Backup Verification Best Practise

Discussion in 'Windows Small Business Server' started by Arthur, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. Arthur

    Arthur Guest

    Just wondered what is the sensible approach to testing backups in a small
    business environment.
    I guess that a period test restore of files is sensible but it doesn't prove
    that a tape/disk is fully functional for disaster recovery ?
    It's also not practical in cost terms to restore to a full blank server for
    most small business environments.
    I would be interested to hear what others do or if there is a best practise
    document anywhere.
    Arthur, Oct 28, 2007
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  2. Arthur

    Claus Guest

    This is a dilemma that most small companies face. The rule that "the only
    good backup is a backup that has been tested successfully" is sometime
    difficult to achieve and does preset cost. We offer test restores as part of
    our service to our clients and use a dedicated server in our lab. It does
    have it's limitations because of different hardware and the client has to
    pay for it.

    Other than that, we have moved away from tapes to USB drives. We find them
    more reliable and we keep several backups off site.
    Claus, Oct 28, 2007
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  3. Arthur

    Arthur Guest

    So if the restore is to different hardware what exactly are you testing ? Is
    it just that the files get restored and verified correctly ? I guess that
    offering this as a service is a lot easier with USB drives eliminating the
    need to have different tape format drives available?
    Arthur, Oct 28, 2007
  4. Arthur

    Claus Guest

    We are testing a full restore. It's sometimes a challenge with different
    hardware but if we can restore to different hardware we can for sure restore
    to the same hardware. And yes, IMHO USB is the way to go.

    So far (reaching for a piece of wood) we have not had a case where the SBS
    wizard generated backup did not work at any client site.
    Claus, Oct 28, 2007
  5. I'd have to agree get off TAPE.
    With new things like the RAID1 Lacie USB drive no reason not to IMO
    (But the 1.5GB is on backorder :(



    Russell Grover
    Microsoft Gold Certified Partner
    Microsoft Certified Small Business Specialist.
    Remote SBS2203 Support - http://www.SBITS.Biz
    SBS2003 Demo -
    Server Monitoring - Sign Up Free!
    Russ \(SBITS.Biz\), Oct 28, 2007
  6. Russ \(SBITS.Biz\), Oct 28, 2007
  7. Arthur

    Claus Guest

    "(But the 1.5GB is on backorder :("

    Not enough coffee or too much??? *G*
    Claus, Oct 28, 2007
  8. It's time for my nap :)

    I caught it before you read this however.. :)
    (See Post below)


    Russell Grover
    Microsoft Gold Certified Partner
    Microsoft Certified Small Business Specialist.
    Remote SBS2203 Support - http://www.SBITS.Biz
    SBS2003 Demo -
    Server Monitoring - Sign Up Free!
    Russ \(SBITS.Biz\), Oct 28, 2007
  9. Just a side question.
    How reliable is using USB for backups? Why do you suggest that it's better
    than tapes?
    I like being able have a tape for every day of the week, and a 'father' or
    'grandfather' method. are you suggesting having multiple backups on one
    drive, or having many drives to take offsite?
    Are you suggesting this as a recommendation for small business due to cost,
    or do you think it's an overall better solution?

    Luke Robertson, Oct 29, 2007
  10. Arthur

    Claus Guest

    First, we find USB solution more reliable than tapes.

    Depending on the customer's need, we design a system of swapping USB drives
    the same way we used to handle tapes.
    Most small businesses choose to switch the drives every Monday morning. We
    run the backups during the week and disconnect the drive via script on the
    last backup on Sunday night. The client then just has to disconnect the USB
    and connect the next one for the coming week. All USB drives - except the
    current one are kept offsite.

    We have also larger clients that change the drives daily where we have
    designed a schedule that will accommodate one or two weeks of daily backups
    with 5 - 8 weeks of weekly backups and if needed 4 quarterly backups.

    We find that the USB solution is also much more cost effective. You pay
    about $130 for a 500GB drive. That's a lot of storage per $$ and the drives
    last longer than tapes. Considering the initial purchase of the tape drive
    you are definitely ahead of the game.
    Claus, Oct 29, 2007
  11. Remember of course you are Talking Religion here,
    and there will be Lots of Division on this one Topic.

    So I'll post this knowing people will FLAME me and say I'm and Idiot. (OH
    well not the first nor the last time.)

    Hard Drives can Handle Heat, Dirt, Dust, Water, and Magnetic interference
    better than TAPE IMO
    the only thing that Tape does better is Shock, and HD's can handle >300G's
    now (That would be like dropping from a 100 story Building.)

    Tapes are usually Never stored Correctly, Never Changed and The tape Players
    are usually Never Cleaned.
    I've never had a Backup Fail from a USB, but Tape has failed more than I
    care to admit.
    (I know I've only been using USB's for 4 years now for backup)

    But even Before USB drives came out TAPE backups fail all the time.
    (If the system is not main tained, and very few small businesses take care
    of it.)

    I have clients that store everything, They will Archive things to a Dual
    layer DVD which IMO is more reliable than a TAPE will ever be...
    Now with the RAID1 Dual External USB's it gives them some added reliability.

    Just to let you know, the new version of SBS will not Support TAPE drives in
    the SBS Backup
    IMO this is a indication that Microsoft even recognizes the End of TAPE as a
    Backup Medium.

    You are welcome to use TAPE, I have a client that does both.
    Guess what? his tape Drive has Failed Twice in two years, This last year, It
    failed he gave up and finally said, it's not worth the hassle.

    Drives are So cheap nowadays you can store a TON of stuff on it in a USB
    Drive and leave it there for longer than you will ever need.
    (I believe USB Compatibility will be around longer than the TAPE Drive and
    Driver to retrieve it.)

    If you are stuck on TAPE god speed, spend the extra bucks
    I just hope it doesn't bite you in the @#@$#@$ :)

    It has me, and I refuse to get bitten again.


    For Cost Ease of use, and longevity, USB drives are cheap.
    If you want the backup of files from a DATE?
    Then get a Dual Layer DVD drive and Backit up to there.
    DVD has a longer life than TAPE and probably still will be around longer
    than tape...

    IMO Tape is Dead, let it go.
    (Just like Floppy 2.5 should have died long ago IMO.)\

    Yes, I know people will complain.about what I say.
    But ultimately it's your choice.

    Choose what's best for you...



    Russell Grover
    Microsoft Gold Certified Partner
    Microsoft Certified Small Business Specialist.
    Remote SBS2203 Support - http://www.SBITS.Biz
    SBS2003 Demo -
    Server Monitoring - Sign Up Free!
    Russ \(SBITS.Biz\), Oct 29, 2007
  12. Arthur

    Arthur Guest

    I was just trying to understand to what extent the restore is tested after
    it has been read back.
    I'm thinking that to fully test a restore requires restoration of a full
    system which should then be able to boot to the state of the restore.
    I guess you're saying that you test that the restore can be fully read and
    verified but not necessarily booted up if there are hardware differences ?
    Is my understanding correct ?
    Arthur, Oct 29, 2007
  13. Arthur

    Claus Guest

    see inline

    Depending on the client's request.
    That is correct.
    If the client wants us to do that we will test a full restore on different
    hardware. What I was saying is that it can be time consuming and difficult
    with different hardware. Most clients don't want to spend the money.
    Claus, Oct 29, 2007
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