Continuous Backup of BR System

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Susan Smith
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Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2008 4:24 am
Location: Southern California

Continuous Backup of BR System

Post by Susan Smith »

Hi all,

Are any of you using continuous backup systems? My client has moved to a new file server (running Windows Server 2008 R2). Their network guy just called me and asked if there were any ramifications of switching from a "once-a-day-after-hours" backup solution to a continuous backup to an external device, the Sonic Wall CDP ("Continous Protection Device")

I'm not even sure how to answer this. They have some BR internal files that are about 120mg that are being changed constantly as people handle calls on the phone, and some of their files have as many as 8 keys. There are 13 users - running BR 4.2 NON-client/server version - all workstations are now running Win7.

Is this continuous backup a concern in any way from a BR performance perspective or permission conflict or anything else? I'm not sure what to tell the guy. He asked if we were using a SQL DB (which of course we're not - they are BR internal files and display files) because the backup software had some special tweaks for SQL record locking or something or other. I already straightened him out on that part.

Should I just tell him to go for it? Are any of you using continuous backup systems like this?

-- Susan
GomezL
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:51 am
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Post by GomezL »

Windows 2008 has added a new "Volume Shadow Copy Service".
This service allows software to backup a file at a "Point in Time" even though the file is still being changed while the copy is being made.

I have been using MOZY Backup http://mozy.com/pro to create backups, and have had great success.

Personally, I am a bit paranoid, so I use both Continuous Protection and a once a day backup, and just to make sure, I have a 2nd once a day backup just in case. Having a good backup never shut my office down!

Keep in mind disaster recovery. The entire site may become compromised, and you may not be allowed back in. This means that an off-site backup is critical. Going further, the off-site backup should be geographically removed so that a local event does not destroy both the original and backup data at the same time.

Looking at my Mozy backup: (Keep in Mind that Mozy backup often, but is not Continuous). Meaning that my "Snapshots" happen several times a day. Once you get your new device, you will find out how "Real Time" the backup really is.

My "Transaction Table" was backed up several times mozy has copied going back to 8/20/2011.

In the recent past, it backed up:

11/19/2011 1:55AM
11/18/2011 06:57PM
11/18/2011 11:31AM
11/18/2011 08:26AM

My "Transaction Table Index" was also backup up and has copies going back to 8/20/2011 as well.


11/19/2001 01:55AM
11/18/2011 06:04PM
11/18/2011 11:19AM
11/18/2011 08:26AM

For those paying attention, the backup times are not always the exact same time. The 1:55AM backup is "Safe" because no one was entering data at the time, but the 11AM & 6PM Backups were during office hours so data was still changing.

This means that almost guaranteed your indexes need to be re-built as they will not match your data, but even worse, each table in your database will also be backup up at a "Different Time". (Your device may actually address this concern). The test is simple, restore data to a "Test System", and look at the dates/times of the data files that you know should all be updated simultaneously. The restore should all have the same date/time as the point in time you picked.

The good news is that 120MB is pretty small by "Modern Standards". In the world of 64GB iPhones, 120MB won't take very long at all to backup.

Understanding the rules, having extra backup(s) during the day compared to the once a day model is always better. There is nothing like recovering that spreadsheet that someone "Broke" at 3PM from the 2:30PM copy!

Testing for conflicts is very simple, have people use the software and start the backup process. In particular make sure that you can open/close the tables (Go in & out of the program). Did I mention that you should backup everything before this test?

Backup can' t help but have a small impact on performance, but it's really negligible. You shouldn't notice it. Particularly because you are buying a dedicated piece of hardware for it.

I can't tell if you intent to backup remotely, if so, bandwidth is an issue. You might notice internet performance issues.

I am curious if this device does end up making "Safe Backups" that can be restored even though data is changing as it's backed up. As I mentioned earlier, each file should be fine, it's the point in time that needs to all be the same.

My vote, tell him to go ahead and start backing up the data (After you back it up yourself!)
Susan Smith
Posts: 717
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2008 4:24 am
Location: Southern California

Post by Susan Smith »

Wow. Thank you Luis! That was a detailed, well thought out reply...exactly what I need (especially since the guy was telling me that with this new backup system, they don't need their once a day backup anymore. Not so!) I'm told that there will be an off-site backup as well, but I don't know the details of how he's going to set it up or how the company will manage it. Will it be rudimentary - requiring a person to hand carry something offsite? Or will it be automatic remote backup? I just don't know yet. I will follow up.

The point about the indexes is very important. Thanks for bringing that up.

-- Susan
GomezL
Posts: 248
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:51 am
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Post by GomezL »

Do keep in mind that "Need" is a relative term.

The new backup solution does replace the once a day backup plan.

I just choose to have as many backup plans as I can.

I have seen too many companies in terrible trouble because they didn't have a backup!
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