We have just finished a project to automate backups. The goal was to reduce backup operator errors by ensuring tape swaps are removed from day-to-day operations. Other improvements were introduced and addressed a number of other issues b
was the main goal. A lot of other small-to-medium companies are in this predicament where no full-time staff exists to take care of daily backups. This project successfully addressed this.
We purchased a Drobo FS network-attached storage (NAS) appliance with enough terabytes of capacity to last us over 2-4 weeks of daily incremental backups. Running ‘incremental’ was important because ‘full’ backup wouldn’t last for more that a week. At the end of the 2 weeks, we rotate to Full tape backups which requires a backup operator to come in and swap tapes. At the same time, an automated process runs to clear out the contents of the NAS appliance preparing it for the next incremental set. To ensure that the backup operators don’t forget to swap tapes, a windows scheduled task sends an email alert reminding them. A recurring Outlook calendar entry is also in place to remind the backup operat
ors every two weeks.
Using BackupExec as the backup software works well with tape and nearline rotation. I use the canned Grandfather-Father-Scheme (GFS) backup policy and simply customize that to do run incrementals daily for 2 weeks and a full tape backup on the second Friday of the 2 week period. I use the GFS rule that let’s the full tape backup win over the nearline backup on Fridays by specifying that it wins on the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month. Sounds confusing? Contact me for more information on the setup.
In addition to running GFS backups, I have also set up the BackupExec Intelligent Disaster Recovery (IDR) backups during monthly maintenance work. The IDR backups run on Saturday after regular backups complete and it writes it to the Drobo FS.
We’ll use these IDR backups for Disaster Recovery but that’s another discussion.