×
INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR COMPUTER PROFESSIONALS

Contact US

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you a
Computer / IT professional?
Join Tek-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Tek-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

data backup frustrations

data backup frustrations

data backup frustrations

(OP)

I spend far too much time on my way job worrying about data. Unfortunately, data is not centrally controlled. And I have had a few users who actually have the adaucity to complain that backups slow down their computers.

Ideally, backups are automated. And your backup system is only monitored to check for errors.

Last night, my user told me that I could backup his computer. Well, I forgot. It had not been backed up in a week. In fact, anytime this user's laptop is slow, he wonders if it is because it's being backed up. His laptop is only about two years old.

In spite of the fact that we had three laptops stolen in 2009 and another laptop stolen last year, some people still think that data backup is some kind of plot to keep them from getting their work done. The brutal truth is that data backup is like an insurance policy. It is there so you can get your work done in case something bad happens.

MANUAL BACKUPS ARE NOT BACKUPS AT ALL. You can not depend on users to run backups. You can not depend on sysadmins to run backups when those backups should be run daily automatically. Sysadmins have more important things to do. It is amazing how many people say: "I will run a backup in a few days." Then it doesn't get run.

I am NEVER again going to work for a company that does not have data centrally controlled--stored on a server(s) in one location. User data should be stored on the server, not individual PC's or laptops. Unfortunately, it was this way when I arrived. It is still this way now.

And the people who complain about data backup are people who are very high in this company.

Does anyone have a good solution? I am about ready to recommend a new laptop for this guy with a solid-state drive. Maybe then I can backup data and not get complaints that my backups are slowing him down.

RE: data backup frustrations

As an interim move before introducing proper server based data storage, if they authenticate to a server, you can set a logout script in AD that will copy the My Documents folder (and sub folders) to a network location on logoff/shutdown.
Unfortunately it will only work if they store data in their My Documents folder and sub folders.

Another way would be to run applications via a Citrix/Terminal services with data on servers, and all their laptops are is a terminal to connect to that.

John
 

RE: data backup frustrations

big question though is: Do backups slow users' machines unacceptably? Or is this just a myth? Has anyone timed it? If so, can the backups be worked into more convenient times of day, or can they be set up to run a bit less intrusively? (remember, processor time is frequently a very bad measure of how disruptive a process is, since conflicts for disk access can be far more slowing).
 

RE: data backup frustrations

Big answer:Yes, no, yes, yes, and yes.
It helps to set machines up so you only do routine backups of important things and not the overhead of the operating system.

I try to configure my customer's machines to do 3 types of backup after the end of each working day, first to a local drive, second to a remote drive, and last to a burned medium. It has worked out well over the last 10 years with only one occasion where a restore to current data was in question. It also helps to have a spare machine ready if hardware totally fails.

Ed Fair
Give the wrong symptoms, get the wrong solutions.

RE: data backup frustrations

If you're using desktop PCs at an office location, then there's no reason to not use centralized file servers to store user data.  In fact, you can use Folder Redirection features via Group Policy to automatically ensure that users are storing data in the central location, even when they think they are saving things into "My Documents".

Laptop users can get a little more tricky, depending on how they are used.  If the users regularly are in the office and only take the laptops home then you can use the Folder Redirection in conjunction with Offline Files to keep data centralized but ensure that the end users have local copies that are always available and automatically replicated back up to the server when they connect to the network.  That usually does the trick.

Once those two items are in place you simply make a policy that states that this is how user data is to be stored, and that you will not be responsible for the loss of improperly stored data. For the most part there shouldn't be any issues at all, as everything is taken care of transparently in the background.  The only potential issue is people storing data in locations other than where they are supposed to, and at that point it's an education issue.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Server Administrator
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator
MCITP:Virtualization Administrator 2008 R2
Certified Quest vWorkspace Administrator

RE: data backup frustrations

(OP)
Apparently you people do not understand users. Users put files anywhere. They create folders on the C drive at that level. In some cases, I have no choice but to back up their entire C drive and then exclude things like the WINDOWS directory and such.

Yes, the entire system is a complete mess. The mess includes everyone, including the people who hired me and sign my paychecks. If changing everything here was as easy as making an omlet, I would change it.

Bottom line, you are asking me to modify the behavior of users. How can this be done? As far as I know, it can not be done.

As I stated quite clearly, I will NEVER deal with this again. I will specifically ask how a company stores data and won't take the job if it is not done properly.

RE: data backup frustrations

Quote:

Apparently you people do not understand users. Users put files anywhere.

I assure you, we understand users.  But your job isn't to kiss their butt and bend over backwards to make them happy.  Your job is most likely to provide technical support and solutions.  If you think that users cannot be trained then you might as well quit IT altogether.  I have never in my life heard of a company where IT staff was expected to back up all users' PCs and laptops.  It simply isn't done.

I guess my question to you is this:  Did you come here looking for help, or did you just come here to complain about your users?  Because a number of viable solutions have been offered.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Server Administrator
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator
MCITP:Virtualization Administrator 2008 R2
Certified Quest vWorkspace Administrator

RE: data backup frustrations

    
Maybe a good starting point would be to set some standards, rules and regulations (they should already be in place, but either there are not, or nobody knows about them and nobody enforces them), explain them to "the people who hired me and sign my paychecks" and if they say: "No, we are not going to do that" then you say "Well, then I am not responsible for the data backup"  

Yeah, I know – easy to say that in the post, not so easy to say that at the work place....  smile
 

Have fun.

---- Andy

RE: data backup frustrations

Oh, we understand users all too well.  Up to and including handing them the crying towel when they succeed, in spite of all our best efforts, in losing all their data. In my case including defending a $40K lawsuit when a user scrambled 8 years of data beyond hope of recovery by attempting a restore onto a file system that was still missing a hard drive.

Ed Fair
Give the wrong symptoms, get the wrong solutions.

RE: data backup frustrations

(OP)
The solution I'm looking for is something that will backup without using a lot of resources. I just did an rsync backup on the one laptop. And I may be able to run this without the user noticing.

I really don't care if someone has never heard of a company that does things this way. Unfortunately, this is the second time I have been in this type of environment. There are companies that do things this way, as unlikely as it may seem.

I don't own the company. Our CEO is the CEO. We have stockholders to deal with as well. We have board members, who are also in upper management.
 

RE: data backup frustrations

Our company have a system where everyone is expected to store things in 'My documents'. We all know that anything else is at risk as it will not be able to be retreived.

And 'My Documents' is on the server, with a local sync'd copy. So nothing ever really gets slow'd down, and my stuff is all safe.

Works for us!

Fee

"The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea." Isak Dinesen

RE: data backup frustrations

Andrzejek is right. You don't even have to be heavy about this. Not every company's culture extends to aggressive IT rules dictating where files must be stored. Sometimes it may be enough to have a written policy circulated to all users: "We recommend you store all important files in the directory 'My Documents'. We will ensure this is backed up automatically to a central file-server. In event of files becoming corrupted, we will be able to restore previous versions up to XX months old. Files stored elsewhere will not be backed up and will be irrecoverable should anything go wrong".

You really need to look at the psychology of the situation you're in. Yes, users do (very, very) silly things, but they also do a lot of useful things that make the company work, and ultimately the IT system is there to support them, not vice versa. Yes, they may behave like idiots, and secretly they probably know it, but it's not a good idea to treat them like idiots. Education is, genuinely, possible. Please don't lose faith!

RE: data backup frustrations

Quote:

The solution I'm looking for is something that will backup without using a lot of resources. I just did an rsync backup on the one laptop. And I may be able to run this without the user noticing.

There's your problem.  You posted asking for a solution without specifying the actual problem.  Your first post makes it sounds like the problem is not technical, but policy and/or soft skills related.  That is compounded by having posted it in this forum, where the issues and obstacles that people are dealing with tend to be a of the political/policy nature.  Hence the responses that you got.  If you were looking for a technical backup solution then you might have had a better experience posting in a forum dedicated to backup/recovery.

Quote:

I don't own the company. Our CEO is the CEO. We have stockholders to deal with as well. We have board members, who are also in upper management.

I pity that group when things go south (along with whoever is left holding the bag).

Realistically, I think that the problem is with expectations.  And the fact that you keep finding yourself working for companies that do things in this backwards and inefficient fashion makes we wonder whether your willingness to suffer through this isn't part of the problem.  So your CEO is the CEO.  Who is responsible for IT?  Is there a VP?  Director?  Manager?  Or is this just you?  

From my perspective (and it seems to be shared by others here) your issue is a lack of policy, procedure, and the political will to enforce them.  No matter how good your technical solutions are, if you're not using them appropriately then you will not be successful.  It's not enough just to implement bits, you need to impart understanding, make recommendations based on sound methodology and best practices, etc.

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Windows 7
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Server Administrator
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator
MCITP:Virtualization Administrator 2008 R2
Certified Quest vWorkspace Administrator

RE: data backup frustrations

Quote:

Apparently you people do not understand users. Users put files anywhere.
Actually, it's been my experience that MOST users don't even TRY to organize their files that well.  They simply let everything get stored in whatever DEFAULT directory is available.  So, all you would need to do is backup the DEFAULT directory(s).
 

Randy

RE: data backup frustrations

Quote:

I really don't care if someone has never heard of a company that does things this way. Unfortunately, this is the second time I have been in this type of environment. There are companies that do things this way, as unlikely as it may seem.


Users at my current place of employment used to be the same as your place of work.  A admin supported policy, constant education and positive reinforcement are all it takes.  It can be done and it doesn't take that long for users to pick up on easy things like saving all documents in My Documents or on the "Department" share and only backup those two folders.  

Explain it in a way they will understand; ask them where they store their important documents (SS card, birth certificate, ect).  Most store them in a safe or some other locked box.  You are doing the same with their documents.  Even the most stubborn users will understand and learn fast enough if their data is important enough.  

As for your CEO and Administration, show them the benefits in a language they will understand - Cost savings.  Backing up and securing a few servers vs all pc's in your network.  The company's data is very valuable and you don't want it to vanish.



Stubnski

RE: data backup frustrations

It is a training issue, certainly.

At a prior job, before we switched everyone to Citrix (so it was no longer an issue), we informed everyone "This is where you are supposed to put your files.  We are NOT responsible if you store files where they don't belong (such as in your personal documents).  The only way your files are guaranteed safe is if they are stored in THIS location."

Of course, folder redirection on a domain is a great way to handle the "My Documents" folder.  Folks don't even notice.

Better way, IMHO, is thin clients, if you can do that.  It's not feasible in all situations (for example, if you have a bunch of graphics artists or autocad people... thin clients don't like that... lol)

 

Just my 2¢

"What the captain doesn't realize is that we've secretly replaced his Dilithium Crystals with new Folger's Crystals."

--Greg  http://parallel.tzo.com
 

RE: data backup frustrations

(OP)
We have lots of people running highly specialized programs and software. We have a few CAD people and have many GIS people.

RE: data backup frustrations

GIS is very server-centered. Talk to the person who runs your GIS, get their help/advice in solving the backup issues.

Fred Wagner

  

RE: data backup frustrations

Everything we do here is server-based. I don't put anything in My Documents that I really, really want to save. Our PCs are not backed up, but the servers are.

We have been moving to SharePoint. We used to have a personal folder on the network, but they asked us to stop that and use SharePoint instead.

My mistake was at that point, my Outlook archives had been on the network, and I couldn't get them to save properly on SharePoint, so I just let it create the archive in Outlook's default for such things.

And then, I had to have my drive re-imaged, due to some Windows issues. I used the File and Settings Transfer Wizard to back up things, but I found out, too late, that the C:\Documents and Settings\$user$\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook folder was not, unfortunately, among the folders that FAST backs up.

So anything over 6 months old is now lost and gone forever. Note to self: use a better backup program next time. Live and learn.
 

-- Francis
The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get to the office.
--Robert Frost

RE: data backup frustrations

And don't accept the default locations for your data. MS buries stuff deep enough in the filesystems that some backup software upchucks.

The normal location of OE's mail store is something like 8 levels deep and a line and half of prompt to get to it.

Ed Fair
Give the wrong symptoms, get the wrong solutions.

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Tek-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Tek-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Tek-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Tek-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login

Close Box

Join Tek-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical computer professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Tek-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close