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peterman
Feb 17, 2010, 02:38 PM
Hello everyone,

I need some advice. I've just deployed a new Macmini server over the weekend running 10.6.2. Everything is up and running nicely, and I now need to figure out a good backup method both for everyday (hourly) backups and for monthly take-home backups. What I would prefer is a software solution that works similarly to TimeMachine, in the sense that it runs automatically, has a simple UI, and when the end of the month comes I plug a USB single drive to it, and from Airport Utility archive the whole thing in one click. Easy. Well, Time Machine doesn't work well for servers at all, especially since I'm doing mail hosting and file sharing for about a dozen users so far. Time Machine doesn't backup anything in the \var\ or \etc\ folders, and I HAVE to make sure I'm backing up ALL the email messages for all accounts, as well as ALL the files from the SMB file share. This must be included in the backups, or else there's really no point in me backing up - those are the critical files on the server.

Which leads me now to the advice part. I understand Drobo makes quite nice enterprise grade external hard drives, and I already have a few Lacie and WD drives floating around, but software is my current concern. Is there a good software solution that will accomplish everything above? Will it backup EVERYTHING, including the hidden folders and mail messages on the server (almost like CCC does a block for block copy). Will it be automated throughout the days/weeks/months? Can I archive that backup to another hard drive and take that home? Any advice is appreciated. I've briefly looked at CCC, SuperDuper, and Retrospect. $ is not an issue at all at this point (but I'm not spending a grand for a small company backup software :-p). So far Retrospect seems quite nice, but maybe CCC is reliable and all I need? Thanks again,

Peter



peterman
Feb 17, 2010, 03:58 PM
Or actually, maybe I should get a 1TB Time Capsule and with whatever software suggested (please haha) backup to that, and then archive that with Airport Utility to another external drive and take that home, since it seems to work so well for client machines. Hmmm... ideas on best software?

woodlandtrek
Feb 18, 2010, 07:38 AM
CCC should do everything you need if you're just going to be plugging the drive in via USB or firewire. You can set the backups to run whenever you want, and can set it to backup to a specific volume name, regardless of the drive identifier. This way you can have one drive off site and another local (both having the same volume name) and switch the two every month.

Retrospect would be the way to go if you need to back up your server to FTP, tape, or a NAS, or if you need to back up individual clients to a server (CCC can also do this pretty well if you are backing up to a mac, but it's not very intuitive).

How are the drives in your mini set up? If you are using the two 500GB drives independently, you can clone one to the other every so often to cover yourself in the case of disk failure, which is the most likely cause of data loss. A software raid would do this as well, but with slightly decreased performance. The USB drives would cover you against accidental deletions and local catastrophes.

I would advise against using time machine for this. Use something that you have some level of control over.

peterman
Feb 18, 2010, 09:52 AM
Thanks so much for the reply. CCC did seem like a decent solution, and I really appreciate your recommendations. I'll have to play with it because I like your idea of having 2 identical drives and having a backup plan to the same named volume, doing daily backups and just switching them out every month. That seems pretty secure and a good backup solution.

The 2 500's in the mini are setup as a single mounting 1TB (stripped). This is for space reasons. This is another reason why I need a good backup solution for this - a daily/hourly running backup via firewire 800 to an external, and then archive that backup drive monthly to take up and update monthly. It sounds like your CCC suggestion with 2 drives may do the trick....?

I don't think I'll use Time Machine or Time capsule for anything other than client machine backups. I agree I need something more powerful for the server. Thanks!

peterman
Feb 18, 2010, 12:53 PM
I have tried CCC yet, but another question I just thought of - will CCC run at the same time as my server running? I won't have to shut it down to run the backups?


CCC should do everything you need if you're just going to be plugging the drive in via USB or firewire. You can set the backups to run whenever you want, and can set it to backup to a specific volume name, regardless of the drive identifier. This way you can have one drive off site and another local (both having the same volume name) and switch the two every month.

Retrospect would be the way to go if you need to back up your server to FTP, tape, or a NAS, or if you need to back up individual clients to a server (CCC can also do this pretty well if you are backing up to a mac, but it's not very intuitive).

How are the drives in your mini set up? If you are using the two 500GB drives independently, you can clone one to the other every so often to cover yourself in the case of disk failure, which is the most likely cause of data loss. A software raid would do this as well, but with slightly decreased performance. The USB drives would cover you against accidental deletions and local catastrophes.

I would advise against using time machine for this. Use something that you have some level of control over.

woodlandtrek
Feb 18, 2010, 03:54 PM
Yes, you can run it while the server is up. I'm not sure of the technical details about what it does with files that are currently in use, but it's always worked without a hitch for me.

I have tried CCC yet, but another question I just thought of - will CCC run at the same time as my server running? I won't have to shut it down to run the backups?

MacOverWin
Jun 2, 2011, 10:21 PM
So to bring this thread back up, but Peterman, what backup solution did you ultimately go with? also, can you provide some feedback and experiences?

Thanks in advance.

peterman
Jun 3, 2011, 08:17 AM
well here is how things worked out in the end. I ended up RAIDing the 2 internal 500GB drives to mirror each other, in case of simple drive failure. I decided that the internal drive(s) would be the OS drive, and I would connect external storage to be my DATA drive. I wanted to separate things so that if the Macmini went up in flames one day, I could simply take the data drive to a new server. But that is dependent on the following, which I have done as well :) In order for that to work, I have backup drives connected to the macmini server as well. One backup drive is for the OS (internal), and another one is for the DATA drive. I use CCC to run a script every 4 hours for the DATA drive to duplicate over to the backup DATA drive, and for the OS drive once every 2 months (I don't change the OS much) it copies to the other backup OS drive. This way, even with a software or hardware failure, I can take the backup OS drive (which is bootable) and the backup DATA drive, and run the server from my laptop etc. until I get a replacement Mini server. I can then CCC the backup OS drive back onto the new Mini server and I'm back up! CCC works great, and once I got all this automated, it works beautifully. I also have offsite backups running, primarily for the DATA drive. Once a day (at midnight) it clones the DATA drive (using MySecureBackup, I think) to an offsite server hosted through serverrack.com I believe. Once in a while I'll copy the OS drive too, but like I said that barely changes much for me so not much point. Hope this helps and my explanation wasn't too confusing. Enjoy!

Peter