Understanding backup schedules

Backup files can be stored on hard disk or tape. We recommend that you use a tape drive, backup tapes, and a regular tape-rotation schedule. We also recommend that you regularly store backup tapes off-site in order to protect data if there is a fire or other disaster.

ImportantImportant
It is important to rotate the media that you store off-site.
noteNote
For a small company using tape backups, how often tapes are stored off-site depends on how critical the data is. Some companies might take backup tapes off-site every day; others might take them off-site weekly or monthly.

A small company typically designates one employee to swap backup tapes and store tapes off-site. It is important to clearly label your backup media, for example, Monday-1, Tuesday-1, Monday-2, Tuesday-2, and so on. Consider posting the backup schedule and procedures near the server for quick reference.

Two sample tape-rotation plans are provided here. You can modify the schedule to suit your needs. Because the Windows Small Business Server Backup Configuration Wizard configures full backups, restoring the server requires only the most recent backup tape.

noteNote
These examples do not address the need for spare tapes or worn-tape replacement, both of which are important in developing a thorough backup plan. Backup tapes have a finite life cycle and should be replaced with new tapes per the manufacturer's recommendation.

Two-week tape rotation: 10 tapes used

 

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Week 1

Monday-1

Tuesday-1

Wednesday-1

Thursday-1

Friday-1

Week 2

Monday-2

Tuesday-2

Wednesday-2

Thursday-2

Friday-2

Week 3

Monday-1

Tuesday-1

Wednesday-1

Thursday-1

Friday-1

Week 4

Monday-2

Tuesday-2

Wednesday-2

Thursday-2

Friday-2

In the 2-week rotation schedule, a different backup tape is used each week day for two weeks. The first tape (Monday-1) is used again at the beginning of every third week. This plan does not account for off-site storage.

Four-week tape rotation: 20 tapes used

 

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Week 1

Monday-1

Tuesday-1

Wednesday-1

Thursday-1

Friday-1

Week 2

Monday-2

Tuesday-2

Wednesday-2

Thursday-2

Friday-2

Week 3

Monday-3

Tuesday-3

Wednesday-3

Thursday-3

Friday-3

Week 4

Monday-4

Tuesday-4

Wednesday-4

Thursday-4

Friday-4

In the 4-week schedule, a different backup tape is used each week day for four weeks. The first tape (Monday-1) is used again at the beginning of every fifth week. This plan does not account for off-site storage.

A backup plan should be based on how often your data changes, how valuable it is, and how much you can afford to lose. You can recover only the data in the last backup; you cannot restore data lost yesterday when the most current backup tape is three months old. A daily backup plan is recommended because most companies cannot afford to lose data created over several days. Once your plan is in place, you should regularly evaluate it for effectiveness and modify it as necessary.

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