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Small-Office Windows Based Backup Software? 136

Billhead asks: "My boss purchased a Quantum SDLT220 tape backup drive for our few computers in the office, and I have been put in charge of maintaining the backups. The only prior backup experience I have is with my home networks using Python scripts. We don't have any special needs, just encryption and scheduling. Our original backup software isn't compatible with the SDLT220, and other backup software we have tried have been horrible (unable to decrypt backups, memory leaks, unstable network backups). What does the Slashdot community use for small office backups?"
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Small-Office Windows Based Backup Software?

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  • EMC/Legato Networker (Score:3, Informative)

    by skroz ( 7870 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:32PM (#17465966) Homepage
    I've been using Legato (now EMC) Networker at a number of different sites for over ten years now. It's easy, reliable, and supports a wide range of hardware. It scales well, but can get quite expensive when you start adding large autoloaders into the mix.

    Their site [] should get you started. They'll set you up with a media kit and 45 day demo licenses if you request one.
    • by Dadoo ( 899435 )
      I've been using Legato (now EMC) Networker at a number of different sites for over ten years now.

      Not that my opinion means anything, but I'm surprised to hear anyone say that about Legato, especially 10 years ago. I used to work for a Unix VAR and, when we discovered it, we tried to sell it to 3 or 4 customers. They were so annoyed by it, every one of them insisted we replace it. I wrote shell scripts (using tar) for them and they've been happy ever since.

      I suppose the Windows version could be significantly
      • by skroz ( 7870 )
        Actually, the windows version is annoying, clunky, and makes my head hurt. I prefer the UNIX (and now Linux) versions because so much can be done from the command line when necessary. With Networker on UNIX, you can just use wrapper scripts around the basic commands if the GUI doesn't work for you. For large or complex recoveries, CLI is really the best way to go, anyway.

      • by davecb ( 6526 ) *
        The product, when introduced, was indeed clunky, but has
        quietly and steadily improved over the years. I'm a
        happy customer, having bought it twice for different

  • by graphicartist82 ( 462767 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:34PM (#17466014)
    I don't really have a comment on which software to use for Small Office Backups, but we use CommVault QiNetix and we are very happy with it. But, we use a fibre attached SpectaLogic T50 which is way overkill for a small office setup. One of the questions you need to answer is this:
    • Will you be doing backups for disaster recovery? Meaning, you won't really worry about keeping data for long periods of time as long as you have a good backup for a month or so?
    • Or will you be doing backups for file restoration? Will you be needing to always recover that MS Excel document that Sally from accounting deleted 6 months ago?
    Once you have that question answered, search for a backup software that fits your needs. You may look into CommVault, i'm not sure how it's priced for the regular consumer market (we're a .edu).
  • Acronis... (Score:3, Informative)

    by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:36PM (#17466048)
    Since big hard drives are relatively cheap, rotating external hard drives and using Acronis [] might do the trick.
    • by Jhon ( 241832 ) *
      And a nice hot fire will destroy your data. Any backup solution should consider periodic off-site storage of media.

      Until they roll out cheap 40+ gig solid state media, I'm sticking with tape. It's easy to move and I wont faint if it's dropped.
  • External HDD (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Daemonstar ( 84116 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:38PM (#17466082)
    Most of the small setups I've done have a RAID for storage and an external HDD for backup. In my experience, most tape drives are slow, cumbersome and expensive. These days, a big external HDD is cheaper and a lot easier to work with on today's OS's. Agreed, this solution may not be what works best with older OS's (we have an old IBM AIX machine here that houses our main software, ick).

    Windows-run servers are easy; most external HDD come with backup software. On the last one I did, the external HDD (Seagate, I think) came with the "one touch" feature. I just set the software to backup a specific shared folder (small workgroup, public storage; it's for a small newspaper), and all the lady has to do is bring the drive in, plug it in and push the button.

    A *NX solution I used before was to write a simple shell script to mount an external HDD and tar.gz the appropriate directories to it for that day. The script can either be run manually or set up in cron.

    But, all-in-all, research and experience is the best tool in finding what works best for your solution. I just don't like tapes. :)
    • You use *an* external HDD for backup? As in *1* device. A decent grandfather-father-son backup system needs 25 devices!!! What happens if Joe User comes and says he wants a file he deleted 6 months ago? What happens when you drop the drive?

      Tapes are much smaller & far more robust! They're not cheap, but neither is losing 100s of man hours of work due to a fire etc.

      p.s. Most (all?) OS's come with tape backup software included, and have done a long time...
      • Um, yes; maybe 2, depending on what the client wants. Decent tape drives cost 6-7x as much as an external HDD, not to mention the endless supply of tapes you'll be buying each month to replace monthly (or however) archived or worn out tapes. Depending on the amount of data backed up, you can store several months worth to a single HDD (backing up essential data, not making snapshots every week or month). You can always "archive" the drive and put in a new one every so often. Replacing the HDD in the exte
        • by gregmac ( 629064 )
          That's what we do, using rsync and hardlinks to make differential backups. It takes up much less space - eg, if you do daily backups and keep two weeks worth, it takes up 100% of the original space plus whatever data has changed during in the 14 days. The best part about that method is that it's simple to restore. I don't know if you've ever tried to restore from tapes - especially when you're doing incremental backups - but it's not the funnest thing to do. Restoring from the hard drive is simple, because
          • You might want to take a look at rsnapshot - perl+rsync gives you hourly, daily, weekly, monthly snapshots - really cool, and simple to set up.

            Recovery is quite simple, too.
            • by gregmac ( 629064 )
              Yeah, I actually wrote the tool I'm using, but it's basically the exact same principle as rsnapshot. I didn't like that with rsnapshot you could only do all your backups on the same intervals. I wanted different intervals for different areas. For example, I keep daily of my /home for a couple weeks, and weekly of /etc for a couple months, and weekly of my ldap database for several weeks, etc.

              Mine is just a bash script, with three variables at the top (source, target, and number to keep), and it creates, eg,
      • A decent grandfather-father-son backup system needs 25 devices!!!
        Which most lay people will hear as "It's way too expensive and too much trouble; don't even bother". A less-than-ideal backup system that gets used is much better than an according-to-Hoyle setup that's too complicated for the users.
      • What happens if Joe User comes to me and says he wants that file he deleted 6 months ago? I tell him if he wanted it, he shouldn't have deleted it. I'm not sure about other companies, but the amount of crap created every day in my organization would take a truck load of tapes to archive. If something is important it gets put in a specific group of network shares which get archived, everything else is under a daily backup schedule, with a retention of 1 month.

        I too use a HDD backup system, although with m
        • What happens when the CEO comes to you and says "We need the following files that were deleted 6 months ago to defend a lawsuit?"

          What happens when the SOX auditor comes to you and asks "Do you have all the data from 2005?"
          • Like some poster above said, there are different backups for different purposes. The problem people have is that a 300 GB drive doesn't cost much more than a tape of the same size, so they think disk is the way to go because it's faster to recover from, etc.

            But there's at least three kinds of backing up:

            Disaster Recovery: Fire, flood, mechanical failure. You need all of yesterday's backup.
            Quick Recovery: Jimmy in accounting deleted a financial document he shouldn't have. Let's get it back from the last h
    • Billhead already has a tape drive, so he might as well use it.

      I personally like tapes for a number of reasons. Yes, the drives are expensive. But for small business to enterprise level hardware, the drives aren't more expensive than RAID hardware of comparable quality. Also, the cost of adding media is better with tape.

      Mean-time-to-failure is better & having data segmented across several tapes is nice--if one tape fails, you should still have a backup on another tape. It is rare that that other tape
    • by DrDitto ( 962751 )
      I did the same thing. In fact I had data rotated to 5 different network drives. But guess what happened? The database got somewhat messed up such that daily tasks worked fine, but when we ran some critical reporting scripts about 40 days later, things were hosed. Of course my backup scheme didn't have incremental history to more than a couple weeks because I had assumed any problems would be detected quickly. Big mistake I'll never make again.
  • Images (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RancidPickle ( 160946 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:42PM (#17466124) Homepage
    I have a group that uses an old disk imaging software set (Ghost Corp 7) to dump client disks to a server every weekend, then they dump the files to tape. If you have access to an imaging software product like Ghost Corp 7 (the Symantec abominations suck), I'd suggest setting up an older server as the backup system (and include the tape drive), then dump the clients and your main server to the backup server. Leave the images on the backup server HDD for fast restores, and use the tapes for offsite backups. This system has worked quite well for a couple of years.
    • That's too much trouble (and cost) to go through for a small business owner: a dedicated server, a tape drive, tape changing, etc.

      Remember, on small scale (i.e. non-edu, non-1k+ employees) tapes REALLY SUCK.

      External hard disks is what she needs. On or off-site.
  • I used tar and gzip glued together with command line PHP to manage a tape library. Worked fine for years.
    • Do you have a copy of the script? I could do with that for the server I'm building right now.
      • by pahoran ( 893196 ) *
        I don't have it anymore as I don't work there anymore. It wasn't very many lines. The heavy lifting was done by tar, gzip, and mt. The only thing the backup script did was save tgz files to a hard drive (for quick recovery purposes if something lost something within a week) and then copy those tgz files to the tapes. You can usually get away with a simple setup like that in a small company.
    • by darkonc ( 47285 )
      Earlier versions of the Legato software (Then Veritas) were actually little more than front ends for a tar backup process. If the system was completely toasted and the Veritas software was unavailable you could just use tar to extract critical data (presuming that the tape didn't hold interleaved backups).

      I wouldn't be surprised if it continues to be that way now.

      The important thing that Legato provides is a reasonably well designed database / tracking system so that you can get the proper tape to the

  • This [] is the slickest automatic backup system you can possibly imagine for a small Windows or Linux network. Reasonably cheap, RAID 5 if you want it, and it even runs on Linux!
  • I use tape for wrapping gifts.

    Out small office uses a combination of Pocketec [] portable USB hard drives and a simple but powerful little piece of shareware called Synchronize It! [] which provides us with highly customizable differential backups.

    The downside is that the portability of the drives hinders scheduling. However, because we can simply take the drives home with us, multiple backups of our data are available at any given time off-site. In case of theft, failure or damage to our fileserver and datab

  • by malraid ( 592373 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @06:57PM (#17466376)
    ...that someone will always have it's eyes on my screen. So... no need to back, just have to ask somebody what I was writting or reading.
  • Bacula (Score:3, Informative)

    by jamesh ( 87723 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @07:06PM (#17466470)
    Bacula []

    2.0.0 has just been released, with pretty much full support for Windows. It doesn't have a pretty GUI, but it should be able to do what you want. It does support VSS so it can back up Exchange and SQL for you, and i'm working on an agent to do proper backups of SQL too, and hope to add Exchange support after that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lactose99 ( 71132 )
      I second this. Bacula v2.0.0 also adds encryption support via openssl and a number of other goodies like a web-based interface to look at previous backups and schedules. It also supports pre- and post-backup scripts so we can do things like near-live MySQL backups (via mysqldump) and has a highly-configurable scheduler.

      I work for a small/medium business (~150 employees) with a variety of Linux, BSD, and Win32 hosts, and we use bacula for all our backup work. Actually, we are also using BackupExec for a few
      • Interesting - I've not heard of Bacula before now, but it sounds very cool. I'm with a small small business, but they've been using BackupExec for some time now. It's a Windows shop, and so they're backing up a Win2003 file server, and SQL Server 2000 databases. I know they had to buy extra addons on top of the BE software in order to interact with the databases (so they wouldn't have to start and stop the db service) and to be able to backup "open" files. They're all backing up to a VXA tape library.
        • The 2.0.0 release of Bacula (released yesterday) actually introduced the server components (called director and storage daemon) on Win32, so you don't even need a Linux server any more to run Bacula.

          As for the database, it depends: Bacula uses Volume Shadowing to try and grab open files, if your database system takes VSS requests and dumps a proper state to disk for the snapshot, then there should be no problem. If not, you'll probably have to script something that dumps the databases to separate files and
        • by jimicus ( 737525 )
          I use it myself - upgraded from a simple DLT-v4 drive to a LTO-3 Dell PowerVault library about two days ago and it went worryingly smoothly.

          The trick with Bacula is not to try and force it to run your way, but instead understand how it works then work with it. If you've used backup software like Tivoli Storage Manager before, you'll be able to understand it pretty easily.

          Works cross-platform beautifully - I'm backing up about a dozen hosts (mostly Linux, one Windows). The only drawback is that AFAIK there
  • I set up 2 Bright Sparks' product SyncBackSE for a relative, a few months ago. I needed something in a hurry, and that could be "click the button simple" for them. (It offers a lot of configuration options, but appears to have some decent defaults and allows for "profiles" (my word) that a non-expert can simply select and run.)

    Simple also to the point of not hanging on open files if the user wasn't clever enough to close them, or Windoze got "stuck" holding an open file handle (can't count the number of t
    • by rbochan ( 827946 )
      I'll second that. SyncBack is top notch and dead simple. The price is well within any small business budget, and simple enough for just about anyone to set up for manual backups or scheduled.

    • While I actually use Retrospect (argh!) for the regular backup of our servers, I have a half dozen seats of SyncBack floating around on end user machines (laptops, primarily), development servers, as well as shuttling some smaller files around via FTP. With a little thought devoted to your backup schedules, it can be a really powerful tool.
  • Handy Backup (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I suggest Handy Backup: []. Simple, works well, and inexpensive.
  • by enigmatichmachine ( 214829 ) <> on Thursday January 04, 2007 @07:18PM (#17466638)
    We do small business consulting and when a client can't afford backup exec or retrospect(neither of which I like) I just make a old box a ClarkConnect Linux box and run backups via Bacula. CC has a web interface for backups, and similar functionality to backup exec, with clients for storage, and backup clients. I.e. you can run Bacula client on a windows machine and then backup that machine remotely without sharing its files, and you can run a backup file server on your windows machine without it being a smb share. I suppose you could get this functionality with any version of Linux, but I like that the end users have a web interface, should they need it. plus I'm not the worlds best Linux guy, and it is super simple to setup. oh, bacula supports most tape drives, but I've never really tried it with them, external hard drives are way cheaper, and easier to use than tape these days. if you don't have a spare machine around, setup vmware server and just run a virtual linux box. sounds a little odd, but it works great.
    • by jamesh ( 87723 )
      As I also posted elsewhere, Bacula 2.0.0 has just been released with full (director, stored, filed) support for Windows. At a guess, i'd say that running it on Windows directly would be preferable to running it on Linux on VMWare on Windows. Running it on Linux directly would be better still though, if you had the hardware.
      • This is good news. but now I'm going to have to figure out those crazy config scripts. ClarkConnect has a really nice front end for administering it. But I'll definately take a look, as Backula is the perfect replacement for Backup exec, and more stable as far as I can tell.
  • It [] is cheap ($147) and supports the native NTBackup format.
    • I'll toss in a nod for backupassist. Its got a nice set of features and takes a bit of the pain out of ntbackup. I've been using it at a site in combination with iomega's nifty little REV discs (35GB uncompressed). I haven't seen anything better for less than $1000 total.

      And those little REV drives really are cool. They fit into your existing floppy slot, you can get an autochanger for them, and they perform much faster than tapes. Iomega supplies its own backup software with the drives, but it is usef
  • Use roaming profiles and map the My Documents off to a home directory on a Linux box.

    Use the tapedrive to back up the linux box.

    • No. Do not use roaming profiles. You're in for a world of suffering when someone's profile reaches the tens/hundreds of megabytes size and some misbehaving app corrupts itself (Outlook, for example--or perhaps the user's registry). Mapping My Documents is a good idea, though. Another option (if you're not doing graphics/video/suchlike) might be using Terminal Server and just backing that up.
  • by CFrankBernard ( 605994 ) <cfrankb AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday January 04, 2007 @07:26PM (#17466744)
    NovaBACKUP (PC World Best Buy; offers tape encryption) []

    Cleversafe (GPL'd) []

    Genie Backup Manager l?AfID=13778 []

    SyncBack (freeware) []

    EMC Insignia Retrospect (formerly Dantz Retrospect; PC Magazine Editor's Choice) []

  • by nizo ( 81281 ) * on Thursday January 04, 2007 @07:32PM (#17466820) Homepage Journal
    While tar may or may not be available (or useable) under Microsoft Windows, you might want to consider one pitfal when using tapes for backups: if the office burns down and you lose your tape drive, unless you keep a spare drive offsite you now have a box of useless tapes until you can find and purchase a new tape drive that can read them. The advantage of removeable drives in this case is you can plunk them into any PC and get at the data right away.
  • No matter what backup software you select make sure that you spend as much time evaluating restoring as you do for evaluation of backing-up. The last thing anyone needs to hear is, "Sorry, but I can't find your file. The backups are bad."
    • by iPaul ( 559200 )

      Excellant caveat. I was using a SCSI tape for backup on the one server my company used to run (a bazillion years ago) and when to examine the tapes produced by NT 3.5.1 (or very early 4.0's) backup tool, a number of them were unreadable. I did not have the same problem on Linux with the "st" commands and tar. Also, be careful of ecryption and compression. Let's say a few bits on the tape get flipped. Uncompressed, this can result in one or a handful or corrupt files. On a compressed tape you could loo

  • For the last 15 years, before Windows 95 even, backup software has been some of the worst, most unreliable software commonly used. As far as I know, there are no good solutions.

    Tips based on our experience:

    Symantec seems scary, due to the number of very serious failures that have been reported over the years, and due to the character of the company:
    1. Symantec Ghost is not the same software Ghost was previously. Symantec bought PowerQuest's DeployCenter and relabeled it Ghost, without making that clear in ads. That showed zero respect for their original Ghost product; in my experience the disrespect was deserved.
    2. There seems to be a social breakdown at Symantec. The company seems to have far too few people with technical knowledge.
    3. My experience is that Symantec technical support is abusive; abusiveness seems to be a major managerial method there. It is difficult to defend against many small abuses, as both Microsoft and Karl Rove (Bush's brain) know very well. (Abusers tend to learn by watching each other, even though they may not know each other.)
    Acronis TrueImage is generally accepted as the best backup software for small businesses now. However:
    1. The TrueImage software is not able to make encrypted backups; it can only password protect, a protection that is easily broken. So, don't allow anyone to take backup media off site. Store backups in a secure vault on site.
    2. We have had many, many problems with unreliability of Acronis software. A scheduled backup may not actually run, for example. Recent versions have been more reliable.
    3. The command line interface of TrueImage WorkStation seemed full of bugs when it was first released. Apparently the release was far too soon.
    4. Acronis technical support amazes even me. I sent a notice of a failure in a new version. About 3 months later, I got a nonsense reply from someone who sounded like she was about 21 years old and only working for Acronis so that she could find a man, get pregnant, and stay home.
    5. Acronis sales people seem to believe that anyone with technical knowledge is socially inferior. My experience is that they seem to think that dirtying their little brains with technical details is beneath their exalted place in society. When you ask for help, you may get some action that seems to be part of internal political maneuvering.
    6. Acronis recently released an "update" that changed TrueImage installations to a new product name called TrueImage Home. Apparently this is an attempt to intimidate customers to pay for the Workstation version which is far more expensive.
    Some ugly history of backup software: Hewlett-Packard's tape backup software would, during restore, make hundreds of zero-length files in random places. The names of the files would be taken from the names of legitimate files on the tape. HP technical support thought that was not a particularly bad problem.

    In the DOS days, a company called Fifth Generation Systems sold a product called Fastback. The product was excellent until it was sold to a former banker who put his daughter in charge of marketing. (I talked to him for about 45 minutes on the telephone one day.) Since the banker didn't have any technical knowledge, and didn't believe that was important, and since the technical people left when the banker bought the company, the product quickly fell behind, became useless, and disappeared from the marketplace.
    • Here are more notes to go with my parent comment:

      Disk Image backups are required to back up the operating system drive. Disk Image backups are sector-by-sector backups. Some people call that operating system cloning or disk cloning []. There is a free Linux/Unix utility called DD []. DD has a Windows version [], too. My understanding is that DD has no compression, so that the backups are much larger than with commercial software that compresses the images.

      Microsoft has made Windows XP difficult to back up. It is necessary to have 3rd party software that can back up the operating system and also files that are in use. Windows XP will not allow copy, xcopy, or robocopy backups of the system registry for, example. For that you must have drive imaging software like Acronis TrueImage or another.

      If a user forgets to close all programs, some important files may still be loaded at night and in use when backups are scheduled. That's why it is necessary to be able to back up files that are in use. Microsoft provides the API to do that, but very limited backup software called NTBackup.

      Tip: Encryption is necessary. Backups that are not encrypted are somewhat useless, since it is too risky to take them off site. Remember that password protection is not encryption.

      Be careful about backup software that a big company bought from some other company. When that happens, usually the technical people are fired and the company that buys the rights is not prepared technically to respect what the fired people have done. Microsoft bought rights to NTBackup from Veritas. My understanding is that Veritas bought it from Conner and Conner bought it from Arcada.

      Recently Symantec bought [] Veritas. My experience with Symantec is that their software often has huge bugs, and their telephone support is possibly close to the worst.

      I found this confused-looking but extensive list of Windows backup software: Backup Software For Windows 2000 []
  • There are a lot of backup solutions out there. But once you move into the realm of Windows Server, they tend to jack up the prices considerably for the same product just so it'll work on Windows Server. I did a lot of researching for an incremental backup system where I work that would give me flexibility with restore, native harddrive backup, and would be ideal for a few hundred gigabytes of dynamic drive space all the employees work off from (like 15 shared folders on it). But I didn't find anything th
  • I've had great success with StoreGrid [].
    I use the free version with a $20 plugin that allows "open file" backups.

    I have it set to a continuous incremental backup of my most vital files, plus a weekly full backup, storing two whole backups at any given time, on a second drive, which in turn gets cloned to a mirror drive (yes, I've lost data before, so I'm paranoid).

  • Backup Exec (Score:2, Insightful) [] version 11 moved totally in the right direction
  • I use Cobian Backup to backup some Windows data via FTP to an offsite server, but I'm not really happy with it. It was a real pain playing with the settings until the backups completed successfully. They would hang after a while and it took some trial and error to get them working, but my backup tasks are never marked as finished even though I can check the backup and see that they really are done. Cobian shows that the backup is still in progress until I reboot! The cancel button doesn't even work! I
  • I have been using Retrospect for a couple years, and have been happy with it. Retrospect was made around 1989, was pretty much a Mac only product until around 2000 (IIRC). I like the fact that I can backup to an external hard disk, then copy the backup set to tape or a stack of DVDs. Like TSM, it offers synthetic full backups, where one doesn't have to worry about firing off a full, incremental, or differential backup -- just fire off a backup with the options you want.

    Caveat: Unlike BackupMyPC or NovaS
  • by GrpA ( 691294 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @08:29PM (#17467558)
    Especially as it claims to be "The Most Popular Open Source Backup and Recovery Software" []

    I'd be interested to read what any of it's users think of it in comparison to commercial apps.

    • Praise for AMANDA (Score:3, Informative)

      by Noksagt ( 69097 )
      We run AMANDA in our small setup. It is fantastic. The scheduler is quite sophisticated & backing up to tar makes disaster recovery easy. Not having to purchase client licenses is also a big plus

      I've used Retrospect. It was "O.K.," but the above reasons make AMANDA a better fit.

      We have a 5 TB RAID-5 FreeBSD server and a handfull of clients (mostly windows, but a few OS X and Linux boxes). The cygwin clients work well & there are now binaries, so you don't have to compile it yourself (as we did
  • Backup Links (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thisNameNotTaken ( 952374 ) on Thursday January 04, 2007 @08:45PM (#17467706)
    Try these:

    G4U []

    Cobian []

    Both work well.

  • Why bother with a Windows solution? Is your tape drive that horrible? If it's scsi, there should be no problem mounting it up elsewhere and using all the normal tools like tar.

    It would be easier still to use an external hard drive and grsync, a gui for rsync.

    • Why, what a useful solution! I can see why you're hired full time by a FTSE 100/Fortune 500 class company to do all of their incredibly important back office IT work, what with fantastic and insightful advice like "don't use Windows, use Linux" and "use a generic external hard drive and rsync instead of the backup-oriented tape drive you just bought and some specialised backup software"!

      Jesus fucking Christ on an inverted flaming unicycle.
      • by Erris ( 531066 )

        Why, what a useful solution! I can see why you're hired full time by a FTSE 100/Fortune 500 class company to do all of their incredibly important back office IT work, what with fantastic and insightful advice like "don't use Windows, use Linux" and "use a generic external hard drive and rsync instead of the backup-oriented tape drive you just bought and some specialised backup software"!

        Ah yes, but the cheap solution works. For some reason, this makes Microsoft partners angry.

  • BackupAssist (Score:2, Informative)

    I am not affiliated with BackupAssist ( []) in any capacity other than a customer and have been thrilled with the product.

    Simple and easy to use interface, multitude of options, logging, reporting. One of the features that I find most compelling is that the program is essentially a gui wrapper for the Windows Backup program and thus works perfectly with all the server and professional versions of windows seamlessly.

    All too often we must make do with microsoft offerings, Backup Assist make

  • I've had good luck with Retrospect both at home and in a small non-profit office. It's pretty simple to set up and supports encryption. Make sure that it supports your tape drive, though.
  • I'd recommend Bacula []. I've installed it for several clients, all have been very happy with the results.

    Disclosure: I am a Bacula developer.
  • Before selecting media and software, you need to define what the business needs are. Do you need to

    a. have 3 different backups run once a week or need to maintain years of infomration
    b. have daily incremental backups
    c. provide disaster recovery for business restoration
    d. preserve regulated information, either financial or healthcare
    e. restore custom applications
    f. reimage new systems or only preserve data

    Backup exec and Acronis both provide reasonable solutions for mostly stable Windows

  • It's free, it's easy, it's reliable.

    Quantum SDLT220 = $1800 for 220GB. Two 250GB drives in workstations with backup duty = $150. OK, so you don't get offsite capability unless you pop for a couple $70 NAS boxes as well.

    How can this be /. if no one uses the free/cheap stuff? Must be a detour into the twilight zone.
  • Now supports encrypted backups.

    Backup Exec does have it's problems on occasion, but it does seem to get the job done.

  • Here's a setup I'm using which works fairly well:

    On the backup server, a removable hard disk bay in one of the 5.25" bays, SATA, connected to an eSATA adapter in a PCI-X slot. Along with this, 10 bog-standard SATA drives mounted in enclosures designed to dock in the 5.25" bay. The eSATA adapter supports hot-swap, so swapping the drives is a simple unlock, swap, lock process. For software, I'm using Backup Exec. The catch is that when formatting the drives, Windows Server reserves mount points even whe

  • works for me.
  • I found Acronis True Image to be very helpful (and also work for Linux), in combination with a USB 2 connected hard disk. Set Acronis to have top priority and just sit back.

    There are many reasons why I like Acronis:

    (1) creates boot disk for "bare metal" restore (when you have to start again from the ground up)
    (2) combines full system restore and file restore (so you can also restore just a file)
    (3) supports rescaling of partitions
    (4) supports Windows NTFS as well as Linux ext3 (I think ReiserFS as well but
  • I've been using Bacula to backup servers at my agency (300GB+ of data) for the past year and a half. I've found it to be very reliable, flexible, and relatively easy to configure and use. I use an older version (1.36), packaged for sarge, which lacks some features I would like - migrating backups between volumes, ssl support. However, version 2.0 has just been released, and looks like it's got some sweet new features (my wishlist features included). It even runs on windows (in addition to *nix), if you swin
  • OK, it's not Windows-based, but it works great and it's cheap.

    I'm the IT guy for a small office (30 XP desktops, 1 W2K server, 4 linux servers). Last year I replaced my homegrown scripts with BackupPC. I have been extremely happy with the results. I took an obsolete server, loaded it with four 160 GB SATA drives and a PCI SATA adapter. Total cost was under $400. Fedora FC5 and FC6 include BackupPC in their Yum repositories, so you can easily install all necessary software at no cost. Configuration was

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost