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I'm running Veeam right now to back up VMs to disk which is great, but I like taking home a tape every night as an offsite backup. Integration with NTBackup is simple, just put a "ntbackup backup [vm files] [tape drive]" command to run at the end of the Veeam job.
Unfortunately NTBackup is no more in Server 2008, and my Server 2003 box is getting some grey hair.

What sort of things should I look for when purchasing tape backup solutions to enable me to keep the same functionality I currently have?

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2 Answers 2

You'll want something that can either start a job via the command-line (so you can continue with your current process of kicking the tape run off after the Veeam job); or you'll need to be able to run your Veeam job via the command-line, in which case you'll need a tape job app that can run a command-line before it runs to tape. Backup Exec can do both (bemcmd.exe is a hidden gem for command-line jobs, and the BE server supports pre-job commands).

In the UK, at least, Backup Exec is approx GB£500 for the main app. If you want to backup a second server, the Remote Agent is approx GB£200, provided you only want to backup files. If you want to backup a supported service (MSSQL, Oracle, VSphere, AD, etc), you'll need an agent for that service per machine (usually about GB£450). If you buy the service-specific agent, it usually contains an implicit Remote Agent, so you can backup files as well. The VSphere agent can backup VMs directly (i.e. without Veeam), but you'll need full-blown ESX (with VMware Consolidated Backup) to do it. Either way, most of the major third-party retailers offer the SKUs for the main app and the agents.

Of course, the easiest method is to have Veeam target a removable disk (e.g. USB or Firewire); you can take that offsite instead of a tape.

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Since it sounds like you're looking for a Windows based solution take a look at Microsoft DPM (Data Protection Manager). It has the ability to do both disk to disk and disk to tape backups. Basically NTBackup on steroids. You do have to pay for it as well as the hardware to get it running. Dell was able to spec out a stand-alone 2U server that met all of the requirements to run DPM. You can also get DPM as part of the Action Pack which helps cut down on the cost somewhat.

Overall you need to find a solution that you can scale with and is potentially future-proof. Eventually I am sure tapes will go to the way side in favor or more disk to disk based solutions, especially as disk and SSD prices come down and the amount of storage capacity goes up.

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