I work for a small school that has two Windows 2003 servers. I'm trying to get a grip on cost-effective strategies to handle the failure of one or both servers. I come from a UNIX background, so I understand the various strategies and trade-offs I might use in that world, but I have only about 8 months worth of experience in the Windows server world.
Right we have Norton Backup Exec 12 doing backups to two separate low-end CIFS NAS boxes. Each NAS box has a full set of backups.
All this was set up before I started with this school. My real goal is to take an old server box and use the backups to do a restore, both to demonstrate that the backups work and so that I can document the process in the event of a real failure.
Another goal I've been given is to get an off-site backup. My idea was to setup a Linux box, take a local copy of all the files written by Norton Backup on one of of the CIFS NASes, then move that Linux box out of the building and keep it up to date with rsync. But the NAS boxes don't support rsync, and so far I haven't been able to get Norton Backup Exec to do a backup to a local Linux box running SAMBA. (I'm assuming that it is best to do an rsync of the Norton Backup files because Norton Backup keeps track of NTFS permissions and any other Windows metadata that might be lost by trying to rsync directly from Windows Server to Linux.)
- The two servers each have 500 gig of RAID 1 storage. A full backup of both servers using Backup Exec takes about 650 gig.
- We can afford to be down for a day or so - long enough to do a full restore if needed.
- We can't afford an off-site stand-by server.
- We have some older server boxes that we can use to make this all work.
- We have a business class cable internet connection with about 2mbits upload - fast enough to do some incremental backup out to an off-site server over night.
Is Norton Backup Exec the reasonable way to go? I don't know much about it, and it certainly isn't helping with the off-site incremental backup problem. Will Norton Backup handle a bare-metal restore? Our support contract with Norton has expired, so I can't get any help on this from them without more money.
Given my constraints, is there a better way to handle this? Is there a better backup package or strategy suited to our small shop needs?