Back Up Your Database With USB

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  • Add multiple HDs and you can also rotate backups offsite.

    We find that for a multi-server backup solution, that a Firewire external HD provides better throughput than USB.

    I use the native NTBackup, SQL Server backup, and a German product called Drive Snapshot. I take a new Snapshot after patching each server, so the server image is around a month old.

    Coupled with BartPE w/ XPE and you have a great disaster recovery solution.


  • Excellent article!

    I think in a true production environment, you'd have to add offsite storage.  Shipping hard drives off site could be tricky, dropping a hard-drive would be alot more costly than dropping a tape.

    This might be ideal for backup and restore in a development or test environment where the data is a little less critical than production data...

    (something to think about anyway)


  • Good article! I've used something like this in the past for database transfers.

     if you're going to use this in a production environment, be sure the first couple of times you plug in the USB drive you test thoroughly, with variable amounts of data.  We had a USB solution blue screen a system (consistently) when the data rose above 400GB. Other systems, the drive worked fine no matter the size of the data, YMMV.

  • good article  I agree  being relatively new to this have having a single server with SQL 2K   I am intrigued by the concept  Bart PE..never heard of it..Ghost of course

    Can yo explain to a simple person exactly what the setup is

    Does the Server just have a Bart PE CD in its drive and a USB Drive attached ?? Do yo use another pc or similar ?? Can you schedule ??

    This looks like exactly the type of emergency image I have been looking for



  • I thought this was going to be an article about backing up to one of those portable keyring USB fobs.

    Silly me. 



  • Bart PE is a modified version of windows XP that boots off and runs off a CD.  When you create a Bart PE CD, you can choose what software is installed on the installation.  Of course you have to have copies of the software you would like installed to create the CD.  The whole reason for the CD is to get Norton Ghost to work with your USB drive.  Creating a DOS usb boot disk for Norton Ghost is very challenging and may be impossible depending on the USB drive you have. 

    Once you create the CD, you have to boot your server off the CD and use Ghost to image the OS partition.  Automating that would be rather challenging. 

    Kevin Parks


  • Ok  to follow on with my naivity ...

    I create a Bart CD and also have Ghost loaded on it as well

    and ???

    I put the CD in my Server...then ???

    Boot to CD or Drive     How do I keep everything running and create a USB Image simultaneously  or have I missed the point here

  • In Windows you cannot replace the drive partition you are booted from, so there is a need to "boot from CD" to restore your C: drive.

    BartPE is a GNA boot to mini-XP or mini-Win2003, so you can build an image that supports all the stuff that DOS cannot (NTFS, RAID, SAN, etc.).

    The "roll your own" BartPE:

    Is NOT for the faint of heart, so I suggest Realtogo:

    And you will be booting your server and workstations from CD / DVD to restore an image of the machine, then update with what ever data file backup restoration that is appropriate for the machine. I use Firewire external HD to house the images (<machine>_<drive>_YYYYMMDD.SNA)

    Have you seen:

    For the image I use Drive Snapshot, it allows snapshot of an online production server and comes with a "map the image as a drive" feature to use Windows Explorer for those, "I just need a single folder/file restoration" times.



  • I have considered a backup solution of this type before.  The thing that makes it a bit risky is the fact that your backup data is still connected to your server. If you were to contract a virus, the virus has access to your live production data files and your backup data files.  Having more then one harddrive to connect to the server lowers the risk a bit. Having four drives and using a different one for each week of the month maybe.  This plan too falls apart if you don't discover the virus in a relatively short amount of time.



  • Why RAID 1, with what? Are you doing the RAID with two partitions on the same drive? How does that help? If the drive fails, it fails, and you can't get to either RAID partition. Surely you should run two 500GB drives instead? (RAID 1 on the same drive can only really protect against bad sectors)

  • How often is your data burned to dvd\cd and moved offsite.  Or is this not important.  I wish i could utilized a 500GB storage device for a month of backups.  One of the 100+ servers I monitor\maintain has a 2TB backup drive for a single full backup.  With something that size we look to replication, tape library and offsite storage.  Everyday the backups are shipped off site.  Obviously it is a function of scale but there are 10MB databases that are far more important than 2TB db's.  Another good question is security.  Tapes can be encrypted, password protected, and are software specific often times.  This could be important depending what is in that db.  On some of my smaller sites we can leverage a single tape for everything on the server which is very nice.  I would also bet that tape media will outlast the dvd\cd media if stored properly.  On the otherhand dvd\cd will withstand the elements better.   Just some food for though. 

  • Why USB? FireWire 800 as IEEE1394b is faster. External SATA as eSATA even faster. We use IEEE1394b and eSATA for backups.

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