Backup solution for your Windows Server 2003

As you may know, I also specialize in old technology. I do have a few clients who are still using Windows 98, ME, XP and Windows server 2003. One of my clients recently came to me and told me that the NT Backup software that I implemented for them many years ago was not backing up their server files fast enough. I asked him what did he mean by that. It turned out that in the past, the full backup job ran and finish within 24 hours and it now runs over 48 hours. When the backup job is running, it would slow down their file access. As a result, their users are not productive because opening and saving files takes much longer to do when the backup job is running. NT Backup takes a lot of the CPU resources while it’s running and the users would normally notice the performance decrease. Over the years, they have accumulated  at least 500GB more files. That didn’t help at all. I had to research for a more modern backup solutions which run and finish the backup job within 24 hours or less. I searched and found 2 products that do backup Windows Server 2003. They are StorageCraft ShadowProtect v5.2.7  (that’s their latest version as of this writing) and Retrospect Single Server (Disk to Disk) 5 for Windows version 16 (that’s their latest version as of this writing.) I chose Retrospect Single Server (Disk to Disk) 5 for Windows version because their price is much more reasonable than StorageCraft ShadowProtect. We’re looking at a cost that’s more than double.  They are both perpetual licenses. However, StorageCraft ShadowProtect costs about $1095 per server while Retrospect Single Server (Disk to Disk) 5 for Windows costs only $419. Here is a quick look at their difference.

On Support:

StorageCraft ShadowProtect          

Support – 1-year standard support – Response within two business hours or less when an emergency-level support case is submitted Monday through Friday (excluding U.S. holidays) during StorageCraft’s normal business hours. Additionally, during the maintenance period, you have free access to all software updates and upgrades. Standard Support can be renewed annually.

Retrospect Single Server (Disk to Disk) 5 for Windows

Support – 30-day support –  complimentary email and phone support. You have to purchase their annual support if you would like to do that. They have 1, 2 and 3-year support. Initial purchase with 1-year support costs you $140 additional.

On Backup Technology/Method:

StorageCraft ShadowProtect     

StorageCraft uses image backup technology and it allows backing up open files. This feature is included in the price. It can recover to dissimilar hardware without having to rebuild windows.

Retrospect Single Server (Disk to Disk) 5 for Windows

Retrospect uses file-level and system-level backup technology and their open-file backup feature is an add-on which costs $239 per server without support. It can recover to dissimilar hardware without having to rebuild windows.

Those are the features that I normally look at when researching for a backup solutions. The other features are pretty much the same for all products.

My client doesn’t need to spend that much money on their old technology. They just need to have a solution that works efficiently. The other features are not very important to them. As you guess it, my final decision was to go with Retrospect. I only paid for the product and didn’t get annual support. I figured if there is an issue, just remove and reinstall the software. I installed Retrospect Single Server (Disk to Disk) 5 for Windows version 15 on a Windows Server 2012 Essentials as a Host server. The server that needs to be backed up (the client server) is a Windows Server 2003 R2. It was pretty easy to install and setup. You do need to have a Windows server 2008 or higher or Windows 7 or higher workstation to install the Retrospect host and then install the client/agent on the Windows Server 2003. You have to configure the backup job and scheduling on the host server. There is one thing that needs to be taken care of/disabled on the host server and I didn’t know about. When you are not logged on to the host server, the scheduled jobs would not run automatically. This is the case because of the way Windows Vista/Server 2008 or higher treats running programs in a secured manner. Retrospect’s knowledge base posted the following statement:

“Starting with Windows Vista/Server 2008 Microsoft made a change where Windows will no longer allow services/programs to interact with the user and introduced User Account Control. With Retrospect this means that when Retrospect auto launches Windows puts Retrospect into a protective desktop environment where the user will not be able view and control Retrospect.” This article will resolve the problem. As of this writing, I implemented the fix but have not checked if the job would run without logging on to the server.

Fix – Auto Launching Guide for Retrospect for Windows

If you would like to purchase Retrospect products, please click link below to contact me.

Contact

 

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