Backing up ShadowProtect images to RDX or USB

If you manage servers you have probably heard about or use ShadowProtect which is a very good image based backup solution. You install a NAS device and have ShadowProtect backup your servers and other important desktops. By default you do full backups weekly and incremental backups every 15 to 60 minutes during business hours. The solution means you can restore a server in no time at all or convert it to a virtual environment - provided you have the NAS device.

The makers of ShadowProtect have been trying to get into online backup but I think it is a product doomed to failure - at least for 10 years in New Zealand. The problems are that even increments can be big. You can setup incremental backups forever but if you are backing up 3 servers this could still add up to more than 200Gb per month. The other problem is around the licensing. If you are backing up 3 servers they ping you for 3 online backups licenses which are far from cheap and all it is doing is FTP and really should be part of the server license not a separate license. If you want to do online backups I suggest using a file level backup program for your critical data in additional to your image based backups.

So I have my NAS device at the site but we still need an offsite copy. We don't need stuff going back weeks we just need the latest backup to get us up and running again in the event of an Earthquake, Flood, Fire or Theft.

I started off using USB drives but they get dropped and are not ideal for taking offsite so we looked at RDX disks which were pretty pricey at the time, but like everything have become more reasonable over time. This only needs the latest full backup and any related increments on it. So a 500GB RDX system can cope with an image of 3 servers depending on the storage you have. I use at least 3 disks so there is always one offsite. The next issue was how do I get the backup from NAS to RDX for all the latest images, avoid having a full disk and alert us if there are problems. I decided the best option was to write a utility called EzPSA Backup which we released as freeware to help others that may find it useful. We added alerts to help remind the person changing the disk they they need to swap disks as well as being able to alert the Managed Service Provider of any issues.

With all the recent natural disasters it is a timely reminder to be pro-active and have confidence in the backup solution you provide for your clients.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post, thanks Greg.

    If your looking at backup software, another package well worth a look is dataStor Shield ( - similar to ShadowProtect in that it uses Windows VSS to take the initial system image, and can offer BMR, and P2V recovery options (also very similar pricewise)

    Where is differentiates itself is that is has a rather clever source based deduplication engine in built in the software that both saves disk space, and substantially reduces network traffic. Another nice feature is that you don't need to install agents on machines being backed up, so very easy to install and manage, and it can backup to tape as well.