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We run a business with our offices in Nottingham in the UK. We keep our business critical data on a set of servers in Manchester UK. Although the two locations are not half a world away from one another it would be a considerable time investment to go and physically stand by our servers and do stuff right there.

For the most part this isn't a problem. We have live servers and a back up server for on site backup which are ticking along nicely and are managed remotely. The problem comes in the tricky area of off site back ups. We're currently just taking an emergency back up to an online service but this is obviously quite slow. Ideally, of course, one would do something like tape backups stored with a physical courier service or similar. This is reasonably impractical in our current set up.

The major goal the business would like to achieve is to keep a limited backup set on site (we don't have all the storage space in the world) and keep a larger amount of backups off site, about a week's worth would be fine. Obviously with a tape drive and courier arrangement this would come down to having enough tapes. With an online service the upload times just make this unfeasible.

We are considering new hosting arrangements but until that happens is there anything different we could do to help improve matters or are we at the limits of what we can currently achieve?

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How much data are you talking about? –  Bart Silverstrim Dec 7 '10 at 12:37
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When you're talking about a backup server and live servers, are you talking backup for taking backups, or do you mean "@!#$ the server died we're switching to backup?" That's not a backup server, that's insuring availability of services if that's what you mean. –  Bart Silverstrim Dec 7 '10 at 12:38
    
What resources do you have available? Like, is there an IT person at the site that can rotate an external hard drive on site so one is at another location each week, or is it just you doing everything? What is kind of staffing do you have at the sites? You could use a few external drives with a terabyte of storage rotated offsite for archived backup if need be. –  Bart Silverstrim Dec 7 '10 at 12:40
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1) Not a great deal as it goes. Currently about 15 gigs max but growing. 2) No, it's a server that exists for taking backups. If the server died we'd have to restore a new server from the back up, not just switch a switch. 3) We sublet space from an external software shop that sublets space from a hosting provider that rents space from a ginormous data warehousing specialist. We are lucky if we can get someone to go and punch the on off switch on one of the boxes. –  One Monkey Dec 7 '10 at 13:10

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