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Any WinXP backup software that DOESN'T "zip"?

VeganVegan Registered User regular
edited January 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
If I sound like a total idiot, please go easy on me.

My workplace is a small family business, so we just have a little network of a few computers on a Windows XP workgroup. It works. We have a "server" that's really just another XP computer, that our computers pull files off of.

I'm trying to find backup software that'll

1) Work with XP,
2) Do differential backups,
3) Automatically schedule periodic backups, but
4) DOESN'T zip up the files into some sort of archive.

I thought it'd be easy to find, but damn... I browsed Sourceforge, thinking there's got to be something free out there for something so simple, but no. Most of the stuff on there is for Linux/Unix servers, and ALL of what I saw zips files into an archive of some sort.

I don't want a backup that I have to spend time "restoring" from a single archive file if something happens. What I want is a couple of computers that are exact copies of each other so that if something happens, we can instantly switch over to the backup server. If it has to be commercial software, so be it, but free (yet reliable!) would be nice.


Is that so unorthodox that no one makes software to do that? And again, if my line of thought is completely stupid, apologies in advance.

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Vegan on

Posts

  • PirateJonPirateJon Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Vegan wrote:
    What I want is a couple of computers that are exact copies of each other so that if something happens, we can instantly switch over to the backup server.

    It's called a hot standby. It's overkill for what you're doing.

    I'd probably just write a script to copy your files over to one or more machines. Xcopy and AT would work fine.

    http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/xcopy.mspx?mfr=true
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308569

    PirateJon on
    all perfectionists are mediocre in their own eyes
  • RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Either you have the money/resources to upgrade to Windows Servers or you can learn to use/live with ntbackup or retail disk imaging software (like Symantec Ghost) and hope you never have to restore.

    Ruckus on
  • robaalrobaal Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    The easiest solution would be a RAID 1 array, which mirrors data to a spare drive automatically - if you need to have it on another machine you can get removable drive carriages, though that you would want identical hardware on the systems if you're going to do this with the system drive.

    The main problem is that in case of flooding/fire or anything that would destroy all the hardware you'd be fucked, but you can use normal backups for off-site storage for that case; that would also help in case someone deletes a file by mistake (and realizes only after already overwriting the data) as mirroring won't help with that...


    Wiki has some list of backup software...

    robaal on
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  • VeganVegan Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    PirateJon wrote:
    It's called a hot standby. It's overkill for what you're doing.

    Heh. You don't know my boss. He's INSANE. (This instance is just the beginning. In addition, he wants it backed up to numerous USB hard drives, and random workstations. Yeah, I don't know.)

    To be fair, we're school photographers storing hundreds of thousands of photos per year, and if something happened and we lost even one school's photos we could lose the entire district and be out of business. We also can't afford any downtime during the busy season.

    (For the record, we are using RAID 5 but like I said, he's insane, doesn't trust it, and has very specific demands.)
    PirateJon wrote:
    I'd probably just write a script to copy your files over to one or more machines. Xcopy and AT would work fine.

    http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/xcopy.mspx?mfr=true
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308569

    I had thought about something like that, but I didn't think xcopy could do differential. It looks like it can, with /d and no date specified. Thanks for that. That's probably what I'll use, it should get the job done.

    Vegan on
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  • RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Well, if he feels like spending thousands of dollars for his paranoia, he could do a Backup Exec 11d Media Server with 11d backup agents on each workstation and an appropriately sized tape drive with daily tape backups for removal offsite.

    Other than that, I know Computer Associates has been working on software to allow you to maintain multiple servers at multiple sites with the same data incase of catastrophic failure at one site the clients switch to the other site.

    Ruckus on
  • RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Also if you wanted to just do differentials there's probably a way to script an ntbackup on one machine to copy to the other and then script an ntbackup restore on the second machine, overnight, to update it.

    Ruckus on
  • VeganVegan Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    The "second machine" is actually an NAS (Buffalo TeraStation) so I can't really "run" anything on it.

    Yeah, I know, I know. It's a rinky-dink circus here.

    Vegan on
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  • blincolnblincoln Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Robocopy is much better than xcopy for doing differential stuff. There's also Syncback, which some of my coworkers like, and some claim it's even faster than Robocopy, which is pretty dang fast. They're both free.

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  • VeganVegan Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Thanks, I'll take a look at those.

    I was actually checking out xxcopy (traditional xcopy was acting strangely for some reason), but you need to purchase network functionality ($40).

    Vegan on
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  • EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I believe Robocopy is now a part of Vista, FYI. Simply buying a new computer and utilizing the backup functionalities included in the new OS may be worthwhile.

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  • PirateJonPirateJon Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Ruckus wrote:
    Other than that, I know Computer Associates has been working on software to allow you to maintain multiple servers at multiple sites with the same data incase of catastrophic failure at one site the clients switch to the other site.

    There's plenty of companies that do bit or block-level data replication. I've used lifekeeper (ok) and neverfail (very good). the windows server built in FRS is ok as well. You have to be running a server OS though, not XP pro.


    Vegan:
    How much data are we talking about? gigs? tbs?

    given you're thinking about putting it on USB drives (eww, no), i'm thinking gigs. What I'd do is get 2 identical servers running win2k3 storage server with redundant hardware (HP ML310 is good), both run raid 1 (NOT 5), have them replicate data using either the built-in FRS or a 3rd party app, hang a tape drive off the slave for daily full backups. Set up a tape rotation where one tape is moved off-site every week.

    The second server with a nearly realtime replication covers your high availability needs in case the server catches on fire and the tape and off-site backups give you disaster recovery in case that flaming server burns down your building or aliens blow up your city or something. If you really, really cannot lose a single bit, you may want to do daily off-site backups. where I work, we contract that out. every morning a guy in an unmarked white van takes a set of tapes to a secure location.

    All this isn't the cheapest or the easiest to maintain but it will give you the most protection against data loss and downtime.

    Given the cost to the business if you lose data (ie - no more business) the boss shouldn't mind the $10k-$15k price tag.

    PirateJon on
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