Storegrid™ Configure Disk Image Backup Schedule

Overview

Image Backup and Restore feature is an effective solution to recover data against system crashes and to recreate a system similar to the old one. This page enables the user to configure backup schedules. Once the schedule is configured, the client’s data is backed up to the selected Backup Server. The image that is backed up can be restored even on a dissimilar hardware and doesn’t have to be on the same client machine that has crashed.

This is a basic version of image backup which is supported only in the newer versions of Windows (Vista and above). Also, please note that the image taken through this plugin cannot be converted into a virtual image to boot up the image as a virtual machine. The Advanced Disk Image Backup Plugin should be used when there is a requirement to virtualize the physical image of the client machine. Also, the Advanced Image Backup is supported on all versions of Windows including Windows 2003 and Windows XP.

How to get here in the Storegrid™ Web Console?
 In the top menu, select: “Backup->Plugin Backups->Disk Image” and select the plugin type as ‘Basic Image Backup Plugin’ in step 3.

Requirements

  • Windows SBS 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 Standard
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Enterprise/Ultimate
  • Windows Vista Business
  • Windows Vista Enterprise
  • Windows Vista Ultimate

Storegrid™ uses the command line utility ‘Wbadmin’ and this utility is available only in Windows Vista’s Business, Enterprise and Ultimate editions and not in the Home Basic or Home Premium editions.

Note: In Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2, the Wbadmin utility is not enabled by default and you need to install it by going to Start -> servermanager -> add features -> Windows Server Backup, for Storegrid™ to run the image backup.

Supported OSes

  • Windows SBS 2008
  • Windows Server 2008 & R2 (Enterprise, Standard, Datacenter editions)
  • Windows Vista (Business, Enterprise, Ultimate editions)
  • Windows 7 (Professional, Enterprise, Ultimate editions)

Configure Backup Schedule

Step 1: Schedule Name

The first step in configuring a backup is to give a name for the backup schedule. The backup schedule name will uniquely identify the backup. While restoring your backup data, you need to choose the data to be restored using its schedule name.

Step 2: Select Drive(s)

On the left side of the “Add Disk Image Backup Schedule” Page, is the tree with a list of drives available in the client machine. Select the drives that need to be backed up as part of this schedule.

Step 3: Set Basic Configuration

Plugin Type

Basic Image Backup Plugin – Storegrid™ uses the command line utility ‘Wbadmin’ to dump the disk image for the selected drives for the OSes above Vista and upload them to the backup server.

Advanced Image Backup Plugin – Storegrid™ uses native VSS code to dump the disk image for the selected disks/drives for all Windows OSes except windows 2000 and upload them to the backup server.

Backup Type

 

Same Machine – When large amount of data has to be backed up, it might take significant amount of time to transfer all the data to a remote backup server over WAN/Internet. You can take the backup to a local external drive connected to the client machine and then physically move the external drive to the backup server location to migrate the data into the backup server. In such cases, you can select the backup type to be ‘Same Machine’. Once the data is migrated to the backup server using the Server Side Seed Backup Migration, you will have to perform Seed Backup Migration (under Backup -> Seed Backup Migration) in the client machine to make it to run its backups to the remote server directly thereafter.

Local Backup location: Enter the location/directory path where the backup is to be stored in the same machine. This location should be accessible to Storegrid™ process and should have enough free disk space for the backup data. You can copy data from this location to the backup server as seed backup data.

NOTE: Retention policies will not apply for a local backup. The Retention policies configured for this backup schedule will work only if the backup data is migrated into a backup server (seed backup).


Remote Server – Select this option if you want the backup data to be transferred to a backup server directly when the backup schedule runs.


Also keep a copy locally (optional) :

 

Enabling this option will backup the data to the backup server and also keep a copy of the backup data in a local location. First the data will be backed up to the backup server and on completion of the backup, the copy of the backed up data will be saved in the specified local location. The local copy will provide for faster restores and redundancy. You can always do a restore from the backup server as well.

 

Select Backup Server :

 

This is the list of peers/backup servers in which the backup data can be stored. Once the backup server is selected, you cannot change the server name. In case the backup server name or IP address is to be changed in future, you can change it from the Seed Backup Migration page. The client will run the backup to the selected backup server.

 

Test connectivity – Before you select the backup server for this backup schedule, you can check the connectivity to backup server. It also checks the different settings configured in the backup server for this client and confirms if this client can backup to the chosen backup server or not.

 

Add Backup Server– If you don’t see a particular backup server listed, you need to first add it by following this link before you can select it for this backup schedule.

Temporary location for backup dumps

Enter the location/directory path where the Disk Image backup dumps are to be stored temporarily before uploading them to the backup server. Ensure that there is enough disk space in the configured temporary dump location. The backup dumps stored in the temporary location will be deleted once they are transferred successfully to remote backup server.

  1. The dump location should be a non-critical drive Storegrid™ first creates the image backup file in the specified dump location in the client machine before Storegrid™ backs up the file to the backup server. The dump location specified while configuring the image backup schedule in the client machine should be a non critical drive – it cannot be the drive where Windows is installed or the drive where Storegrid™ is installed or mapped drive. For example, if Windows is installed in C: drive and Storegrid™ is installed in D: drive, then neither the C: nor the D: can be specified as the dump location. Also the location specified has to be the root of the drive and not a folder inside the drive, i.e. the dump location should be specified as E: and not as E:dump_loc. Also once the backup is configured, you cannot change the dump location later on.
  2. Size of the dump could be hugeDisk Image backup is typically huge. The size of the backup depends on the data present in the drive been backed up. The size of each full image backup could easily be several GBs in size. Therefore, make sure the dump location specified has sufficient free space.Also once the backup is configured, you cannot change the dump location later on. Therefore make sure you specify the right dump location while configuring the backup schedule itself.
Encryption
Password Protect This BackupThis option is to enable or disable encryption of the data that is being backed up. Storegrid™ uses a well known encryption algorithm, Blow fish. If enabled, a password has to be specified which will be used for generating the encryption key. Encrypting data ensures that it cannot be read in the destination machine (backup server) where your backup is stored, and is especially relevant for sensitive information.
Password ProtectionThis option is to enable System Generated Encryption Key or use a Customized Encryption key for encrypting the backup data.


System Generated: The selected files and folders will be encrypted using Blow fish algorithm with a 448 bit encryption key automatically generated by Storegrid™ before been backed up. No password will be required while restoring the data.
Custom: This will enable the user to select the custom Encryption Technique, Encryption Key Size and the Encryption Key that needs to be used for encrypting the selected files and folders. Please don’t lose the customized encryption key, as the backed up data cannot be restored without this key.
Default Encryption Password: The selected files and folders will be encrypted with the Default Encryption Password as provided in the “Settings -> Advanced Options -> Default Encryption Password” page. Default Encryption Password is a convenient way to use the same password for all the backup schedules created in this client machine. It saves you from having to remember a different password for each backup set.


Encryption Technique

 

Storegrid™ supports encryption using Blow fish or Triple DES. The Blow fish is a commonly used open source encryption technique which provides encryption based on the size of the encryption key length (from 64 bits to 448 bits). Higher the number of bits stronger is the encryption. Triple DES is a block cipher formed from the Data Encryption Standard (DES) cipher by using it three times, this technique is also supported by Storegrid™ for encrypting the backup data. By default, Triple DES encryption technique is chosen.


Encryption Key Size

 

Storegrid™ supports encryption using variable length (64 to 448 bits for Blow fish and 192 bits for Triple DES) keys. The key is generated using the password you provide. Basically the longer the key size you give the more difficult it is for someone to decrypt the encrypted files. For normal backup purposes the default 64 bit encryption should be good enough.


Type Password

 

Provide a password here to generate the encryption key. If the password is forgotten the data can never be recovered as the data cannot be decrypted without this password. So, please ensure that you keep your password in a safe place.

Retention Policies (Optional)

Storegrid™ provides the retention feature where backups of multiple versions of a file can be maintain at the backup server. Storegrid™ cleans up the version files in the backup server based on two major retention policies:

 

  1. Version-Based Retention – Retains multiple version files in the backup server based on the version file count.
  2. Time-Based Retention – Retains multiple version files in the backup up server based on the age of the version files.
Retention policy for backed up files
Version-Based RetentionStoregrid™ can retain backups of multiple versions of a file based on the version retention count specified. The number of version files to be retained can be specified as any value from 0 to 99 with a default setting of 5. The backup version count can be 0 when the Intelli-Delta Backup is disabled in Advanced Options. This option is useful when you wish to store just the complete latest version of a file.For example, if the version file retention count is specified as 5, then Storegrid™ retains the latest five version files. These files can be restored from the backup server at any point of time. When the sixth version of the file is created, Storegrid™ backup server automatically deletes the first version.
Note: When Intelli-Delta option is disabled for a backup schedule, Storegrid™ will back up the entire file if the file was modified since the last backup schedule. In such a case, StoreGrid will retain multiple versions of the entire file as per the version retention count configure for that backup.
Time-Based Retention Storegrid™ can retain version files in the backup server based on the age of version files. Default setting is for 5 years, meaning the version files will be retained in the backup server for 5 years and then will be removed automatically. The maximum number of versions that can be created during the retention period can also be optionally further configured. There are two options: 

Any number of versions can be created within this retention period

 – This is the default setting. If enabled, Storegrid™
 retains all the versions created during the specified retention time period.


Restrict the maximum number of versions that can be created within this retention period to ‘n’. – If this option is enabled, Storegrid™ will clean up the version files based on both; retention time period and maximum version file count. For example, if the retention time period is set to 1 month and maximum version file count is 5, Storegrid™ will retain only the last five version files created within the last one month and versions older than one month with be deleted.

Step 4: Scheduling (Decide When To Backup)

This field has the following options from which any one can be chosen.


Run Daily

 

Choose the time at which the backup should run daily. This will execute the backup everyday at the time you have provided. Unless you’ve selected the “Run this Backup each time Storegrid™ restarts” option in Advanced Options,Storegrid™ will run at the stipulated time only.


Run Weekly

 

Choose the time and the day of the week the backup should run. Storegrid™ will execute the backup every week on the particular day and time chosen. Note that you can select multiple days of the week if you wish to run the backup on multiple days of the week. Unless you’ve selected the “Run this Backup each time Storegrid™ restarts” option in Advanced Options, Storegrid™ will run at the stipulated time/day only.


Run Monthly

 

Choose the time and day of the month the backup should run. Storegrid™ will run the backup every month on the particular day and time chosen. StoreGrid will run at the stipulated time/day only.

Step 5: Additional Full Backups

Typically, you would do a full backup the first time you backup your data and thereafter only do incremental backups. However, like in a typical enterprise scenario, if you want to run full backups periodically and run the incremental backups in between two full backups, then you can configure the scheduling for how to run the full backups here.

 

For Run Daily backups, the Additional Full Backup settings will allow you to configure daily/weekly/monthly additional full backups. For weekly and monthly backups, only Monthly additional full backups are possible.

 

Additionally you can specify the maximum number of full backups that need to be stored in the server. For example if you configured a weekly backup and additionally if you configure a monthly full backup, then Storegrid™ will take a full backup the first time and then weekly do an incremental backup. The next month, Storegrid™ will do a new full backup and subsequently run the weekly incremental backup over this full backup. After 6 months you will have 6 separate full backups in the backup server along with weekly incremental versions under each of the 6 full backups. If your policy is to retain only backup data for 6 months, then you can configure “Store maximum of 6 full backups” here. On the 7th month, Storegrid™, after finishing the 7th full backup, will delete the first full backup along with its weekly incremental backups thus retaining always the last 6 month backups.

Advanced Options (Optional)

If you want to configure some additional advanced options – like, CPU utilization, Compression settings, etc. click on the Advanced Options button.

Advanced Backup Schedule Settings

There are four options here on how the backup should be scheduled.


Run this backup each time Storegrid™ restarts – If you enable this option by checking the check box, then this backup schedule will be run every time Storegrid™ is restarted or the machine is rebooted irrespective of the actual schedule time of this backup schedule. This is to ensure that any modified or new files created when Storegrid™ was down are backed up as soon as possible.
Run this backup immediately after saving this configuration (thereafter, Backups will be scheduled as per the schedule stipulated) – If you enable this option, then this backup schedule will be executed once immediately after you save this backup schedule – even if it’s not yet ‘time’ as per the schedule. For example if you configure a daily backup at 10.00 AM but you configured the backup at 8.00 AM, then the backup schedule will be run once immediately (8.00 AM) and then as per schedule (e.g. daily at 10.00 AM).
Attempt to run this backup every 5 minutes in case of non completion because of a problem (Network error etc.) – If enabled, the user can choose to reschedule this backup every 5/10/15/20/25/30 minutes, whenever an attempted backup is incomplete because of a network error, server crash etc. The number of times the backup will be rescheduled (due to an error) can be configured to be in between 1-5 or unlimited, with the default setting as 5. This is to ensure that an incomplete backup is completed as soon as possible without waiting for the next actual schedule time. Note that this option is enabled by default.
Perform Synthetic Full Backup for files when the size of the incremental backup of a file exceeds certain % of the size of the initial full backup of the file – By default Synthetic Full Backup will be run when the size of the incremental exceeds 80% of the original backup data. A very low value will lead to too many Synthetic Full Backups been run and all those versions need to be maintained in the backup server. A very large value could lead to Synthetic Backups not running at all.
Other Backup Settings
Set CPU UtilizationFor each backup schedule, you can also specify the CPU utilization level as Low, Medium or High. When you set the CPU Utilization to high, the backup will be really fast – but the backup process may affect the speed of other active applications. If CPU utilization is set to Low, the backup will take longer but will be done in a non-intrusive manner allowing you to comfortably work on the computer as the backup continues in the background. In general for a continuous backup, it is best to set the CPU utilization to Medium or Low. For backups which are done every day or every week in ‘off-hours’, the CPU utilization can be set to High. Actual performance is obviously a function of your individual machine and your network. We encourage you to experiment with different settings to figure what works best for you.
Set CompressionIf compression is enabled, data will be compressed in the client before it is uploaded into the backup server.


Enable – Compresses the data to the maximum. It might reduce the rate at which the client can send data to the backup server but it might save significant bandwidth and time when the data is backed up to a remote server over a WAN/Internet with limited bandwidth speed. Also, this saves disk space in the backup server.
No Compression – This option is suitable (fastest) for backing up data within a local network where bandwidth is not the limitation, but occupies more space on destination machine as no compression is being done.


Intelli-Delta Backup

 

When a backup schedule is executed, Storegrid™ checks if the file has changed since the last backup. If yes, then Storegrid™ can either backup the full file all over again or it can backup only the modified content (incremental). If “Intelli-Delta Backup” is set to ENABLE, only modified content in a file is backed up. If set to DISABLE, the full file will be backed up every time the schedule runs. Needless to say, an incremental backup is faster.

Saving the configured backup

 

Once all the drives to be backed up are chosen and the configuration options are set, you simply need to click on the “Configure/Save Backup” button to activate the backup as per the schedule- on to the configured backup servers.

Troubleshooting Tips

Disk Image Backup is not supported for this Operating System. Show/Hide
Cause :This error is reported if you are trying to configure Disk Image Backup in an Operating System which is not supported.Solution :Currently Disk Image Backup is supported only in Operating Systems Windows 2008 Server, Windows 7 and Windows Vista (Business Edition and above).

 

Disk Image Backup is not supported for this Operating System’s Edition. Show/Hide
Cause :This error is reported if Storegrid™ is installed in an operating system Windows Vista Basic or Home Edition.Solution :This feature is available only in Windows Vista Business, Enterprise and Ultimate editions. To use this feature, upgrade the operating system to Business, Enterprise or Ultimate editions

 

The Dump Location you have configured is not a valid File System. Please configure NTFS drives as the dump Location. Show/Hide
Cause :This error will occur if the file system of the configured dump Location is not a NTFS File system.Solution :Change the dump drive location to one in a NTFS file system.

 

Please enter the drive name as dump location for Disk Image backup. Folder/filepath cannot be entered as the dump location. Show/Hide
Cause :Storegrid™ uses the wbadmin tool to dump the Disk Image backup which dumps the Disk Image backups under the parent drive only. Like for example, the dump location can be D: and not D:dump_loc. Also, the dump location cannot be a mapped drives or a network shared folder.Solution :Give the root location of the drive as the dump location. Like for example, the dump location can be D: (provided D: is a non-critical drive – where neither Windows nor Windows Services are installed)

 

The dump location that you have specified is the drive that is selected for backup. Please give some other local drive for dump location. Show/Hide
Cause : This error is reported if the dump location specified is the same drive that is been configured for image backup.Solution :Give some other local drive as the dump location.

 

Windows Server Backup feature is not installed in your System. Please install and try again. Show/Hide
Cause : Storegrid™ uses Windows server backup feature to backup the Disk Image of the computer. The above stated error is reported if this feature is not installed.Solution :By default, Windows server backup is available in Windows Vista and in Windows 2008 it is disabled by default. If it is not installed, then you need to install it.Follow the steps mentioned below to install Windows server backup feature

  1. Click Start, click Server Manager in the left panel and then click Features. Then in the right panel, click Add Features. This opens the Add Features Wizard
  2. In the Add Features Wizard, on the ‘Select Features’ page, expand Windows Server Backup Features and then select the check boxes for Windows Server Backup and Command-line Tools. You will receive a message that Windows PowerShell is also required to be installed with these features
  3. Click Add Required Features and then click Next.
  4. On the Confirm Installation Selections page, review the choices that you made, and then click Install

 

Another dump process is running using the utility ‘wbadmin’. Hence this backup will be scheduled again after 10 mins. Show/Hide
Cause : This error will be reported, if there is another disk image or system state backup process is running in your machine.Solution : Check whether the ‘wbadmin.exe’ or ‘wbengine.exe’ process is running in the system using Windows Task Manager. If so, wait for completion of those processes, or terminate those processes, if there is no backup process is running.

Limitations

  1. Disk Image Backup feature is not supported in Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista Home and Windows Vista Premium.
  2. The FAT32 file system drives will not be listed in the drives list.
  3. You cannot dump Disk Image data to Critical volume (system drive).
  4. You cannot dump Disk Image data to the drive where Storegrid™ is installed.
  5. You cannot configure the dump location as a network shared folder or mapped drive or a tape drive.
  6. If the given dump location is CD/DVD, confirm that there is a media which is writable during backup.
  7. VSS services should be enabled for image backups.