Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What are you all using for your server backups? We have 95% Windows servers and are looking for new backup software without breaking the bank, if possible. I've been looking at ShadowProtect and greatly enjoy how easy it is to use, but I'm still open to other alternatives and want to investigate as many opportunities as possible. It'd have to back up a variety of servers including SQL/Exchange/File Servers, etc. Not looking for anything cloud based or to backup workstations either, we'll keep the backups on local storage or network storage and eventually in safes. Performance is a factor, I don't want to be slowing down the servers anymore than necessary but our current backups take hours so anything comparable or less than that for a full backup of a server would suffice. Easy management is also important, once its set up it shouldn't need to be looked at more often than to verify backups are working and can restore correctly. Thanks.

share|improve this question
Try as a starting point -- this has already been gone over a few times, and there are lots of great options (all of which are highly dependent on exactly what you want to back up, and to where) – voretaq7 May 24 '11 at 18:41
I did see many threads about backing up certain things or to certain devices and since what I'm looking for is so generic none of them really applied to me, that I saw. We're small enough that one all encompassing solution, even if a bit overkill for some things, would be better than managing multiple backup solutions. – Shawn May 24 '11 at 18:58
We use Commvault's backup solution. Galaxy or Simpana or whatever its called these days. It's not cheap but it's very good. – RobM May 24 '11 at 19:05
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I feel this is a bit of a shopping question, but I will throw in my .02.

When it comes to backups, identifying what you are backing up (both amount and file type), and how fast you need to get to it, is going to dictate your solution(s). Personally, I love ShadowProtect, for imaging. Sure, you can pull individual files from your backup images, but that's not really what it's meant for.

If you are not looking to backup to the cloud, you will need a physical destination, such as a tape drive or SAN, as well as software that is Exchange/SQL aware. This could be as simple as NT Backup, or something bigger like Backup Exec.

Here, we use a combination of imaging on our servers and backing up our VMs to an external drive, as well as using an online backup solution for business critical files and Exchange.

EDIT: We are a small shop too, and as much as we looked, there wasn't a 'silver bullet' for backup solutions that also comes with peace of mind. Like I mentioned, we employ a few different things, and its not a whole lot of extra work.

share|improve this answer
Do you see any downsides to using something like Shadowprotect for what I want to do? – Shawn May 30 '11 at 12:44
I think SP is a great way to do your backups, provided you have sufficient storage available. – DanBig May 30 '11 at 16:36

The functionality built into Amanda (a UNIX-based backup solution) that allows it to back up SMB shares is pretty spectacular.

Plus, Amanda is just an awesome product to start with... and it's free.

share|improve this answer

We use Crash Plan Pro, which is managed through an easy-to-use web interface. I haven't seen any difference in performance since we started using it, and it's really cheap. It will also send confirmation e-mails when it runs; it gives you a very detailed report, of what was backed up, how much was backed up, from where and to where. It's awesome as far as I'm concerned. It's also multi-platform (with about 30 mins of work), we use it on our Windows servers, and our servers running linux.

share|improve this answer
but do you backup SQL and exchange databases with it? And then tested a restore? I use Crashplan + at home and love it but I've not seen anything in crashplan that would make me feel confident about using it to backup enterprise systems. If there's something there I'd be interested myself. – RobM May 24 '11 at 21:27
I'm with Robert on this one. I don't see anything regarding those two products, and companies are real quick to tout the ability to back those up. That lack of crowing makes me hesitant about using this, as SQL and Exchange are nasty beasts if you don't back them up right. – Holocryptic May 24 '11 at 21:33
We don't use exchange, but it will backup SQL databases (at least indirectly). Just schedule a job for the database to be backed up and then backup that backup file with CPP. Works Perfectly. – Aaron May 24 '11 at 21:38
Okay, I can get on board with that. – Holocryptic May 24 '11 at 21:42
Yep, that's fine for SQL but the OP noted exchange in their list of requirements. – RobM May 25 '11 at 10:22

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.