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Windows 2000 Server Backup Suggestions


TSRI
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I'm looking for some suggestions for backing up a Windows 2000 Server running AD. I've been toying with different ideas and software but want to keep it reasonable, cost effective and preferably with the ability for a bare metal restore. I like Acronis because of the ability to run a boot disc and restore a complete image from a network drive, but $850 is too pricey for the software. I could probably get away with a lesser version of Acronis for the workstations.... With NTbackup, Windows needs to be running, so the backup is somewhat useless in a HD crash.

I've considered NAS boxes & JBODs but am currently plan on using an additional internal hard drive. Any good ideas or software recommendations? TIA.

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There aren't any great solutions that are dirt cheap. We're still using an old version of BackupExec at work (also expensive & not exactly great) but we're likely moving to Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 Server sometime soon, even if it's a bit on the expensive side.

the ability for a bare metal restore

That already makes the list of suitable apps pretty short.

I could probably get away with a lesser version of Acronis for the workstations

Those editions aren't meant for servers, and as such will likely cause you problems when the time to restore comes (lost and/or corrupted data is likely -- we're definitely NOT risking losing our data to save $800!) Many apps that runs on servers need specialized backup apps, such as Exchange, SQL Server, Virtual Machines and others. Nevermind all the files that are open, etc.

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Right - and since Win2K doesn't have VSS, you *need* an application with it's own shadow functionality to deal with in-use files during backup, or you will have corruption and/or missing data in your backup. This is why Win2K and NT4 backups were the realm of apps like BackupExec, because they did have their own (very good) file-in-use engines via a filter driver. It worked well, but you paid through the nose for them.

Otherwise, you have to take the machine offline to get a good copy, and frankly servers being offline for backup is so 1990 ;).

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Thanks guys, I understand what you're saying. I'm working with a small business and don't think they'll go for the expense of Acronis Server. Frankly, their current config is overkill and they probably don't need anything more than a file server (which would make software expenses more manageable), so I'm trying to find good alternatives. All the workstations (mixed OS) seem to be running software that's installed locally.

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If all they need is a simple file server, using something other than Windows may be sufficient (given W2K isn't even supported anymore). I guess it depends on the types of permissions that may or may not need to be set and the knowledge level of the person or persons running the network that would determine the file server OS (Windows is a fine OS for file serving, but it's not free and you mentioned finances / budgeting in your post).

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If all they need is a simple file server, using something other than Windows may be sufficient (given W2K isn't even supported anymore). I guess it depends on the types of permissions that may or may not need to be set and the knowledge level of the person or persons running the network that would determine the file server OS (Windows is a fine OS for file serving, but it's not free and you mentioned finances / budgeting in your post).

Exactly. Those are all things I've been considering. The network was originally setup by a family member/network admin when they were a larger business. They really don't need that level of security now for 5 or 6 users. While I'm not technically a network admin, I'm doing all their IT work. As far as budgeting, I have to run some ideas by them, it's the $850 for 1 piece of software that I think may be a sticking point.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I use a VBS script and existing MS tools to backup a running system to a second disk. The resulting backup is bootable so there's nothing to restore.

3 steps: I use robocopy.exe from Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools. It mirrors everything except the registry. Then I copy the Registry using Regback.exe from Windows 2000 Resource Kit. Then I apply a small Registry tweak to make the cloned partition bootable. It all runs automatically at night in Windows Task Scheduler. It works in Win2k and XP, (Regback utility doesn't work in XP so you gotta use a different tool like ERUNT for copying the registry on a running system).

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