Backup Options For a Small Work Based Network?

  Blitzer 19:06 05 Dec 04
Locked

I work for a small engineering company which uses about 8 PCs for various tasks, all of which are networked via a basic server (A PC running Window XP Professional).

The current back-up strategy is the user of each individual PC to copy their important files (manually) to their own "Backup" folder on the server. Now while this protects their data being lost in the event of their own HD failing etc. it does nothing to protect the companies records due to fire/theft etc. resulting in loss of all PC's.

Obviously what we require is a solution that will enable the server's HD to be backed up to some form of removable media that can be taken off the premises. However, there are few important issues that need to be taken into consideration...

1. Basically, my employers are tight buggers and don't like spending money, particularly on stuff like this, so whatever solution is suggested needs to be cheap (without going overboard!).

2. The backup solution needs to pretty much 100% automated so that human input into the backup process is limited to ensuring the media has been changed. A requirement of anyone to sit there and set the backup in motion is not going to work for us - too much risk of "I did not have time" or "I forgot" etc.

3. The backup media has to be fairly robust and cheap enough for there to be two (or more) disks/tapes being used in rotation.

Any suggestions very much appreciated. :)

  Blitzer 19:09 05 Dec 04

Oops, also meant to mention that there are a various versions of Windows being used on the network: 95, 98se and the server with XP Pro. Would be nice if they upgraded everything to the same level but that won't happen either! :)

  Bandy 22:41 05 Dec 04

In a similar sized engineering company to yours we work quite similarly.

An extra, large, hard disk was purchased and fitted into one machine to which all are backed up daily using EZBackup - effectively a quick process started by clicking on a desktop icon,

All machines are then backed up once a week to a 160GB external USB Maxtor One Touch drive which is then taken off site until next required. This backup uses the software supplied with the drive and can be started by pressing a button on the drive or a desktop icon - again quite a fast process.

I am aware this is not a perfect system but better than the nothing that was there before, and importantly within the budget that was available.

Hope that helps a bit

  Bandy 22:44 05 Dec 04

PS
We also use different operating systems mainly because XP drivers are not availble for some of the plotters and other equipment - hence Win98 systems because the budgets don't allow for new plotters just yet.

  Blitzer 22:47 05 Dec 04

Cheers Bandy,

Any idea of the cost of this setup?

  Blitzer 22:51 05 Dec 04

Cheers Bandy,

I did consider the idea of an external HD after my girlfriend suggested it earlier. Not too bad an idea but it does have some draw backs. For a start we don't have a monitor on the server so if the HD needs to be run fron there that would be a problem straight away. Then there's the question of getting someone to do the backup every week (or more often) and finally the issue of only having the one copy of a backup. Was also considering DVD as a solution but again this would require someone to sit there and actually perform the backup.

Still the external HD route does have it's good points and is much better than nothign at all!

  Bandy 17:41 06 Dec 04

Sorry for the tardy response I been out all day.

From memory the internal 160Gb cost about £60 and the One touch about £110, both from Novatech.

We find the time taken to back up daily to the "Internal" drive is very quick. I have preset the drives and folders to be backed up and that is linked to the desktop icon. I have also set this backup to add only new or changed files so it is extremely quick,a minute or two max Each operator does the backup as the last job of the day, just before logging off.

The final back up to the external drive is very similar and just a little bit longer to perform so I think its easy to overestimate the time that will be taken. All our staff now back up as a matter of course and have no problems with the time it takes. We are also lucky having a monitor at the right point.

I take your point about only having one copy but because of budget limitations we took the view that it would be very unlikely that all the office machines, each backed up to another disk, and the offsite hard disk would go down at the same time. We know its a risk but reasonably acceptable.

As I said its not a perfect solution but very definitely better than the previous hit and miss systems we had

  Blitzer 23:52 06 Dec 04

Bandy,

Thanks again, this may be the path to go, particularly if it could somehow be made more automated. Certainly worth looking into cost wise. ;-)

  Bandy 19:08 07 Dec 04

I hope you find an appropriate solution for your problem.

PS this is the link for EasyBackitup click here

It may be worth downloading and tryingit to see if it fits your requirements

Best of luck

  Blitzer 00:12 10 Dec 04

Went to Maxtor's site and printed off the data-sheet for the Maxtor One Touch Drive II to show to the boss. Seemed reasonably interested in that as an option. :)

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