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I am trying to figure out a solution to my works backing up issue and came here for a second opinion. This is my approach:
1. do a full server backup(o.s., programs, etc.) and put that backup on an external drive.
2. Sign up with Carbonite to perform file backups daily.

Does this sound good? Will I be fully protected(back up wise) if some disaster happened and the server hard drive failed? I need a second opinion asap and appreciate your input on this.

Edited by SyncMaster170

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Last Post by JorgeM
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There is usually no point in backing up your operating system files or program files. My suggestion is that you focus your backup efforts on the data. This is because, even if you have a full backup of your server, you really cant just restore that entire backup. You would have to re-install the OS first, then apply your restore.

I think the best approach in a complete failure situation is to reload the OS from scratch, reinstall the Apps, then restore the critical data from backup.

If you think you have a solution that can back up the entire server, my suggestion to you is to try the restore process as soon as possible to make sure that it works. Do not wait until you have a failure to test your restore process. Many admins fail to test their solution until they need it and then find out that they cannot restore the data as they thought.

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He's talking about a server. And if a server fails and has downtime while you're reinstalling all of the applications and such which could take days if not properly documented, that could be a nasty problem. So doing a full backup (if it's a server) should be a fine solution, make sure you do it weekly or monthly though, rotate them, and make sure to enable system protection on your drives and enable system restore points.

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Thanks shinedevil! Not so much the other guy. Because I am talking about Windows Server 2008 R2. Sorry I didnt specify that in the beginning, but I did say "Full Server Backup", and it is totally possible to restore your o.s. and programs from a restore. Yes you have to reinstall the o.s., but the restore takes you to the last point in time where you did the back up.
Shinedevil is absolutely correct when he said that it could be a nasty problem as it would take days to get everything back in order without a full server backup.
We have hyper-v with three vm's, sql server 2008 and a water billing program for our members which, without a full server backup, would be a potential catastrophy. I just wanted to collaborate with other I.T. guys as I am a 1 man team:/ Sucks but it does make me stronger as the admin;).
Thanks again for your guys inputs, I love talking on here about issues/ideas.
But I still gave ITG-JM a rep point for his last paragraph. You made me realize that testing the backup is half the battle. But how do you suppose I do that? Create a vm and try to do a restore with the backup??

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Hello SyncMaster170.

I appreciate your feedback concerning my post. I do not want for you or anyone else reading this thread to misunderstand the message. I have worked many years with regard to server support. There is a huge misconcepcion out there with regard to backup strategy.

Regardless of the backup strategy that you choose, I am glad that the message about testing your restores got through. This is one of the most important steps in backup managment that many admins fail to do.

If the server you are backing up from is a VM, then restoring to a VM should work as expected. In this scenario, you do not have to worry about drivers and other specific settings that would normally cause a BSOD when restoring to a different system.

The process would be as previsouly described where you would need to re-install the OS, then apply the latest full backup.

To speed up the restore process, you need to put together a backup strategy. Whether you perform full backups everyday, or a combination of Full and Incremental/Differential backups, depends on what your backup window is and how quickly you want to be able to restore your system.

For example, if you perform full backups every day, the daily backups will take the most time and use alot of backup media, but your restore is quicker (you only have to deal with the last good full backup). However, if you perform a full backup once per week and perform incremental daily backups, your daily backups are very, very quick, but your restore process takes much longer as you would first apply the last good full, then apply each daily incremental.

If you want to keep it simple and do not have time or cost restirctions, the easiest approach with regard to managing this process is to run full backups daily.

Hope this information was of use to use.

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ITG-JM,

Thanks for the reply:) However, if you could, pleaseee enlighten me on how one tests out a backup? I honestly have never had to use a backup,whether it be home or at work for a server. I am a little confused as to how you would actually test out a full server backup as the only tools I have that could potentially test it out is a vm with server 08 R2 installed. Please be specific. And once again, thanks for collaborating with me!

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My pleasure in discussing this topic with you. The topic of backup is like insurance. No one really wants to deal with it or pay for it until there is a disaster.

So first, let me make a quick recommendation that may be of interest to you. If you plan on having a manual backup in place, say backing up to an external drive, then I would suggest that, if you can bring the VM down on a routine basis, just make a copy of the virtual files. This is actually better than a full backup. Its more like a snapshot in a point in time. This process will guarantee with just about 100% of certainty that your restores will work. Why...simple...because you are basically making a copy of the server. If you cannot bring the server down to do this, you will need to then continue with your plan on taking backups with backup software.

With regard to testing out the restores...for a full backup to work in a windows environment, there are certain considerations you need to be aware of. I would start by reading these articles. If you want to try out a test, go ahead and follow the instructions found in the second link below. To test the full restore, follow the steps in the third link to a new VM. Since you are not familiar with the backup process, you'll find this to be a valuable challange. After you complete this process, re-evaluate whether just making a copy of the VMs make more sense from backup strategy/management perspective. On a small scale (1 server) the VM copy is doable. However, in an enterprise with hundreds of VMs, this would not be feesible.

Windows Server Backup Step-by-Step Guide for Windows Server 2008
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc770266(v=ws.10).aspx

Backing up your Server
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/404a51b5-99a6-43d1-b5a5-36261cb5ade2

Recover the operating system or full server
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc755163

If you are backing up a VM and you want to restore to a VM, you will be fine.

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