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Some Issues About NT Server Backups

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Most IT staff use common backup software such as Veritas' Backup Exec with a monitoring option such as Agent for Microsoft SQL Server and Exchange. However, this functionality only goes so far. The monitoring works just fine for regular daily file backups, but what if your server crashes? One way to remedy this situation is to have another backup server with the same hardware and software configuration. Unfortunately, not everyone has the space or IT budget to support a second server. In our case, we bought a nice DLT drive from IIM that can hold 40GB (70GB compressed) on one tape. Using the DLT drive, I wanted to capture a complete GHOST image of the backup server hard disk onto one tape. I found a utility that caught my eye—Power Quest's Drive Image Pro 3.0.

Like GHOST, Drive Image Pro can capture and back up a full image of your hard disk, and the program backs it up and supports Windows NT and Windows 9x. Wow! NT too? However, I ran into a problem. You must reboot and start in MS-DOS mode to move the image over. This procedure is OK as long as you have DOS drivers to support your backup device. The software has DOS drivers for Jaz, Zip, and magneto-optic (MO). Unfortunately, the program doesn't have drivers for my DLT drive. When I asked IIM for a DOS driver, I was told that the company doesn't have DOS drivers for its DLT products. This situation is unfortunate because I was so close. Thankfully, IIM suggested that I get Veritas' Backup Exec Intelligent Recovery Option. This option for the Backup Exec software can do the same thing I was trying to accomplish without having to use DOS. The software provides you with four NT 3.5" startup disks. The fourth disk asks you to provide your device drivers or let the software detect your DLT drive via SCSI. From there, you can start your tape drive and get a full recovery. This functionality sounds really great. If this product can help recover a hard disk in RAID 5 format, it will be the best recovery system for NT servers and better than buying an extra backup server.

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