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Preface: About 200 users, some XP, some Vista, some Windows 7 Enterprise. Currently there is an effort underway to upgrade all users to Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit. The backup could be implemented once all users are using Windows 7 64-bit. The DC is not under my control, but I do have the support of those who run the DC. I am the admin of my OU. The profiles are currently only stored on the local machine.

What I would like to achieve is to backup the profile of each user daily and retain the data for a specified period of time so that older backups (not just last nights') can be restored if necessary.

My Google-fu isn't strong enough to find my way through the many different commercial offerings and figure out which actually does what I need without doing a bunch of other stuff I don't need and don't necessarily want to pay for.

What I am looking for is a way to perhaps do weekly full backups and then incremental ones in between. The backups will run over a 100 Mbit LAN link so there is some concern over link and subsequently storage I/O saturation. There needs to be some way to efficiently schedule those backups.

There are a number of laptop users. The solution would need to address those in such a way that their machine doesn't bog down with the backups when they connect to the local network after having been away for a few days.

I would be OK with scripting this though I would prefer to just pay for a commercial solution that comes with reporting, perhaps de-duplication, etc. I definitely do not want a storage appliance as we already have ample storage capacity.

Any pointers in the right direction will be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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Maybe Crasplan Enterprise. – Zoredache Jan 11 '12 at 20:07
Maybe I missed a requirement but why not just enable roaming profiles and back those up from the server? – Paul Ackerman Jan 11 '12 at 20:19
To echo Paul's comment and to add a bit more: I would suggest using roaming profiles in conjunction with My Documents redirection. – joeqwerty Jan 11 '12 at 20:34
To echo joeqwerty's comment and to add a bit more: I would suggest using roaming profiles in conjunction with My Documents redirection and offline-files (Client-side caching). – jscott Jan 11 '12 at 20:44
2 – Evan Anderson Jan 11 '12 at 20:57

As @Paul Ackerman says, why not roaming profiles? Quick and easy unless some have multi-GB profiles and you have a very slow network.

Backup Exec has a Desktop Laptop agent that allows reporting and granular control. It can be easily managed but still needs setup.

Not sure how you avoid network resourse use. The roaming profile is usually simple to configure but if you cannot access that OU to set it up, that is an issue.

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If combined with folder redirection as per @joeqwerty's comment too, then you shouldn't have multi GB profiles. – Bryan Jan 11 '12 at 20:40
@Paul and Dave The issue with roaming profiles is that it adds substantial complexity in terms of setup, administration, and reliance on network resources to make all of this work. Just backing up local profiles is basically trivial in comparison. I'll read up on roaming profiles some more but since I don't control the DC and those who are don't advocate roaming profiles I don't really see it as a viable solution at this point. Also, quite a few of our users do have multi-GB document folders. – Reality Extractor Jan 11 '12 at 21:46
@Bryan if you redirect all file heavy folders then that defeats the purpose of what we are trying to achieve which is to reliably back up the user's data – Reality Extractor Jan 11 '12 at 22:22
@RealityExtractor - Why would it? It's common practise to use roaming profiles and folder redirection together? There is no reason why backup would suffer as a result as folder redirection will redirect these folders to a network share, thus preventing your profiles from becoming unmanageable. In fact i'd advise against using roaming profiles if you don't include folder redirection to a network share. – Bryan Jan 11 '12 at 23:02
@RealityExtractor The laptops can be configured to sync automatically, but offline files is a bit of a disaster IMHO, and I try to avoid using it as much as possible. You might want to consider one policy for laptops and a different policy for desktops, as folder redirection & roaming profiles will work perfectly on your 'fixed' desktop PCs. – Bryan Jan 12 '12 at 20:48

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