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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 in its entirety. This page enables the user to configure disk image backup schedules. uses VSS (volume shadow snapshot) to take image backup of the entire disk or specific partitions. It backups the disk data into a file of format VHD ( Microsoft Hyper-v Vitural Harddisk format ) to the selected Backup Server. The backed up image can be either restored to the same machine during disaster recovery or to a different machine on similar hardware or if the Backup is configured without Encryption and Compression enabled, the same image can be mounted and booted up as a virtual machine in the supported virtualization environment that includes Microsoft Hyper-V, Virtual PC, Virtual Server and Oracle Virtual Box.

In Advanced Image Backup option, the backed up VHD image even if it is compressed and encrypted can be converted into a virtual Hyper-V or VMWare image to boot up the machine as a virtual machine to quickly recovery when the new hardware for the crashed machine is not yet ready.

The restore process for these image backups are explained in this document.

How to get here in the Web Console?
 In the top menu, select: "Backup->Plugin Backups->Disk Image"

Supported OSes

  • Windows XP with sp2 and above

  • Windows Server 2003 with sp2 and above

  • Windows SBS 2003, 2008 & 2011

  • Windows Vista

  • Windows 7

  • Windows Server 2008 & R2

  • Both 32 and 64 bit OSes are supported.

Advanced Image Backup Driver Installation

Advanced Image Backup requires an one-time image backup driver installation in this machine before the first backup can be run. This driver keeps track of the changes written to the disk. If the driver is not already installed, the Add Advanced Image Backup page will not list the disks for image backup. Instead it will provide a link to click to initiate the driver installation. Once the link is clicked, the driver installation will automatically start. Once the driver installation is complete, the machine will be rebooted.

NOTE: Installation of the driver will reboot the machine. Make sure all other applications are saved before installing the driver.


Configure Disk Image 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" Page, is the tree with a list of disks/drives available in the client machine. You can either select the entire disks for backup or their individual partitions.

  • Selecting entire disks for backup:


  • Selecting drives for backup:

  • Estimated Backup Size: Total used size of the drives selected for backup.

Assign Mount Point

Advance Backup assigns mount point to the volumes that do not have volume mount point or drive letter assigned. This is required as the volume without mount point cannot be scheduled for incremental backup.

  • Select Disk/Volume for Backup

  • Selecting disk or volume for Backup, checks if all the volumes have their respective drive letters assigned to it.

  • Auto Assign Mount Point

  • If any of the volumes in the Select Drive(s) list doesn't have a mount point or drive letter assigned, prompts to auto assign mount point to the drive letter.

  • Select Drive(s) Refreshes

  • On choosing to auto assign mount point, drive letter is assigned to the volumes.


Step 3: Set Basic Configuration

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 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.

Select Backup Server : For running local backups of disk images, this client has to first connect to a backup server. Please select a backup server.

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

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.

Backup Process Type

Streaming -When you select 'Streaming' option, the backedup images files(VHD) will be uploaded directly from the client mahcine to the configured backup server. You need not specify the dump location to store the dumps locally and wait for the uploads. This option is therefore recommended when the backup server is in the same location (LAN) as the client machine where network interruption is minimal.

Dump and upload - Select this option to do backup as in previous version, that is the data gets dumped to the local or mapped drive and then gets uploaded to the Server.

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. Size of the dump location could be huge

    Disk 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.

    The dump location can also be a mapped/external drive. To specify a UNC path as dump location, first map the UNC path through the Mapped Drive Settings and then give the mapped drive letter as dump location. Once the backup is configured, you cannot change the dump location later on.

NOTE: Advanced Disk Image validates the dump location and local backup location with the selected source for enough free space for backup to complete.

Set Compression

If 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.


Encryption

NOTE: In case, the backup is configured without choosing to encrypt or compress the backup image, the backup can be restored from server and can be directly booted in any Supported virtulaization environment that supports Microsoft VHD format. In case, of Local Backup Image, the backup image itself is bootable in supported virtualization environment.


Password Protect This Backup

This option is to enable or disable encryption of the data that is being backed up. uses a well known AES 128 encryption algorithm. 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 Protection

This option is to enable System Generated Encryption Key or use a Customized Encryption key for encrypting the backup data.

System Generated: The selected disk or drive backup will be encrypted using AES algorithm with 128 bit encryption key automatically generated by before been backed up. No password will be required while restoring the data.

Custom: This will enable the user to select the custom Encryption Key that needs to be used for encrypting the selected disk or drives. 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

does encryption using AES 128 encryption algorithm. The design and strength of key length of AES algorithm used here protects the backed up files up to the SECRET level.

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.

Move backup processing(compressing/encrypting as selected above) to the backup server

On Checking this option, the compression and encryption that is choosen from the above steps will be carried out in the server side making the client free

Step 4: Scheduling (Decide When To Backup)

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

Run Every Few Hours

Choose the hours/minutes interval between each time must run. If is restarted in the interim, the backup will run once starts. Thereafter, automatically reschedules the next backup after the period you’ve set. For example, if you created a backup schedule at 10 am and set it to run every 1 hour, will first run the schedule at 10am and the next scheduled time will be 11am. However, if at 10.15am, is restarted, then the schedule will run once at 10.15am and the next scheduled time will now be set to 11.15am.

Additionally, you can also select the days in which this schedule should run. For example, if you do not want to run this backup schedule on Saturdays and Sundays, uncheck the check box against these days. If the "Select all days" check box is checked, then the schedule will be run on all the days of the week.

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 restarts” option in Advanced Options, will run at the stipulated time only.

Run Weekly

Choose the time and the day of the week the backup should run. 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 restarts” option in Advanced Options, will run at the stipulated time/day only.

Run Monthly

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

Step 5: Synthetic Full Image Backup

Synthetic Full Image Backup is the one feature that considerably reduces the number of files to be saved in the server.To configure Synthetic Full Image Backup , enable the below option,choose the number of restore points to be retained after the synthetic full backup process completes and choose the number of incremental backups to be merged with the full backup.



When Synthetic Full Image Backup is in progress, it requires more than double the size of the full backup in the server. For Instance, if you have a full backup (disk0_full.vhd) of size say 100 GB in the server, you have 10 incrementals each of size 1 GB. It requires more than 220 GB free space in the server backup store for merge to happen. This is because, during the Synthetic Full Image Backup process, incrementals and full backup will be merged to a file name merged_0.vhd and the merged_0.vhd is the merged file which will attain the size equal to full backup image plus incrementals merged, once the merge is completed, the merged_0.vhd will be renamed to last incremental that is included for merge and the full along with the other incremental files will be deleted.

Example:

Consider the backup configuration , with Synthetic Full Image Backup option enabled and configured as keep the last 3 versions and Run Synthetic Full Image Backup only when at least the 5 versions are available for merging.

Disk0_full.vhd, Disk0_incr1.vhd, Disk0_incr2.vhd, Disk0_incr3.vhd, Disk0_incr4.vhd, Disk0_incr5.vhd, Disk0_incr6.vhd, Disk0_incr7.vhd, Disk0_incr8.vhd Now, once the Disk0_incr8.vhd which is the eighth backup version is reached, the Merge gets triggered in the backup server. Need to keep the last three versions, the last three files [Disk0_incr6.vhd, Disk0_incr7.vhd, Disk0_incr8.vhd] will not be included in merge process and the files Disk0_full.vhd, Disk0_incr1.vhd, Disk0_incr2.vhd, Disk0_incr3.vhd, Disk0_incr4.vhd, Disk0_incr5.vhd will be merged to a merged_0.vhd and once the merge operation is completed, merged_0.vhd will be renamed as Disk0_incr5.vhd (the last file included in merge operation) and the merged files will be deleted from the backup store. After Merge completion, backup store looks like: Disk0_incr5.vhd, Disk0_incr6.vhd, Disk0_incr7.vhd, Disk0_incr8.vhd Now, Disk0_incr5.vhd is the full and the rest the subsequent child vhds.

Step 6: 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 you can Configure Additional Full Backup (Additional full backup schedule is mandatory to keep the incremental limited. Please configure an additional full backup for this schedule).

For 'Run Every Few Hours/Run Daily' incremental 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 will take a full backup the first time and then weekly do an incremental backup. The next month, 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 you have configured to store only 6 full backups "Store maximum of 6 full backups" here. On the 7th month, , 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.

Note:

  • The Default full-backup to store is 2
  • If Synthetic full image backup is configured for the backup, it is not necessary to configure an additional full backup for the backup schedule.

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 restarts - If you enable this option by checking the check box, then this backup schedule will be run every time 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 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.

Data Integrity Check - supports data integrity check where the data sent from the client machine is verified for integrity at the backup server. When a file's integrity check fails, flags that file as skipped and the file is then again backed up during the next backup schedule.

Other Backup Settings

Set CPU Utilization

For 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.

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


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.


Incremental backup fails with the error message in report "Volume without drive letter cannot be backed up incrementally. Incremental backup failed". Show/Hide

Cause : Advanced Image Backup does not support incremental backup for volumes without mount point.

Solution :When creating an incremental backup for volumes without mounts point, choose to auto assign mount point to the volume when prompted. You can also do the same manually through Disk Management. [Start -> Run -> diskmgmt.msc]


Limitations

  1. VSS services should be enabled for image backups.

  2. Incremental backup will fail or the particular volume will be skipped if the configured volume does not have mount-point(drive letter).

  3. Advanced Disk Image does not support Dynamic Disks. Only Dynamic Volumes are supported. Also Disks and Volumes with GPT partition table are not supported. Such unsupported disks and volumes are greyed out and cannot be configured for backup.

  4. Currently you can seed the local data to the remote server only. After performing the seed migration, you can continue this backup schedule only to the remote server, not to both remote server and same machine.

  5. Backup data transfer through Streaming option is not supported for Linux and Amazon EC2 backup servers.

  6. Synthetic Full Image Backup is not supported for Linux and Amazon EC2 backup servers.

  7. Synthetic Full Image Backup is not supported for local backups.

  8. Keep data locally option will not be available when you select Streaming option.

  9. Windows8 and Windows2012 are not supported.

  10. Where it left off will not work for the backups while transferring the data using Streaming option.

  11. Disk image backup will fail, if the system went into sleep mode.

  12. The hardware configuration of the machine to which data is restored should be similar to the source machine.

  13. VMDK conversion not supported for Operating system like Windows XP and Windows 2003.

  14. Client crashes if the backup is configured for disk more than 9 disks say (Disk10, Disk11...).

  15. Windows XP and Windows2003 32bit OSes are not supported to store the backed up images as VMDK format.

  16. Compressed VMDK are not supported for instant boot.

  17. In FLR restore we can not retrieve files having same name from different partitions.

  18. The bootable image available in scratch disk will be in read only format.

  19. Boot test process during the integrity check is not supported if the backed up disk image data will be stored in mapped drive. But mount test and CHKDSK test process will be run as usual.

  20. Source volume which is equal to or greater than 2TB are not supported for disk image backup.

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