Advice on new backup strategy for my work


Platinum Member
Jul 17, 2010
The company I work for for years has operated a peer to peer setup with a NAS drive. The NAS drive stores our projects, health and safety, and all documents which relate to the on-going products the business "sells". All of the personal documents, personnel files, sensitive files and peoples Outlook PST files are stored locally on each of our 10 users machines which they have admin rights on. Backing up at the moment is done once a week onto a USB HDD from the NAS drive using sync software. This only includes whats on the NAS and not what is locally stored. Emails are not backed up.

Obviously I have tried to get us away from this from day one but until now I have only been given any IT funding for when something breaks. Our MD has finally realised this cannot carry on if he wants to move forward and has given me a ~£20k budget to sort it all out.

I am going to propose a new gateway with a automatic redundant 3G connection. A new 48 way all 10/100/1000 smart switch with 24 of those ports being PoE incase we upgrade our analogue phones later in the year.

All 10 users will get a new computer based on an i3 Sandy Bridge, 4GB RAM and a 64GB Samsung 830 which they will have restricted access for on a client/server setup. Everything will be controlled centrally by my new SBS2011 server. Now comes the sticky part:

The server will centralise all file, print and email (exchange) access and backup. But, like most business' I'm really struggling on the backup system. 4 of my 10 users have PST files between 5-10GB. Some are 2-5GB, the rest are smaller. The reason they are so big is because we work in engineering and people are always emailing large attachments. My users are not very computer literate at the best of times and will not change their ways and move emails onto the shared projects and delete the email so I need to work around this. The NAS contents and users files are probably 70GB. There will also be server backups using something like Acronis for server and I suspect they'll be quite large. I will also have images of said new computers. Whether this will be 1 image or 10 I'm not sure yet due to software licencing keys.

What I am trying to establish now is the best way of backing up. I had an idea of using some Buffalo TerraStation's and using the replication feature over broadband to an off-site location but with the problems with PST's and OST's and the amount of data I am going to have to backup it's looking impractical.

Is there anyway out of this without having 2 external drives which get alternated daily? I am not always in the office and tbh nobody here wants the responsibility and the directors would insist they are the only ones with the backup and they are not always in the office either. Our DSL upload is ~1MB/sec and we're not in a fibre optic enabled area. SDSL is £240/month and theres no way they're going to pay that but even that is limited to 2mbps upload so we would not be much better off. Leased lines are double that as well.

I know there are different methiods of the above using different media devices but I really don't want to have to do something manually and take a device home, just seems archaic. Cloud storage seems impractical when talking about vast amounts of data and in the event of a complete restore situation it would be quicker to drive to the provider than download it all.

Slight change of direction, I need to decide on a server. The company I will probably buy from is recommending a Fujitsu TX200 which is a dual socket Xeon with 4 x 300GB 15K SAS drives. First 2 are for mirrored OS, WSUS and exchange. Second 2 are for data etc. 12GB or 18GB of RAM and dual power supplies. Do I need a dual socket? I know only one is populated but with the above requirements, would I not be safe with the Xeon is comes with?

The TX150 is the smallest server with redundent PSU capability. These use S1156 L3400 or S1156 X3400 series Xeon's. The TX200 uses S1366 Xeon's. Are these substantially better? The TX150 can house up to 8 disks and 32GB of RAM so the limiting factor between the two is purely CPU power and 1 socket vs 2 socket, and obviously price.

I haven't worked out all the finer details for everything yet and will be grateful for any input. I am an electrical engineer by trade and "do" the IT because nobody else knows how so I am certainly not as experienced as some of the people here.