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My company ships an appliance that runs on Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard. It runs SQL Server 2008 Express R2 as well. The appliance generates content by recording video from IP cameras so we generate a lot of data every day. I'd say a typical installation writes 2-3 GB worth of data every day assuming our users don't record more content than usual on a particular day.

There are a few things of interest to me in terms of what I'd like to back up:

  • The media
  • The database

Ideally this would work seamlessly with the rest of the application as that's the main selling point of this product.

It seems easy to backup the database because it usually stays quite small (less than 100 MB). I'm wondering if there is any good way to backup all that video content though. I'm imagining that we're going to need to build something in house eventually but even that sounds like it'd be a lot of work to keep going.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks!

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Provide a way to generate a nightly backup to CIFS, FTP or some other common storage that the user has access to. Users are then responsible for backups of this data like they'd be responsible for any other backups from any other appliance. Don't re-invent the wheel, and don't try to shoulder the costs of running your own Internet backup service for these appliances. It's your job to make the tools available to the user, but you don't need to babysit them to make sure they're using the product properly.

The one problem you may conceivably face is dealing with incomplete restores, and you'll need the application logic in place to detect them and recover gracefully. (You should have this anyway.)

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There are 2 pieces I see here, the backup of data from the appliance, and the restore to the appliance (I am presuming the appliance OS itself does not need backup). Without knowing much about the appliance setup, I would have a separate partition with a shared folder that you could use either the native zip compression or (my preference) WinRar or any other scriptable compression utility. You would schedule daily archives to this partition (with an overwrite scheme so as not to run out of space) of both the database and the videos. These could them by copied off at the users discretion should they require long term archives. For restores you will have to create a script (I would leverage powershell) that would recover the database and the video from that particular backup.

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