Tech Bulletin SBS 2008 – no 4 from the Partner newsgroups

Tony Ma has been doing these great series of Tech articles on SBS 2008 in the MAPS partner newsgroups.


Check out his latest!


 


Hi All,

Welcome to the partner online communities. I hope you have had a wonderful
holiday!

This is the last round of the SBS 2008 Knowledge Sharing series. This time
we would like to introduce the new backup feature included in SBS 2008.

Backup Theory

SBS 2008 leverages Windows 2008 backup technology.  SBS also includes a
wizard to configure scheduled backups. It also provides a centralized
location to monitor the status of past backups and other related
configurations.
SBS 2008 can backup:

. Files and folders
. System State
. Exchange
. WSS (SharePoint)
. SQL 2005 Instances
. MSDE Instances

With the new SBS 2008 backup solution, the concept of full vs. incremental
is very different from what you are used to with previous versions of
NTBackup.  With SBS 2008 every backup is incremental from a storage point of
view, but full from a restore point of view.  Basically backup stores the
changed blocks on the source, and maintains a meta data on which blocks
changed per version. On the recovery side you can always recover the full
version. The recovery logic looks at the meta data, picks up the correct
blocks based on the version and adds them up. This same principle works for
Exchange. The exchange recovery logic knows which files it needs to recover
for the exchange databases. Then based on the version it picks up the
specific blocks from backup drive, adds them up and restores it on the
system.

Let’s see a quick simplified example to explain how it works, for this
example assume a file on a volume is made up of 4 blocks ABCD:

1. So first backup all 4 blocks will be moved to destination
    ABCD (Source) —> ABCD (Destination)

2. In the next backup cycle let’s say the block A changed to A’. So this
time the file is A’BCD.  Therefore only A’ will be moved to the destination
like this, and the block A will be saved in a separate location
    A’ (Source) —->  A’BCD (Destination)
                               A (+ Meta data for version info)

3. In the next backup let’s say again A’ changed to A”, so the file is now
A”BCD
    A” (Source)  —-> A”BCD (Destination)
                                A’ (+Metadata)
                                A (+Metadata)

So on the backup disk, the full version is always the most recent version
(for performance reasons), while previous versions are moved out to another
location with meta data to link it to the backup version. The above example
works the same for multiple disk rotation. It will only transfer the blocks
since the last rotation.  Now let’s say you wanted to restore to a
particular backup version. So the backup logic will go through the steps
described above in reverse order, and restore the specific blocks associated
with the particular file and version.

Backup Wizard

Click “Next” at the Getting started page.

Select the drive you wish to backup to.  You can back up your data to any
external storage drive that supports USB 2.0 or IEEE 1394. Drives of this
type offer large storage capacities and the speed that is necessary to
efficiently back up your data.  To backup to an internal hard drive check
the “Show all valid internal and external backup destinations” checkbox.
Please note that the wizard will only display drives that do not contain
system files.

You can use multiple external storage drives for backups, and you can rotate
the drives between onsite and offsite storage locations. This can improve
your disaster preparedness planning by helping you recover your data if
physical damage occurs to the hardware onsite.

When choosing an external storage drive for your server backup, consider the
following:

. Choose a drive that contains sufficient space to store your data. Your
external storage drives should contain at least 2.5 times the storage
capacity of the data that you want to back up.

. When reusing an external storage drive, make sure that the drive is empty
or contains only data that you do not need.

NOTE: The Configure Server Backup Wizard formats the storage drives when it
configures them for backup.

Enter a meaningful disk label.

Select the drives you would like to backup.  You should back up the system
drive (typically, drive C).  You will not be able to exclude your system
drive from backup.  You should also back up any drives that contain business
information such as:

. Exchange Server data
. Windows SharePoint Services data
. SQL Server databases that support your line-of-business applications
. Redirected user’s My Documents folders
. User’s shared data folders

NOTE: You can only back up data from a local drive that is formatted as an
NTFS file system. Drives formatted as FAT (including FAT32) file systems do
not appear in the list of drives to back up.

You should protect your computer that is running Windows SBS 2008 and its
data automatically by scheduling daily backups. It is recommended that you
maintain a daily backup plan because most organizations cannot afford to
lose the data that has been created over several days.

When you use the Configure Server Backup Wizard that is included with
Windows SBS 2008, you can choose to back up server data at multiple times
during the day. Because the wizard schedules differential-based backups,
Backup runs quickly, and server performance is not significantly impacted.
By default, Configure Server Backup schedules a backup to run daily at 5:00
P.M. and 11:00 P.M. However, you can adjust the backup schedule according to
the needs of your organization. You should occasionally evaluate the
effectiveness of your backup plan, and change the plan as necessary.

It is also recommended that you store your external storage drives offsite
and regularly rotate them to protect your data if there is a natural
disaster.

Once you click “Configure” on the summary page you will be presented the
following warning:

You must accept this warning to continue.  Please be sure that there is no
important data on your target drive, as you will LOSE it.
Backup Now
Once you have completed the “Configure Server Backup” wizard backups will be
taken on the schedule you specified.  You can also manually launch a backup
by right-clicking the server name and choosing “Backup now”.

Changing Your Backup Configuration

Once you have completed the “Configure Server Backup” wizard you can change
the backup options using the Tasks section of the console.

From here you can change:

. Add or remove backup items
o Change what is backed up.

. Add or remove backup destinations
o Add or remove drives to be used for backup.

. Change backup schedule
o Change when backups are taken.

. View backup history
o See if past backup attempts were successful.

. Backup now
o Immediately takes a backup

. Pause backup schedule
o Prevents new backups from being taken.  NOTE: You must click “Resume
backup schedule” for future backups to be created.

. Disable backup
o Deletes your existing backup configuration. NOTE: You must rerun the
“Configure Server Backup” wizard in order to take future SBS backups.

Here is an example of my backup history.  The reason that you see so many
failed backups is because I lent my USB hard drive to a co-worker for some
testing.

Only the most recent entry will have the complete reason for the failure,
previous entries will just have a failure, you must reference the Windows
Backup event log for more information.  To find the backup event log open
Event Viewer and expand Application and Services Logs > Microsoft > Windows
 > Backup > Operational


A frequently asked question:

Q: If the USB drive runs out of space, will the backup automatically reuse
the space of older backups?

A: Yes, it will automatically reuse space from older backups so you do not
need to be concerned about running out of space after repeated backups.

Best regards,

Tony Ma
Microsoft Online Partner Support

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