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  1. We've been running Symantec Backup Exec for a few years now just to backup one workstation (our register) to a tape drive. The program has gotten to be very problematic. It has always caused major system slowdown due to all the services it has to have constantly running. Here lately, every time the PC does an update and restarts some of the Backup Exec services don't seem to start back up correctly and we end up not getting our automatic updates done nightly. No warnings are sent either, which the program is configured to take care of as well. I think it's time to get rid of both the software and the tape drive.

    We have three workstations in the store. The first one is our register, a Dell Optiplex running XP Pro and Microsoft RMS software as an Inventory/POS system. RMS works with an SQL server on the same system. The second one is our color computer for matching paint. It's an old Optiplex running XP Home. The color software also uses an SQL local server. I currently back this machine up weekly with Acronis to an external HDD. The third machine is a newer build running Win7 Pro x64. It'll be used to run job estimating software once I figure out the BSOD issues (which I'm pretty sure are related to a problematic Mobo at this point). It does local backups to an internal drive via Win7's built in software at this point.

    I'm thinking of setting up an NAS solution on the network.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822107053
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152238

    I'd like some input on my choice of hardware to begin with. Then I'd like a recommendation for the correct software to go with it. I'm not big on the newer versions of Acronis. I've been happier on my own PCs with Paragon Drive Backup so that is a consideration. I'm basically looking for something that will backup to the NAS every night automatically and delete or overwrite the old backups when a certain limit is reached. I'm not sure how capable Paragon is of this since I don't use any automatic functions of that software myself. I manually backup once a week. I've looked at server and workstation editions of Paragon and the Server is rather expensive for our purpose, and I'm not sure what benefit it would really have for me. I'd like to install a client on each of the three computers and have them all backup to their own share on the NAS.

    I appreciate any input.
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  2. I got away from Backup Exec and tape drives years ago. Too many failures with software, and tape drives. Not worth the hassle.

    Not real fond of NAS boxes either. Proprietary drive setup and non-replaceable network cards. Pop a card and you got a dead box with an unusable drive.

    External or internal HD for backup. Internal in a cartridge or removable mount, image the entire main drive regularly then remove the HD. You have a complete bootable drive with all data ready to replace the main drive if needed, and the backup drive has minimal wear and tear.

    External or internal drives for data backup. This can be run more regularly. Files in standard format and can be networked in minutes. Main problem here is software that will backup the SQL files with SQL running. I usually manually down the SQL server and use Synchback (free) to copy files. If the program has an internal backup function than this is less necessary.
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  3. External drives for data backup. Always external drives for data backup. When the computer goes down you can't get to your internal data drive. Especially in a business atmosphere, when you don't have the time to tear the computer apart to see if the internal data disk is still good.
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  4. Thanks for the input. The reason I was considering an NAS setup is that the backup solution needs to be running and automatic. I'm the only one in the store that is at all computer literate. The boss can swap a new tape in every morning, but that's about it. If it doesn't take care of itself from there then it's a no go. I'm wondering if I setup a new internal SATA drive in a removable storage bay, whether installing Paragon and having it do a full nightly backup would be feasible. I'm assuming the image would take care of the SQL snapshot as well, I would just have to restore the image instead of loading an actual SQL backup into a new database. I know Paragon will not directly connect and download a backup of a running SQL server.
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    For backup of our 2 servers, I have 5 300GB and 2 500GB portable USB drives. The 5 300GB for differential backups during the week and the 2 500GB for full backups every Sunday (swapping drives each Friday). I mapped and shared these to C:\USB\Monday, C:\USB\Tuesday, etc. and C:\USB\Weekend-A and C:\USB\Weekend-B on our main server. This allows me to detach and re-attach to the server and each drive will always get mapped to it's corresponding directory (mapping to drive letters doesn't allow this) and the other server can access the correct one over the network. I then created some batch files that I schedule to run on each server at night that use the native Backup program in Windows Server 2003 to backup to the USB drives. We have a gigabit network so it works fast enough. Restoring a single or several files is much faster than tapes, plus the USB drives hold much more data.
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  6. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    If you were using a Windows server OS instead of a Windows desktop OS, this would have been a little easier.
    I know, that doesn't help. Just an FYI.

    Acronis is an industry favorite.

    Don't try to backup SQL through the file system. Use a SQL backup system.
    MS SQL or MySQL? (Or another SQL?)

    A lot of folks assume I only know video -- photo and web dev is also in my sphere.
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  7. Looks like the management portion of the register, the backend, has a built in backup function for the database that can be manually run. Basically click on backup database and choose a location to save the file. I guess I could try getting them to do this every day and let the backup software do a disk image nightly.
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  8. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    You can still automate it.
    Manual backup systems are not the way to go long-term.
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