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Going through BE's interface is like surfing through MySpace. It seems like it was put together piecemeal over time and has no logical organization that I can see. Also, the errors are cryptic and unhelpful. Can anyone recommend a good piece of backup software for our servers that can handle both flash and tape drives?

It would need specific agents for SQL, SharePoint, and Exchange.

Thanks in advance.

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closed as off topic by sysadmin1138 Jan 28 '12 at 3:44

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I can't give more details but the BE team are aware of the problems with the user interface and it's a case of watch this space. So don't jump ship quite yet maybe as others have said, all backup systems have their problems –  Rob Nicholson Sep 14 '10 at 10:18
    
Product and service recommendations, including alternatives recon, is off topic per the FAQ. –  sysadmin1138 Jan 28 '12 at 3:43

7 Answers 7

The reality of backup software is that the grass is always greener on the other side.

There is no perfect backup product. They all have strengths and weaknesses.

If you are in an enterprise, with 100's to 1000's of servers with TB of data to move, they all suck equally well.

It is only after you move from one to another, that you look back with fondness on the previous package.

We went from Legato (now EMC) Networkr to Veritas (now Symantec) NetBackup for about 1000 servers (completely cross platform. Everything from Win3.11 to Tru64 with most any OS you can ever imagine in the mix) backuping up around 20+TB a week to 14 LTO3 tapes drives.

Initially there were a lot of nice things about NetBackup, but then the weaknesses appeared. I missed features of Networkr.

I wished we had Commvault Galaxy, but then people running Commvault told me all about issues with it as well.

My only advice is stay away from Tivoli!

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So, so true. +1 for saying it like it is. All backup products have significant weaknesses in certain areas. We actually do use Commvault Galaxy and there's a crapload of issues with it. I look back with fondness on Arcserve, which is saying something for a CA product. Backup Exec is meh...tons of issues. Netbackup - never used it, but I know for certain I'd grow to hate it. Such is life. You know what? Use robocopy. Now there's a real app. –  PowerApp101 May 20 '09 at 3:38
    
Once a software solution gets sufficiently large, and encompasses enough territory they all start to fall into this category. Look at Anti virus, directory services, etc. All have strengths and weaknesses, and the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. –  geoffc May 20 '09 at 13:31
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Anyone got any venture capital handy to write a new backup solution from scratch that does what 95% of the people need and ignores the other 5%? I cannot believe that this sector of the market is so poor. –  Rob Nicholson Feb 4 '11 at 19:13

NTBackup. Run NTBackup /? for all of the parameters. It supports backing up to file or tape, information store, etc. I use SQLAgent to backup the SQL databases, and then grab those with the NTBackup script. Same for the Sharepoint databases, the webfiles get grabbed by the file backup.

I also find using the @filename syntax better for troubleshooting, and use Scheduled Tasks to automate the whole process, once I have it working. That way you are using simple text files. You can also get NTBackup to save your selection list by going through the UI, choosing your desired selections, and then choosing Save As, after choosing Advanced mode, Backup.

I also usually choose to put them somewhere easier to find, like drive:\scripts. The default in Windows 2K3 is C:\Documents and Settings{Profile}\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows NT\NTBackup\Data, which is a bit much, in my opinion. {Profile} is usually Administrator on a server, or the administrative user currently logged in.

You could even get fancier and use WMI to fire off a notification email. Small Business Server does....

Did I mention that all of this is free? :)

If you are on 2K8, then I use the new shadow copy syntax, as NTBackup is deprecated.

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+1 for price and nostalgia but we would be willing for fork over a little dough for an all-in-one solution with a nice GUI and support. –  Daniel Lucas May 19 '09 at 20:52
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Windows Server Backup (Windows Server 2008 and later) does not support Exchange or SQL Server at this time. –  Jay Michaud May 20 '09 at 3:17
    
No shared integrated console is the main downer for NTbackup. We also had issues where it would drop out halfway through backing up to a network share, thus rendering the entire .bkf useless. –  PowerApp101 May 20 '09 at 3:40

HP's DataProtector doesn't suck as bad as some other backup systems. All things considered, that's fairly high praise. It has agents for all three of those. It doesn't have a specific data-type for SSD, instead relying upon the OS to handle any special hoodoo. It works.

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I've started looking at that too, I'm at the stage of...'nothing looks awful just yet' - how does it handle VMWare? –  Chopper3 May 19 '09 at 20:51
    
I haven't tried any vmware-native backups, though we're backing up several VMs through more traditional methods (that's where our Exchange 2007 environment lives) and that works just fine. –  sysadmin1138 May 19 '09 at 21:15

We use HP DataProtector Express here. As sysadmin1138 said, it doesn't suck as bad as other (I use BackupExec for Netware on a few other servers...it is a painful experience every time I need to use it).

We do use the HP DataProtector Express to backup a few VMWare ESX based servers. We have the HP DataProtector Express software running on the Virtual Center Server and agents installed on the netware based VM's.

As for the Windows Server, well, we simply snapshot them and back those to a different tape, but you could also install the agents on those servers as well. They do have SQL and Exchange agents, not sure about SharePoint. The solution is a relatively low cost solution for smaller business (and was great for the relatively simple Netware Support).

So many options, but in the end, I haven't met a backup solution I have liked. The interface is never as simple as I believe it could(should) be.

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For a smaller number of servers, the sad news is that BackupExec is probably the best package out there. For a larger number of servers / bigger budget, check out EMC Avamar if you don't need tape.

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We have approx 30 servers and use tapes for offsite backups. –  Daniel Lucas May 19 '09 at 21:27
    
Check out Asigra, which a de-duplicating hosted backup provider. We came very close to selecting them for a remote server backup solution, but ran into some internal policy issues regarding off-site storage that were going to take too long to resolve. –  duffbeer703 May 19 '09 at 21:37
    
Oh and btw if you are interested in this kind of backup, there are probably dozens of other players in the space -- I looked at this about a year ago, and there have been alot of changes since. –  duffbeer703 May 19 '09 at 21:39
    
Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately we are in the healthcare industry and there are HIPPA issues with hosted backup. We did look into CDP from SonicWall with a unit at each of ours sites for off-site backup. We were a little worried about the ability of their appliances to scale as we grow and the cost was prohibitive in this economy. –  Daniel Lucas May 21 '09 at 3:17
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Thanks for all your suggestions. We have switched gears and decided to look for a backup appliance rather than software, something with deduplication but not necessarily CDP. We want to put one at each of our two sites (different US states) and have them back each other up for off-site storage. After doing more research I may post another request for advice but for now I'm going to answer this one myself.

Thanks again!

flashkube

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Symantec NetBackup? Commvault?

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BackupExec is the one the question was asking about alternatives for. –  Justin Scott May 19 '09 at 20:35
    
I'm a muppet, edited sorry. –  Chopper3 May 19 '09 at 21:05

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