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ChaosEngine

Backups (online and image)

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Just wondering if anyone has any recommendations for backup solutions? I need recommendations for both a simple home backup and a more complex business backup. 

At home, I've been using Carbonite for a few years now, but over the last year, their image backup never worked and then they dropped the feature completely. 

At work, we were using Acronis for both file and image-based backups along with Google Drive to store the files (as well as taking a disk offsite in both daily and weekly configurations). However, Acronis is quite expensive for a small business and more importantly, it just doesn't seem to be reliable. We are frequently finding that the backups just haven't run on our servers or that the service is unavailable on workstations. 

As a small business, we don't have the resources to dedicate someone to look after these backups full time, so the solution needs to be largely automated. 

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I compress and use Google Drive. The problem is that they charge you when you go over the limit, so deleting old files is a must.For large backups a extra hard drive is best. You can get a 1TB from amazon for $50.

 

However these are just personal and affordable home backup methods, and work best if you keep replacing old data with new.

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I use a combination of DropBox for files/Google Drive for photos and docs/GitLab for private code (since they offer free private repos)/GitHub for public code.

End result is that there is no data to backup on my local drive, because all of it lives on the cloud to start with. A couple of times a year I nuke and reinstall my OS to remove accumulated cruft, only takes about an hour to be working again from the cloud data.

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7 minutes ago, swiftcoder said:

End result is that there is no data to backup on my local drive, because all of it lives on the cloud to start with. A couple of times a year I nuke and reinstall my OS to remove accumulated cruft, only takes about an hour to be working again from the cloud data.

That's cool, but it wouldn't really work for me. 

By the time we reinstall windows, connect to domain, install VS, office, local dev SQL server instances, etc, it's the better part of a day. Multiply that by 7 people and we've lost a weeks work.

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3 hours ago, ChaosEngine said:

That's cool, but it wouldn't really work for me. 

By the time we reinstall windows, connect to domain, install VS, office, local dev SQL server instances, etc, it's the better part of a day. Multiply that by 7 people and we've lost a weeks work.

Generally, a backup is used for disaster recovery. If a disaster happens which causes you to restore from a backup, its going to come with costs (time) to get data back.

If you have 7 workstations, and each takes about a day to install a fresh slate, it would be worth taking the time to create an image so you can restore from a baseline workstation build. It takes 1-2 hours to rebuild from an image and you can do this in parallel instead of synchronously, so your 7 workstations are up and running again in hours instead of a full week. This is what sysadmins do in the enterprise world... I've used Acronis and Ghost Image in the past and been happy with both, but you can probably google around for your preferred imaging software tool.

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1 hour ago, slayemin said:

If you have 7 workstations, and each takes about a day to install a fresh slate, it would be worth taking the time to create an image so you can restore from a baseline workstation build. It takes 1-2 hours to rebuild from an image and you can do this in parallel instead of synchronously, so your 7 workstations are up and running again in hours instead of a full week. This is what sysadmins do in the enterprise world... I've used Acronis and Ghost Image in the past and been happy with both, but you can probably google around for your preferred imaging software tool.

That's actually what we do at the moment. But we've been having serious issues with Acronis, so I was looking for alternative recommendations.

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7 hours ago, swiftcoder said:

I use a combination of DropBox for files/Google Drive for photos and docs/GitLab for private code (since they offer free private repos)/GitHub for public code.

 

I am doing the same, except DropBox for docs I want easy access to, and its camera upload features. Google Drive replaces my Office. Bitbucket for private repos, and Github for public. For everything else that I infrequently use, I use S3 with rclone to sync them up.

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I'm using Crashplan for Business - the personal product was discontinued recently. I'll likely change soon, as the business offering is likely not the most cost effective choice. No image support though, so if you're going to insist then no dice.

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11 hours ago, ChaosEngine said:

As a small business, we don't have the resources...

How big is your small business?

If you are a big enough small business to have a few network servers, a D2D2T system may be quite affordable.  If the sysadmin has some decent scripting skills a simple automated backup machine for the D2D portion, and a tape drive plus media for the D2T portion, can cost a few thousand dollars.  Add a few more thousand if the admins aren't up to it or they need to buy professional backup software to sleep better at night. It may feel like a lot to some people, but the tape drive and media aren't that much more than the cost of the good backup server. 

The hardest part is periodically verifying the restore works and rotating out the media to an off-site location.

They require a bit of elbow grease to get started, but compared to the long-term continual costs of online backup services a D2D2T system becomes cost effective rather quickly.

At current media costs, once you've sunk the costs to get it started you're looking at about $4 per TB.

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6 hours ago, ChaosEngine said:

But we've been having serious issues with Acronis

Mind expanding on this? I'm also currently looking into setting up a proper backup solution.

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