Monday, 2 July 2012

Symantec System Recover Server 2011 and USB drives

A while back I switched from Backup Exec to System Recovery Server as my prefered backup option. The main reasons for doing this were that a) Bare metal/catastrophic recovery from Backup Exec is pretty tough and b) I rarely (if ever) have to restore files from backup these days.

I looked at various other options but, given my limited budget, I wanted to be able to carry out incremental daily backups to 1TB USB drives which could then be stored offsite in rotation. At the time, the only tool that allowed me to do this was SSRS (then Backup Exec System Recovery Server).

There were however a few problems that I had trouble getting over so, again, I'm noting them here for my future reference and to help anyone who may need them.

Firstly, the drive letter of the USB drive wasn't consistent. That one was easy to fix thanks to the USB Drive Letter Manager for Windows. A quick install and configuration got that one consistently assigning the same letter to my attached USB drives.

Secondly there's the destination issue for the server with the drive attached. IF you backup to the drive letter it doesn't seem to find the new drive when you carry out the swap. The solution I came up with there was to back up to the network share of the drive, even from the server with it attached.

Thirdly there's the issue around archiving/deleting old backups. As I understand it, if I was using some kind of hefty NAS device to store my backups the software would do this itself with the settings for "Limit the number of recovery point sets saved for this backup" and "Automatically optimize storage". But this doesn't seem to work when you're using multiple USB drives.

The solution I've come up with for this is to run a scheduled vb script just before the first backup each week which looks at the USB drive and deletes any files older than 42 days (6 weeks and, of course, THE answer...)

Here's my script for anyone who wants it...

Dim Fso
Dim Directory
Dim Modified
Dim Files
Set Fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
Set Directory = Fso.GetFolder("M:\")
Set Files = Directory.Files
For Each Modified in Files
If DateDiff("D", Modified.DateLastModified, Now) > 42 Then Modified.Delete

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