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I am not proficient in the use of Symantec Backup Exec, I will like to know what is the best known backup strategies for a simple file server. I have 5 LTO 3 cartriges new and available to start this strategy but don't know what will be the best approach.

I though to do one weekly on Friday (full in disk 1) and then an incremental everyday until next friday (in disk 0) then another full in disk 2 and so on. Is this the best way.


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What does "full in disk 1" mean? How much data are you backing up? Is it just a single tape drive or some sort of auto-loader/library? – Ward Jul 20 '09 at 17:16
Now that I re-read the question, I agree that I could use better wording. As soon as I get a few minutes I will modify it. Thanks for all your time. – Geo Jul 20 '09 at 18:35
You should probably read my post on "Overwrite Protection" in Backup Exec-- I suspect you're going to need to know about it.… – Evan Anderson Jul 20 '09 at 19:07

A related question and answers:

Setting up a new backup scheme

Without knowing what the answers to my questions in the comment, I'd go with:

  • Friday - full backup
  • Weekdays - differential backups (not incremental)
  • Sat/Sun - either nothing if there's no work done on the weekend, or treat them the same as weekdays

Tape rotation will depend on how much data. I'd have separate tapes (or sets of tapes) that I use for full backups and for the differentials. If your full backup fits on one tape and all the differentials also fit on one then you'd get something like:

  • Fri - Full01
  • Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu - Diff01
  • Fri - Full02
  • Mon/Tue/Wed/Thu - Diff02
  • Fri - Full03
  • and so on...

You say you have 5 cartridges, but LTO3's are cheap enough now that you can buy some more. I'd keep at least the last 4 fulls, and I'd have at least 3 or 4 diff tapes to rotate through. When we were only using tape, we'd keep the last full of each month for one year, and we'd keep two of the fulls forever. You'll need more tapes w/in a month if you want to do something like this.

If it takes more than one tape for a full, you'd adjust as necessary, and obviously you'd need more tapes up-front.

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Tapre rotation does not depend on data it depends on retention- basing tape rotation on dataset is a common mistake. – Jim B Jul 20 '09 at 18:51

"Best" is a relative term. It really depends on what you're backing up and how important it is to get that data quickly.

Most important items first: make sure you take backups offsite! I know that's not mentioned in your question specifically, but the reminder never hurts. You can pay Iron Mountain to do it for you, take the tape to a safe-deposit box, or take it home. And encrypt that tape while you're at it.

A pretty easy-looking way to set up BE is to use the Policy wizard. In Backup Exec 11d (assume it's still there for newer versions) that will help setup a Grandfather-Father-Son media rotation for you to the backup device of your choice. In 11d, select Backup-->New Policy Using Wizard. I just skimmed it on my backup server, but it should walk you through the details of setting it up. This will let you go back up to a year. Also, if you use the Vaults, you can tell exactly where your tape is (off-site, online, under the mattress, etc.)...if you tell BE where your tape is when you Inventory.

The drawback is that by default it will require more tapes. In fact, you'll need 6 tapes just to make it through the week, as each daily incremental will be on a tape and overwrite protected. This can be nice, but 5 LTOs won't cut it! Best case, you'd have 12 tapes for a year's worth of monthlies, 5 tapes for a month's worth of weeklies, and 5 more for a week's worth of dailies.

Remember that if this is doing any sort of database stuff (mail, SQL, etc.), you probably need some sort of agent for BE to really back it up.

Hope this helps! CC

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Backups do NOT have to be offsite. Media rotation can't even be thought of until you know how long you need to retain backups (eg you would be silly to do GFS if your retention is weekly) – Jim B Jul 20 '09 at 17:24
Ummm...while I agree GFS may be overkill, no offsite means no backup. If the building burns while your tapes are in it, you don't have a backup. Unless perhaps you mean an internet-based solution, but that's still offsite. – CC. Jul 20 '09 at 17:28

There is no best strategy. Backup type, frequency and content are all determined by whatever the buisness requirements are.

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