I just got back from the Kaseya Connect Conference and thought it was a great venue to talk to all of the Kaseya movers and shakers, listen to best practices and cross-pollinate ideas with many in our peer group.

One subject that I was particularly interested in was Backup and Disaster Recovery. I sat in on Ted Swanson's presentation (and I had alsoattended his webinar) where he described his methodology of backing up to a company-owned storage server, installed on the client's network. He uses Kaseya/Acronis to do image backups (followed by daily differential backups) to this server and then uses BackupExec to backup this drive to some external drive. I did not get all of the nuts and bolts of how this solution is put together, so I may have a few of the details wrong.

What I would like to do with this thread is compare notes and see how each of us are approaching the same situation.

I will start with my company. Most of our clients have Small Business Server. Even though this product is at the low end of the pricing spectrum, it is probably the biggest challenge for bu/dr because of all that is going on inside the box. If the client has an active email profile, there can be 10's of exchange log files created daily and these have to be cleared out before they start piling up. A backup is the quickest way to get rid of them.

I have settled on a blended approach so far. I use two different external USB hard drives. One is usually a 500Gb drive and the other one is either a 250Gb or larger where I have several that are swapped on a daily basis.

I run my Kaseya backup to the 500, and I usually use incremental on a 14 day rotation, keeping 2 sets. I have never (knock on wood) had a bad restore because of a bad incremental as long as tape was not involved. I also utiilize the backup wizard in SBS to store daily bkf files to the 250, storing as many as I can based on the size of the backup. This keeps the exchange folder clean and also if I ever need Microsoft support, I always have a valid bkf file for their satisfaction. These drives can be rotated out for offsite storage and SBS seems to be able to manage the rotation properly. (I must say that MS finally got it right with this one. In the past, backup was a horrible proposition that rarely worked reliably.)

As of this time, I have not used offsite storage for specific files or directories, but I have implemented it for offsite storage ofAcronis images (.tib files). If there is not too much data to synchronize, it works fine. I have also implemented the Kaseya offsite storage to a host that is actually onsite, so I get copies at wire speed, then we can rotate this drive if we want real offsite storage.

Bottom line: it is all about recovery. I have found that my first recovery action usually involves using VSS to restore a file from the Shadow Copy folder. If this fails, then I will mount an Acronis image and pick the file(s) that I want to restore. If there is a crash of the hardware, then restoring to the same config is pretty reliable with Acronis or bkf files (much quicker with Acronis), but if the restore is to different equipment (even a bigger drive), it can be touch and go.

Microsoft's Data Protection Manager (DPM) sounds really interesting, but it does not seem like a product that could be rolled out to all clients due to the expense and complexity. Ted's solutions sounds great, but the front-end costs for the storage server could be an issue. He also rolls the price of the box into his upper level MSAs. What is the market value of that, if we were to adopt his idea for existing agreements?

What are you guys using for your backup strategy and are you happy with it?


Legacy Forum Name: What does the Backup configuration look like for your typical client?,
Legacy Posted By Username: RandyS