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How do I maintain a single up to date backup of our Exchange 2003 server onto a remote computer, connected over the internet?

We still take nightly backups onto tape but we want something completely automated. Set it and forget it. Our tape backups are also becoming increasingly unreliable due to the age of the tape drive and we are not in the best financial situation to replace it. Free or cheap software is a necessity, unfortunately!

We use a standard ADSL connection, so backing up the 30GB worth of database files over the internet each night is obviously not an option, nor is it likely to be an option to do it each week either. One single database file is 19GB on its own.

There must be a way of taking incremental backups, pushing these changes over the internet to a remote computer using a VPN connection which then merges the changes into a single backup file.

How would I do this?

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This could be as simple as hooking up a VPN connection between the office network & the remote location, but I suspect 'fire and forget' will never be compatible with free/cheap when you're talking about needing reliable backup.

Disk space is a lot cheaper than it used to be. If you want cheap and easy, I recommend picking up 2 external USB drives so that one is always offsite. Alternate them every night, or use one for differential & one for weekly. Script the important Exchange files into your backup (don't forget to get a systemstate from your AD server, if that's what you're using), and then just remember to bring in the right drive on the right day & plug it in.

Sure, it's not perfect, but I think you're going to run into more roadblocks and reliability problems with the Internet-backup scenario.

Also, you may want to think about what you're giving up by ditching the tape backup. Does your current backup software have a backup-to-disk option or are you going to be going from a specialized piece of software to backup-by-hand or -script? How are you managing retention policies?

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