attempt to manipulate the archive bit on your files. This bit is often used to determine what needs to be backed up. In the case of Exchange servers, one backup solution may process and then purge transaction log files before the other backup solution is able to make a backup. As you perform your tests, keep in mind that there
will likely be a period of coexistence when both of your old and new backup systems exist on your network— although you will have to suspend your old backup jobs to avoid the problems mentioned earlier. You must take this situation into account as you test your new backup system and make sure that the agents do not interfere with one another.
2. Analyze Your True Backup Needs
The next step in the process is to determine your backup
needs. You must review your existing backup logs to determine what is currently being backed up, and whether any changes need to be made. In doing so, it is easy to assume that you can ignore the current backup schedule since disk-based backups tend to perform backups in near real time. However, the backup schedule may reveal the unexpected. For instance, many companies are required to create and retain quarterly archives. Such archives must be kept separate from the regular backups.
3. Don’t Ditch Your Hardware Yet
The third step in the process is deciding what to do
with your existing tape hardware. Getting rid of your old tape drives is not an option because you have to be able to restore backups that were created with it. One option is to connect your tape drive to your disk
backup solution. That way, you can periodically dump your disk backups to tape for long-term data retention. Of course, if you are ever asked to restore any of your old tape backups, you will likely have to reconnect the tape drive to a computer that is running your old backup software. This brings up another point: Be sure to keep an up-to-date copy of your old backup software in a safe place. In order to restore an archive tape, you will need to have a copy of the software that was used to create the archive.
4. Consider the Long-Term Plan
The next step in the process is to evaluate your
long-term tape retention requirements. You may have a mountain of tapes stored at an offsite facility. Eventually, you will probably be able to get rid of or overwrite some of these tapes. Now is the time to determine how long the tapes must be retained in order to meet your recovery goals.
5. Move It On Over
Once you have thoroughly tested your new disk backup appliance and determined the impact of the transition on your network, it is time to move the new backup system from the lab to the production network. After doing so, don’t forget about your old backup software. Some
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administrators like to leave the old backup software installed in case they have to restore a file or even revert back to the old solution because of an unforeseen problem. While there is nothing wrong with leaving the old backup software installed, you do need to cancel or suspend the backup jobs so that they do not interfere with your new backup solution.
6. Perform Your First Backup to Disk
Once your new backup solution is in place, you will have
to run a full backup. Most of your future backups will be incremental, but your first backup will have to be a full backup—this can take additional time to complete. After your first backup is done, you must review the backup logs for any signs of trouble. You should also thoroughly test your ability to restore the data that has been backed up.
7. Stay Vigilant You should monitor your new backup solution’s disk
space consumption rate and watch the logs for any sort of errors that may occur over the next several months.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brien Posey is a 7-time Microsoft MVP with 2 decades of IT experience. During that time, Posey published thousands of articles and wrote or contributed to dozens of IT books. Prior to becoming a freelance writer, Posey served as chief information officer for a national chain of hospitals and healthcare facilities. He has also worked as a network administrator for some of the nation’s largest insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox.
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