Continuous off-site backup of our hosted SQL database using BackupAssist

As part of ongoing improvements to our own network, I recently revised the way we approach backing up the SQL database that underpins our main company Web site. We currently host the web and SQL server in a local data centre and were taking off-site daily backups using a combination of BackupAssist and the Rsync add-on. This was adequate for restoring a snapshot of the website or database to the previous day, but I wanted to improve the frequency of our backups given how often the database is changing as we take orders throughout the day. Luckily BackupAssist was there to help!

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The benefits of using iSCSI for BackupAssist image backups

I often get asked about the best way to create off-site image backups.

One logical approach is to use a windows network share for the destination, however because the destination is not accessible at the disk sector level, the incremental imaging feature can’t be used. A full image backup must be taken each time the job runs which can take significantly more time as well as requiring a larger amount of storage if you wish to keep multiple images.

For this reason, we often recommend that customers stick to local destinations for image backups with history, and plug in either a local dedicated USB hard drive or a pool of USB drives. This approach works very well and allows for multiple images a day, typically taking less than an hour to run on an average SBS server.

However the disadvantages of relying on local backups are clear in that they’re still susceptible to loss, theft and damage. An often overlooked solution for image backups that combines the best features from both of these methods is iSCSI.

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