What backup software are you using and what is your experience with it?
Question asked by Jorge Euran Graham - January 22, 2015 at 10:56 AM
We used backup for workgroups for a long time, but it proved very slow and unreliable and then we switched to the idera server backup and although it was better, we just got the repository damaged somehow and there is no way to get all the info from there, so that is a big problem.
We are looking to some suggestions of other good windows backup software for our mail server and other servers as well.

17 Replies

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SmarterUser Replied
January 24, 2015 at 1:07 PM
I've used BFW for many years, and have not had a single reliability issue.  I've also found the performance to be respectable, and the restore performance is amazing.  If you're having performance issues with it, perhaps try reimaging to get a fresh start.
Too bad ST deleted the old forums, even though they had promised to keep them.  You would have found a lot of suggestions and comments on various backup solutions there.
Paul Blank Replied
January 24, 2015 at 3:39 PM
I have been using Symantec System Recovery for many years, with excellent results.  Very fast restoring whole disk volumes, can be slow if you're just restoring certain folders of many GB, but in my experience the data is safe. Backs up open files very well. Make sure you test that you can do a "bare metal" restore if you'll need that; older versions weren't very good at restoring boot signatures.  Otherwise a very reliable product.
Evan Heller Replied
January 27, 2015 at 9:25 AM
Hi, I've used a number of backup services for both the VM (I run SM in an ESXI VM) as well as for the data. I had used Carbonite Business in the past and have recently changed over to Crashplan. Other than the initial backup time, it's great to have mail versions backed up for a long period of time so that when a client has an issue,  I can perform a restore from a specific point in time.
SuperTechie Replied
January 28, 2015 at 9:11 AM
I've grown weary of proprietary backups from the likes of Symantec, where every little Windows update breaks something and then requires a $500.00 upgrade.  And managing Windows backups from Server 2008 onwards is a pain.  So I use a 2 prong approach:
1.  Windows and system backups:  For the basic Windows system and sysstate which do not change that often, I use the built in Windows backups.
2.  For daily backups, I use Fbackup.  It's free and stores the data compressed in .zip files (and can encrypt too).  It works well with SmarterMail and open files, etc (uses shadow copy).  I do not trust it for Windows system state, but for data backups it works great.
Dave Kidd Replied
January 28, 2015 at 9:23 AM
I use a combination daily of Windows Server Backup (which backs up to an external USB drive) and Backup4All Professional (which backs up to a network drive) on our Win 2008 SBS server to back up our Smartermail settings and account data and both have been great at recovering items when required.
Backup4All is very flexible with its options (especially to networked drives which Windows Server Backup doesn't seem to like using) and it's handy knowing I have two options to call upon if our mail server decides to play up :)
Paul Blank Replied
January 28, 2015 at 9:38 AM
Don't forget to set SM to archive all messages, given that A. you actually want this and B. you have enough disk space.  I find it a godsend. When some dad-burned email client or client computer causes a mailbox burp, it's simple enough to recover lost messages.
thnet Replied
July 1, 2015 at 8:02 AM
Has anyone used Veeam to back up Smartermail?  
We have had issues when it performs the snapshot merge.  The machine gets paused and it causes some of the mailboxes to corrupt.
Paul Blank Replied
July 1, 2015 at 9:01 AM
FBackup's Backup4All looks very good, and seems to be very inexpensive. Several advantages over the free FBackup, including incremental backups.  I will check that out.  Looks like it's for data only; doesn't look as if it can restore boot volumes, "bare-metal" style.
Curtis Kropar www.HawaiianHope.org Replied
July 3, 2015 at 2:31 AM
So, everyone is saying what they use to do backups. My question would be, how many of you have taken those backups and restored them to get a working system again ? Or even used them to recover data for someone, etc.  Making the backup can be slick and nice, but actually using it to put everything back to where it belongs is the important part.
www.HawaiianHope.org - Providing technology services to non profit organizations, homeless shelters, clean and sober houses and prisoner reentry programs. To date we have given away over 1,000 free computers.
Paul Blank Replied
July 3, 2015 at 3:55 AM
I have used Symantec System Recovery to restore folders and individual files, to restore entire systems, and to clone entire drives (when upgrading a SM server to a larger drive) with great success.
Sometimes a few tricks were needed to get a bootable system because of issues with master boot records or boot partitions (issues known about beforehand).  But the data was always all there for me.
And I think these issues have been cleared up with later versions of the program. Haven't needed to do those procedures lately, so no recent experience.
Merle Wait Replied
July 3, 2015 at 5:50 AM
I have recovered using backups... Not actually due to a hardware failure .. but moving around servers.   We took the backups, then reapplied the backups to new server.    I HATE proprietary backups from the likes of Symantec - but that is my own bias... and they are probably fine.    I have used (using) FBackup .. worked just fine.  We have backups every 20 minutes ... and "full directory image"  backups every 3 hours.
Directory structure is everything... AND simple stupid QUICK recovery is a must.  We already have scripts built and available to recover quickly.    
I totally AGREE that one has to actually perform/use backups and then recover from them.  Its better to do it and practice - then discover issues while under stress.
Couple of other points:
#1. Because SM does the "force uninstall /install" for upgrades, . for our email servers... we could care less about  total system recovery.
#2    Only other issue that has "bit" us and bit  us hard is:  IIS settings.  Since webmail is a big critical part.. the recovery and implementation of IIS setting is a whole another story.      Having learned from the school of hard-knocks; we do the following:   Using IIS export feature ... we export via script every 24 hours - the setting of the IIS machine to our "stand by machine".       As part of recovery -
a.) Apply data/folder structure
b.) Upgrade/Install - SM - pointing to current directory structure.
c.) Apply IIS settings and certificates.
d.) Start validation :)
So to sum up our  "disaster recovery"
1.) We have a cold machine on stand-by.
2.) We take incremental backups every 20; full every 3  (am sure there are different and better 
     recipes) - this is just us.
3.) Export IIS settings (for all the domains/settings related to SM Webmail) every night.
in the event or in rotation for disaster recovery process.
a.) Start cold machine.
b.) copy over current image/then incremental(this already a batch script written).
c.) Unistall/and /or Install - same version of SM.
d.) Import IIS settings
e.) Start server.
On our best day... think we completed this in about 35 minutes.   
To that point - we have external gateways for inbound emails 
CCWH Replied
July 5, 2015 at 6:14 AM
We use R1Soft... Quick backups and have used to restore. Never had any issues on both Web and mail servers
kyle beckham Replied
July 5, 2015 at 8:05 AM
I think it really come down to the SIZE of your smartermail servers.  We started off using BackupExec ages ago when our SM servers were small. As they grew in size, so did the backup times. We eventually got into VMware and started using Veeam Backup for our VM, but these SM servers were still physical servers.  We wanted something like veeam backup and started using Symantec system recovery. This tool image level backups of the disk which were fast, but our only complaint is that restoring selected files was really slow. We never had to restore an entire image.  Eventually we moved all of our SM servers to VMs and have never looked back and use veeam backup on them for this. We have never had any issues with it. That software just works.
Robbie Wright Replied
July 6, 2015 at 10:10 AM
We host a primary and secondary MX server in two different Azure data centers (in different states) and use the Azure Backup agent to replicate backups to a tertiary site. Has worked great so far and even used it for a full restoration and it worked great. 
Mark Lee Replied
July 7, 2015 at 2:49 PM
I use Crashplan for offsite backup of all critical folders/data.
EaseUS Todo Backup Server to do local backup of the same critical folders/data to external NAS drives and also do full metal backups with EaseUS Todo Backup Server every other day of all partitions on my servers in case of catastrophe...
Plus all of my servers are RAID 10 with 3 spares each so unless the data center blows up I feel pretty safe with my setup...
Brian Ellwood Replied
July 8, 2015 at 8:05 AM
I've used R1soft/Idera and IASO over the years with no issues.
BIS Techies (Rebecca and Family) Replied
November 24, 2016 at 12:41 AM
Hi all, I have 3x installations of Smartermail, we've been using SM since version 11.
Over 70 domains across all 3 installations, and about 800 users.
All 3 installations run on Hyper-V, Windows Server 2012r2 and non-R2.
All 3 installations uses Altaro Hyper-V Backup (free and non-free), we started from version 3, then on wards to 4, 5 and 6.
We've had no problems, other than slow email connectivity during backup window at night at approx 2-3am when we run the backup.
as the backup is incremental, the back-up data is about 10GB and it takes about 1-hr to backup to USB disk via USB-3.0
We have tried restoration, full and partial (retrieve data), no issues at all.
The free version of Altaro, however, cannot do partial restoration, only full restore of a failed virtual machine.
All 3x VM uses Windows Server 2012r2 and non r2, so far so good as well.
Just so that you guys know what's a suitable environment that SMB can use for a stable SM deployment.
We will be upgrading our SM to version 15 soon. Will post any issues with the update in terms of backup (if any).

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