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Windows Server 2008 Image Backup and REV / rdx drives

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Hello all,

This is an important message for users of the rdx and REV drives on Server 2008 and the Image Backup (aka Windows Server Backup).

BackupAssist does support the rdx and REV devices as a destination device. [Note that the built-in Windows Server Backup (and the SBS wizards) does not detect these devices as valid backup destinations.]

This means that using BackupAssist, it is possible to backup to these devices for the purposes of doing a bare-metal full restore, or for restoring complete volumes.

However, the operating system sees these devices as “Removable drives” meaning that it will backup to these devices just like it backs up to a DVD drive - by compressing the VHD file.

It turns out that compressed VHD files cannot be mounted, and therefore you cannot restore individual files and directories, or individual applications, from within the standard Windows Server Backup restore wizard.

This is a limitation at the operating system level. We have not yet found a way to work around this limitation (but we’re trying).

Note: when backing up to USB hard drives, or local hard drives, you can restore individual files and folders and also applications.

So in summary:

When backing up to REV/rdx:
- Compression is on
- Can restore from bare metal
- Can restore entire volumes
- Cannot restore individual files and folders
- Cannot restore applications

When backing up to USB HDD:
- Compression is off
- Can restore from bare metal
- Can restore entire volumes
- Can restore individual files and folders
- Can restore applications

There are two workarounds for this scenario:

1. If you need to restore individual files and directories, use a USB or eSata connected removable hard drive as your backup device.

2. As an alternative strategy, use your REV / rdx drives with the File Replication Engine to backup your file system. You can achieve extremely good results with this method - giving you version history on your files that’s far better than can be achieved with drive imaging. Then have another job that will back up your system using the Windows Imaging Engine and enable you to restore quickly from bare metal.

Read more about how you can do this here: http://www.backupassist.com/SBS/sbspresentation.html

I’ll post more about alternative backup strategies in the near future.

Server 2008 backup taking a long time - caused by USB version setting

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Hi all,

I recently had a case where a client of ours was reporting that the backup was taking over 23 hours to complete, and it looked like it had “hung”.

However, he promptly fixed the issue himself, and discovered that it was due to the USB version setting in bios. I’ve quoted his reply to me below.

I thought it would be of interest to everyone else running HP Proliant servers!

Linus

Linus,

I have fixed the problem. It turns out that HP Proliant servers default to USB 1.1 ports for some LILO legacy stuff. I changed this in the bios of one of the two of my windows server 2008 servers and a 138GB backup now finished in 37 minutes. This is good for us as it is much better than 23 hours. :)

Announcing… SBS 2008 and EBS 2008 Support!

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Hi all,

To coincide with Microsoft’s worldwide launch of SBS 2008 and EBS 2008, we’d like to formally announce our support for these two latest operating systems.

The current version of BackupAssist (v5.0.5) supports these operating systems with the following features:
- Drive Image backups - building upon the block-level backup features present in Windows Server 2008, while adding extensive scheduling, strategy, hardware support, monitoring and reporting. For more details, visit Drive Imaging Fact Sheet
- File level backups - backup specific files and folders by replicating them to another location. Our Single Instance Store saves space and extends backup history, while intelligent differential backups make it very fast. For more details, visit
File Replication Fact Sheet

In addition, our next version 5.1, due in December, will also support:
- Internet based backups - by Rsyncing your files and folders via the Internet, using a bandwidth efficient transfer method
- EBS Administration Console plug-in - so you can view the results of jobs and perform basic administration through the EBS Administration Console.

Of course, all these features are in keeping with our philosophy of making straightforward backup solutions that are easy to use, manage and monitor, and “just work”.

So download and try BackupAssist today for a great backup experience!