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Offsite backup for my files? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Before I had WHS, I used Carbonite to backup my home computers online and to have an off-site backup. So the backup component of WHS is not such a big deal for me, I like the fact that my backups are not in the same physical location as my primary data.

    What does appeal to me, is the fact that I can easily share folders and have access to my data at any computer in my house. Now I have a problem though. If I move my data from the "Documents" folder on my personal computers to my "Users/Mike" folder on WHS, I lose the ability for Carbonite to backup this data. Sure, I can have WHS perform folder duplication and have some form of backup, but both backups are in the very same physical location. In case of fire or theft, my data is gone.

    I tried installing Carbonite on WHS, and it does install and run and it does seem to backup the data it finds. However, there is a confusion and over-abundance of data there, I cannot quite discern exactly where/what folders I have to direct Carbonite to backup. Surely there are specific folders that I can tell Carbonite to monitor and backup the data in them?

    Unless I can resolve this, I cannot trust my own data nad family memories such as our photos to WHS, since I may lose them all if they are in one physical location. I'm sorry if I'm obsessed about this, but my parents loast all their family mementos in a house fire and we have no history of our grandparents, extended family or childhood preserved. I'm determined that the same should not happen to my family.

    So any insight anyone can give me will be highly appreciated. Thank you.
    Sunday, January 17, 2010 5:06 PM

Answers

  • ...
    and where exactly is offsite supposed to be?
    ...
    In my own case, my office, about 50 miles from home. But your brother-in-law's, in the next town over, would work, and it would give you an excuse to get together every week to watch sports. :) I have two drives which I rotate off-site weekly. It's far more secure and reliable than any cloud-based tool I've looked into, and I drive there several times a week if I'm not on the road. What's not to like about the idea?

    Also, people who ask for cloud-based backup of their servers usually haven't thought things through. There are users who have 15-20 TB of storage on their servers; expecting to back up that volume of data to the cloud even once is, umm, unrealistic. (15 TB on a cable modem connection will take a couple of years, if I've done my math correctly. FiOS would be 3-4 months...) And storing that volume of data is less than trivial, and will probably be pretty expensive.

    All that said, if you feel that there is something that would make Windows Home Server a better solution for you, you should make a product suggestion on Connect (after searching for any that are similar). Microsoft does go through those suggestions regularly, and they are taken into account when product updates are planned.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, January 18, 2010 3:58 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Before I had WHS, I used Carbonite to backup my home computers online and to have an off-site backup. So the backup component of WHS is not such a big deal for me, I like the fact that my backups are not in the same physical location as my primary data.

    What does appeal to me, is the fact that I can easily share folders and have access to my data at any computer in my house. Now I have a problem though. If I move my data from the "Documents" folder on my personal computers to my "Users/Mike" folder on WHS, I lose the ability for Carbonite to backup this data. Sure, I can have WHS perform folder duplication and have some form of backup, but both backups are in the very same physical location. In case of fire or theft, my data is gone.

    I tried installing Carbonite on WHS, and it does install and run and it does seem to backup the data it finds. However, there is a confusion and over-abundance of data there, I cannot quite discern exactly where/what folders I have to direct Carbonite to backup. Surely there are specific folders that I can tell Carbonite to monitor and backup the data in them?

    Installing any app on WHS is unsupported (since it requires server desktop access and, as you've seen, the folder structure is different than other OSes due to how Drive Extender works).  If you want to continue your offsite backup (which is obviously a good idea) you should either A) continue to store the documents on your client and use Carbonite there (and perhaps use some sort of copy app to routinely copy your data from your client to your server) or B) use the server backup function of WHS to backup your data to an external drive and take that drive off-site.

    Unless I can resolve this, I cannot trust my own data nad family memories such as our photos to WHS, since I may lose them all if they are in one physical location. I'm sorry if I'm obsessed about this, but my parents loast all their family mementos in a house fire and we have no history of our grandparents, extended family or childhood preserved. I'm determined that the same should not happen to my family.

    So any insight anyone can give me will be highly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Proposed as answer by kariya21Moderator Sunday, January 17, 2010 5:39 PM
    • Unproposed as answer by MikeB75077 Sunday, January 17, 2010 11:01 PM
    Sunday, January 17, 2010 5:39 PM
    Moderator
  • I've already been told (in another, earlier thread),  that I should not attempt to sync my folders with WHS folders. Now you say that I should use a copy app to copy the files from my client to the server.  I fail to see how that does me any good if I have to manually copy stuff around. I may then as well carry the files on a flash memory stick!

    I'm starting to becoe quite disillusioned with the capabilities of WHS. It seems to have a lot of promise, but one keeps running into obstacles and being told that "this is unsupported" "don't do that" and so on.

    In my vision of the world, once one runs a central server, that is where the files should reside. If I wanted to buy a backup server, I could have bought an stupid NAS box or something along those lines.  What I want is to have files on the machine. Photos, etc. If I want them there and I dont want to have another external drive which i should store offsite (WHERE??????) then how the heck is this supposed to work?

    I mean the entire concept of having an external drive for offsite backup is cumbersome and unwieldy. Let's suppose I store it in my bank vault. Now I have to go to the bank  during business hours, get my drive, do a backup and then return to the bank to store the drive? Does that even remotely sound to you as if it is something that people will do on a regular basis?

    And don't say I should store the drive at my office, I work from home. You know - Home, that place I'm having a server?

    As for not running apps on the WHS, whereis that written? I see a warning that some Windows Server 2003 apps *might* break the server (which is again weasel words, since it is one of those blanket escape clauses - you *might* break it).  But there is an API, people can write plug-ins and after all WHS runs Internet Exporer and a few other things, so who draws the line where? If it is one of those FUD lines, it is merely aggravating and not helpful.
    Sunday, January 17, 2010 11:01 PM
  • The simple solution for backing up your server is to use the functionality built into the product, which will make a copy of one or more shares on a drive that you can disconnect and take off-site. You can also "roll your own" using a tool such as robocopy to create the backup you'll take off site.

    As for Carbonite, I don't believe they have a product designed for use on Windows Home Server, but if you want to back up your shares, you should try backing up just folder D:\Shares and it's contents from your server. But I would test a restore before you have to rely on it to recover important data: since Carbonite isn't designed for use on Windows Home Server, it may not back up data successfully.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, January 18, 2010 2:54 AM
    Moderator
  • Ken, I appreciate your response and the pointer on what specific file on the D:] drive to backup.

    But what I find at or near the limit of improbability is (and excuse me if I misunderstand this) that WHS is *designed* for people to physically carry backups offsite - and where exactly is offsite supposed to be? We live in a highly connected world. Getting someone to secure and store backups offsite online is simple and easy - something that almost anyone will do.

    Having to remember to carry a portable drive around, to bring it home, run backups, wait for the backups to finish and hten to carry the device offsite again, presumably to a safe location such as a bank that will be closed during non-office hours is approximating a workload that no-one will actually undertake on a regular basis.


    And this does not address the apparent disconnect that says I cannot sync files between a folder on my laptop and the server - at the risk of data corruption. So if I want to share files between my laptop and my desktop, and I also want those files to be available if I go away from the reach of my home server (or a network at my destination), I am reduced to cumbersome manual procedures, reducing once more the value of WHS in my environment.

    I'm new at this, but I find it hard to understand why the designers at Microsoft would not consider these things part of the basic functionality of a Home Server (or any server, for that matter).
    Monday, January 18, 2010 9:05 AM
  • ...
    and where exactly is offsite supposed to be?
    ...
    In my own case, my office, about 50 miles from home. But your brother-in-law's, in the next town over, would work, and it would give you an excuse to get together every week to watch sports. :) I have two drives which I rotate off-site weekly. It's far more secure and reliable than any cloud-based tool I've looked into, and I drive there several times a week if I'm not on the road. What's not to like about the idea?

    Also, people who ask for cloud-based backup of their servers usually haven't thought things through. There are users who have 15-20 TB of storage on their servers; expecting to back up that volume of data to the cloud even once is, umm, unrealistic. (15 TB on a cable modem connection will take a couple of years, if I've done my math correctly. FiOS would be 3-4 months...) And storing that volume of data is less than trivial, and will probably be pretty expensive.

    All that said, if you feel that there is something that would make Windows Home Server a better solution for you, you should make a product suggestion on Connect (after searching for any that are similar). Microsoft does go through those suggestions regularly, and they are taken into account when product updates are planned.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, January 18, 2010 3:58 PM
    Moderator
  • MikeB,

    It is due to the same frustration, caused by lack of products that will allow you to backup the WHS, I started an online backup service. We believe that backup of your data is important and that online backup is the way of the future, and we'd like to invite you to a free trial of our backup software. You will have two weeks to determine if our solution works for you - no credit card needed. All we ask is that you tell your friends if you like the service.

    Thank you,
    Bart Boryczko
    OnlineDataSavers.com
    Monday, January 18, 2010 9:06 PM
  • Ken, I know you are just trying to be humorous, but this is a serious issue for me. It so happens that I don't have family living anywhere near me. I don't think a two-year cycle is a good cycle for backups and getting a USB drive through customs is ____ in some countries.

    I *have* thought cloud backup through. I have only approximately 40GB of data and I can back it up online and store it.

    ANd for the 2 years that I have been using Carbonite, I have not have a failure in backing up my data. I have tested it and also tested restore, so I would say that it is at least as good as your vehicular solution, if not better, since I save on gas.
    Tuesday, January 19, 2010 12:34 AM
  • Actually, my examples are serious. I keep an archival backup of my shares at my brother in law's house, in addition to the backups I rotate to my office. (All right, they're humorous too. So there! :))

    If you're happy with cloud-based backups, and your data volume is small enough not to present a problem, then there's nothing wrong with trying Carbonite on your server. I would check with them first to see if they know of any issues you might face. Or you can try the product "OnlineDataSavers" is touting (I know nothing about them, so do your research first), or one of the other cloud based backup tools out there.

    However, I think you'll find as you use your server that the amount of data you'll want to back up will grow, probably much faster than you expect now. At some point you'll have so much data backed up that recovering it after a disaster will be a near impossibility, at least in a timely fashion.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, January 19, 2010 1:28 AM
    Moderator