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Backup, NAS Drives and Virus Protection

Question asked by Peter Darby on Nov 30, 2011
Latest reply on Jan 10, 2012 by Valentin Leung

Hi I'm interested in seeing what peoples approach is to backup for programs, CAD data and ancillary design/client data.

I run a desktop workstation and a laptop for off site work both capable of CAD modelling both have two hard drives; one for programs, the other for data (these are not set up for raid). I use a RAID configured NAS drive on a local network for centralised long term data storage, files for completed jobs are routinely saved back to the NAS drive. The NAS drive in turn is backed up to pocket hard drives that are cycled on a weekly basis. While this is the bones of the system there are some problems in the administration i.e. routinely copying data (and significant quantities of it) between the Working computers to NAS to backup drives.

I recently contemplated switching over to a backup program that continually monitors changes in nominated folders for backup into an incremental database on the NAS. While you never lose much data in the event of a system or disk crash there may be some problems:


First :- within a short period of time creates a very large file 100GB+ for subsequent backup to the pocket hard drives. Data backup requires one of the system machines  to be a master copying data between the NAS across the network to the pocket drive during the working week.


Second :- The backup program only allows one backup 'schedule' to run feeding one backup database, this makes some sense as the intention being to have a single 'set and forget' approach that does it all.

The down side of the second item is the inclination to switch on the disaster recovery component to store all the programs and settings for recovery in the event of a hard drive failure. One consequence of this is that your backup data, even compressed, grows by 50 - 75GB. There are also some issues relating to running programs' internal flags/settings appearing as changes to the backup software that would then dutifully track these and back them up to the NAS located database. Potential for system workload without enhancing the data security?

An alternate approach would be to have either a ghosted copy of the program/system drive that is updated after major software installs/upgrades; in combination with a second backup of CAD data preformed on a more frequent basis (kept on a separate system disk). The potential here is to lighten up the required data flow across a system's network in a working month?

Another issue with continual backup to a NAS drive is malware infection. With continual track and backup in place the malware could copied across to the NAS drive backup database. From some reading it appears that malware can be prolific and devious, imbedding itself into corners of the system software and particularly difficult to root out - even with the assistance of solid brand name virus scanners. A further complication with NAS based storage is that you have to go to another level of software for virus protection, most key players do not have the functionality to scan external network drives in their home office end packages.

The above is a snap shot of my understanding to date (there may be some flaws in this) I'd be interested in hearing of experience or thoughts that could add to virus protection and backups for a networked home office. You’d like to think that life could be a little easier – sometimes a filing cabinet and photocopier seems attractive.