Offsite backups

Question :

Offsite backups,

Answer :

I was recently tasked with coming up with an offsite backup strategy. We have about 2TB of data that would need to be backed up so our needs are a little out of the norm.

I looked into Iron Mountain and they wanted $12,000 a month!

Does anyone have any suggestions on how best to handle backing up this much data on a budget (like a tenth of Iron Mountain)? How do other companies afford to do this?



Ironically enough, I just had the sort of devastating failure we’re all talking about. I had my BES server fail and than 2 days later 2 drives in my Exchange server’s RAID5 died (2!!!??!). I’m currently in the process of rebuilding my network and the backup integrity is an definitely an issue.

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At least now my bosses are paying attention 🙂


You can buy external eSATA RAID boxes in the 8TB capacity range I’m not saying that particular product is the right choice, but that’s the kind of box that will do 6TB in RAID5 and still be portable enough to buy a couple of them and rotate them through the bank, like Stu says.

Obviously if you have to have to keep 7 individual days worth, a 14 day, 30 and 90 day snapshot, etc. then things are going to be much more expensive, but it’s certainly doable if what you’re after is just disaster recovery.

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The biggest thing to make sure is part of your plan is actually testing the restoration from the backup. That seems to get overlooked WAY too often and turns out to be the weakest link in nearly all of the strategies.

You should plan for scheduled restorations as often as is reasonable where you actually dump the real data and restore from the backup. Without that, you don’t know that it will work when you NEED it too.

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve been in a company where there’s a big rack full of backup tapes/drives, all dutifully made according to the schedule only to find out that NONE of them have valid data when the server gets wiped out.

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The more ways you can verify the integrity of the backups the better, but nothing substitutes for doing an actual dump/load from one of your backups to really test the setup.

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