2 sans. 1 at their site, taking scheduled snapshots, etc. the 2nd being at a DR site somewhere, and have scheduled replication (only changes) between them. That would kill birds with one stone. a DR plan and backup plan.

Or cheaper, johnny rigged way... do backups with whatever software you have currently, or with the built in NTBackup utility. Backup to a file ( preventing overwriting each day) then use the scheduler and schedule a batch file to copy the backup file to another location. again, trying to kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

2nd way isn't as pretty, but will work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well we aren't that large of a company so prob would rather not spend too much money on this. It is more of a convenience thing and if its going to cost us several grand then we prob would just have someone change the tape each day.

The other thing is that I am not incredibly savvy when it comes to backups and such so alot of what you are suggesting is going over my head slightly unfortunately. Could you give me more specific instructions on how we can get this done? I appreciate all the suggestions that you all have given me so far. They have been helpful but I think I need a little more guidance. Thanks guys.
 

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So they're looking at spending as little as possible to accomplish this, and do it with the resources they have available now?

They're going to want to do something on a daily basis. As u said, leaving the same tape in and overwriting (or even not overwriting) backups will wear that tape out quick, and have a higher risk of failure or corruption.

What do they do with the backup tapes they change out now? are they kept at the office or a company pick them up and keep them off site? This could be a factor on how to proceed with a cheap and less frustrating way of backing up, without putting the company's data at any more risk than it is now.
 

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SANs are very expencive.
400-800 per FC card per server.
3000+ per FC switch
5000+ FC disk array

you dont do SANs unless you have 10k to 20k to spend

Tape autoloaders work by having one tape drive, and X amount of slots. for example mine has 8 or 16 slots. So you setup the backup to run everynight and you configure pools of media.

I have 3 pools daily, weekly, monthy.

each day it pulls a tape from the daily pool and does a differential backup to it, when done marks it as a "save" tape. It uses one tape each day.

When its time for the weekly full backup it takes a tape from the weekly pool and does the same thing.

same for monthy.

We keep 5 daily backups on hand at any time, 3 weeklys, and 12 monthlys. Once tape expires we reuse them.

so daily tapes expire after 5 days.
weekly after 4 days
monthly after 12 months

if any tape fills up, it automaticly picks another tape frm the pool (if one is free) and continues to the next tape. Hope that helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So an autoloader is going to cost at least a couple grand as well huh? But I am guessing that is our cheapest option if they don't want to spend the 30 seconds a day changing out a tape.

Right now they just keep all of the tapes onsite which I know is a bad idea. What do you recommend? Someone taking home the day before's tape every day and then just bringing it back the next day? Also, how long should you use a backup tape, that is backed up onto once a week, before you risk it going bad?
 

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If you do full backups, take home the previous days backup. If you do full then incrementals, then you will need to take home the last full back up plus all backups up to the last full one. If you do differentials, then you just need last full plus the last differential.

We rotate about a months worth of tapes so we usually replace them in about 3 years time. Veritas verifies the backup after it is completed and it usually does a fairly decient job.
 

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as for what to do with the tapes, that depends a lot on the nature of your business, and the policies that drive it. I know with me, being in the healthcare industry, I can't bring tapes home. It has PHI (protected health information) on it. We have a Business Associate agreement with a Records company, and they come out and pickup/dropoff the tapes on a schedule we specify (whether it be daily, weekly or whatever). that way, the tapes are stored offsite in case our building burns down...

The tapes usually say how many times they think they can be used over before needing replaced. Most can go longer than that. I'd just watch the backup logs every day to make sure the backup completed with no errors.
 

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you should be able to bring them home if you have a tape drive that encrypts the tapes, there are a few models that do.

Autoloaders are great if your backups span more then one tape.
 
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