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Disk to Disk to Tape Backup

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I am the System Admin for a mid sized company. Right now I backup everyone's computer everyday utilizing a tape drive. Once the initial backup is done, the incremental backups are pretty quick. However do to the size of the organization I am sometimes not able to get down and load in a new tape if the tape gets full and then the backup sits until I run down to the server room and change the tape out. What I am looking to do is instead backup up all of my clients to a hard disk during the week and then at the end of the week back that up to tape. However as I was looking at what gets stored on the hard drive it is basically a big catalog file, which I expected. When I saw this I had the thought that if I need to recover something from the tape I would have to recover the file from the tape and then recover it again. What I would like to do is the following during the week user’s documents get written to the hard drive as is. That way if I need to do a fast recovery all I have do is copy the file off the drive. I would also like the system to do incremental backups so if someone deletes a file from the machine and the backup has already run, I can still go back and get the file as long as it was backed up at some time. So in a round about way this is what I would love. The ability to do incremental backups to a hard disk with the files staying as is and then being able to backup that hard drive to tape at my convenience.


Thanks in advance for any help


Dan Krajc

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I use a similar system of Retro backup 5.1.x with my 'Server'. I'm only backing up three machines though- two laptops and the server itself. Speed is an issue with me too, so I use a FWHD for daily incrementals. Then over the weekend I backup the incrementals (just the latest backup set) to AIT2 tape. It sounds like exactly the plan you want.


Just recently I started using a second FWHD, for off line storage and swapping them weekly to further speed up the process and lessen the need for tape. I feel the FWHD is reliable enough to use for two weeks of incrementals (one week per drive) and yields faster restore times too, if needed. I (will) keep 24 weeks of data on incrementals between two FWHD disk sets before automatically reusing them, but only 16 weeks on tape with my system.


The tape is now totally redundant. However, it completely covers the possiblity of any HD's failure including their disk based backups (FWHD). This will also help do off-site storage of tape. I'll be using tape once every two weeks instead of weekly.


Anyway, you seem to be interested in the tape backup part. Here's how that is accomplished:

1. Set up a manual copy (Tools>Copy>Transfer) from the FWHD Backup Set to the Tape backup set. In my case the sets are labeled "Daily Backup", and "Network Weekly Backup" (for each week, I do add a designator).

2. This Copy function is manual in 5.1.x. They were talking about automating the process in 6.x but I don't know if this feature was ever implemented. So I start it on Saturday. I more than fill one tape with 80-90GB f data but it takes all day to do a tape so I plan to be around when the first tape finishes.

3. Do a Normal Backup with the options checked for only the latest copy of a file to be saved. In my case I keep four tapes to the set.

4. The key is that with this type of operation, any single file from the original HD attached to any laptop can be found on any backup, the file organization is preserved!





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Backup Drives


The backup to FWHD is a normal scripted Retro backup. My Daily Backup script does as expected- backup all drives on the local MAC desktop daily. My Network Backup script backs up only the networked laptops. It runs weekly. I just did a Recycle/Full on the Network Backup and it took 24.5 hours for 59GB (turned out that both machines were in use over that time)! Normal speeds are better- 80MB/min up. Both backup sets cycle between two FWHD destinations, they alternate weekly (Sunday night before the 1AM backup).




Here's a hint. If your script has SMTWTFS scheduled, then the backup's 'first day' will be Sunday- seems obvious, but it's important to note when alternating destination drives. Retro wants the next destination ready for it on Sunday. If you physically remove one of the destinations as I do, you'd best have it plugged back up and ready by then... Or no backup!




With FWHD of only 112, 120GB for the two, you can guess the source drives are not real full. My backup total is presently at about 90GB growing to 108GB even over a fair number of incrementals. One of the scripts will have 42 runs, the other 6 barring any failures over the six weeks before they recycle. In thinking about it, I decided to use a 6 week recycle instead of 12 per drive.




User Drive complement.


I've got an 120GB ATA 3.5" internal (one partition is the startup) drive on the local desktop machine ('Retro server') partitioned into four sub-volumes. There's an 80GB 2.5" drive on the MAC laptop Retro client and a 60GB on the XP Pro laptop client.




The destination drives get recycled every sixth week, instead of doing an incremental. Here's a scripting/scheduling hint. If you (at least on Retro Backup 5.1.xxx) enter in your script a recycle event and it's on the same date and time as a repeating incremental backup is scheduled to occur in that script, Retro understands that the recycle event replaces the incremental. This topic is covered in the user manual. It's an invaluable tool for scheduling recurring recycles. You can check the full schedule of your scripts from the Directory (Automate>Preview).




It's Henry, BTW(by the way).



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