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Faster backups with a cache

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The feature I'd like added to Retrospect is to have a local cache space for clients to be backed up to before being written to tape. Then writing to tape from the local cache. This will take full advantage of a fast network and fast computers while letting the tape drive poke along slowly. It also means if I give it a big enough cache my backups can happen in hardly no time at all. Multiple clients could be polled and copied to the local cache at the same time--backing up multiple computers at once. A whole night of incremental backups will fit on a cheap 40GB hard drive. It takes a couple hours to copy everything from disk to disk, but it takes a day to write it all to tape. I'd like to have the clients backed up quickly to a local cache space then have that written to tape taking as long as needed.




I'm running in to problems backing up my clients in a reasonable amount of time. I need to have backups that start and finish while computers are not in use. Unfortunatly, I have more clients and data than can be backed up by my tape drive overnight because the tape is slow. With Amanda (unix), we use a system that polls client computers, and copies everything that needs to be backed up to a local hard disk. Then our tape drive runs as long as it needs to backing up from the local disk to tape and removing things from the local disk after they're stored. Basically, backing up clients as fast as the network can go without being limited by the speed of my tape drive







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I created a windows box with 5 extra 20 gig hard drives, labeled Monday, Tuesday Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.




On each day I have created subvolumes, such as Monday\control, Monday\HumanResources, Monday\Exec.




Every night Retrospect does a duplicate from the file server to the proper day and directory, such as on Monday the HumanResources file server to Monday\HumanResources.


Since the duplicate after the first run only copies files that are changed, my average time per file server is less than 5 minutes.




If you set up something like this, you could have your tape drive backup from the day of the week hard drive to tape. It could be done at any time once the duplicate phase is over. If your tape drive is mounted on the same machine as the extra drives you do not even have any network load.




This can all be done with scripts, totally automating the procedure.




The great part of this is to restore a lost file, no tape is needed, just go the proper day of week and using windows explorer find the needed file, such as a spreadsheet file on Monday\HumanResources and copy it back over the network to the original HumanResources file server.




We stopped using tape once this was set up, becasue we have this backup server located in a totally different part of the building in case of emergency. We are also getting ready to setup a backup server in our corporate office in a another town and backup over the internet VPN every night after the duplication is done. We estimate it will take about half an hour to do.









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