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Best practices for Backup

Updated: January 21, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

Best practices for Backup

  • Develop backup and restore strategies and test them.

    With a good plan, you can quickly recover your data if it is lost.

  • Train appropriate personnel.

    In minimum-security and medium-security networks, assign backup rights to one user and restore rights to a different user. Train personnel with restore rights to perform all of the restore tasks if the administrator is unavailable.

    In a high-security network, make sure that only administrators can restore files.

  • Back up all data on the system and boot volumes and the System State.

    Back up the data on all volumes and the System State data at the same time. This precaution prepares you for the unlikely event of a disk failure.

  • Create an Automated System Recovery backup set.

    Always create an Automated System Recovery (ASR) backup set when the operating system changes, for example, whenever you install new hardware and drivers or apply a service pack. With an ASR backup set, you can more easily recover from a system failure. Also, backup all data volumes at the same time; ASR protects only the system, so data volumes must be backed up separately.

  • Create a backup log.

    Always choose to create a backup log for each backup and print them for reference. Keep a book of logs to make it easier to locate specific files. The backup log is helpful when restoring data; you can print it or read it from any text editor. Also, if the tape containing the backup set catalog is corrupted, the printed log can help you locate a file.

  • Retain copies.

    Keep at least three copies of the media. Keep at least one copy off-site in a properly-controlled environment.

  • Perform trial restorations.

    Perform a trial restoration periodically to verify that your files were properly backed up. A trial restoration can uncover hardware problems that do not show up when you verify software.

  • Secure devices and media.

    Secure both the storage device and the backup media. It is possible for someone to access the data from a stolen medium by restoring the data to another server for which they are an administrator.

  • Back up your server cluster effectively.

    To be able to effectively restore your server cluster in the event of application data or quorum loss, or individual node or complete cluster failure, follow these steps when preparing backups:

    1. Perform an Automated System Recovery (ASR) backup on each node in the cluster.

    2. Back up the cluster disks from each node.

    3. Back up each individual application (for example, MS Exchange or MS SQL Server) running on the nodes.

    For more information, see Backing up and restoring server clusters. For more information on backing up applications in a cluster, see the documentation for that application.

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