Is it too much to expect that computer backups be duplicated? RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • I recently had my whs tell me the sys drive was failing.  I ran many tests with spinrite and wd drive util, but found no issue.  For grins, I also tested the memory and it was good. 

    I replaced the sys drive anyway.  I had two drives for duplication purposes.  I was disappointed that a loss of the system drive meant that I would lose my computer backups.  While I have some things manually being backed up to the duplicated shared folders, not everything is.

    I ran the restore after installing the new drive.  It went well, but then I got the message about the backup database being corrupt.  Once I ran the utility to correct this, no more computer backups.  Disappointing.

    I've read about the hack to have computer backups duplicated, but if MS didn't enable this out of the box, I don't expect it to be reliable.

    In my opinion, MS has misrepresented WHS.  They should clearly advertise that if you do not manually back up everything that's important, you could lose data.  I guess I'll be setting up scripts to robocopy everything now. 

    I've been recommending WHS to friends and anyone else who would lend an ear.  I even recommended it to people in the SO catagory.  I don't know that I can do that any longer.  I hope this issue will be resolved with Vail.


    Thursday, May 20, 2010 1:21 AM

All replies

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    I hope this issue will be resolved with Vail.

    Why not give Vail a spin and find out for yourself? More beta testers are always helpful. :)
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, May 20, 2010 1:24 AM
  • Yea sadly the backup database in WHSv1 is meant to be losable. That is, if the server fails, you should still have your original machines.

    Vail tries to correct that by providing a real server backup feature

    Thursday, May 20, 2010 7:25 AM
  • I've read about the hack to have computer backups duplicated, but if MS didn't enable this out of the box, I don't expect it to be reliable.

    It's as reliable as duplication of the shares, it uses exactly the same mechanism. AFAIK the main reason MS did not set/allow duplication for backups using the WHS console is the amount of storage involved in duplication, combined with the fact that in case of backup DB loss the clients are still there. You can enable duplication for the backup DB either by editing the registry or use the WHS BDBB Add-in that was developed to allow easy backup of the client backup DB.
    Thursday, May 20, 2010 8:30 AM
  • I'd love to test the beta.  Unfortunately, I don't have spare 64-bit hardware.  I'm not inclined to use my "production" whs machine to beta test since reliable backup of my data is important.
    Thursday, May 20, 2010 12:26 PM
  • From what I read about the unsupported backup duplication, it was more of a concern over performance than space.  See Scott Hanselman's blog: http://www.hanselman.com/blog/WindowsHomeServerUnsupportedFeatureBackupDuplication.aspx.

    When I built my server, I wanted it to be relatively inexpensive and as energy efficient as it could be (with 2008 hardware).  I used a Celeron 430, Intel mATX board, and WD Green drives.  I can't help but wonder if processing capacity didn't play a role in the decision not to enable the backup duplication out of the box.

    I've been very impressed with the de-duplication feature of WHS and the amount of space it uses (or doesn't).  I started with roughly 2 TB two years ago.  I backup three PC's (one is my development machine that I use daily, the other is moderately used, and the third is a play machine) and have yet to go beyond 500 MB.  The slow growth in disk usage on the server has been impressive.  Just from my experience, I don't think space would be an issue with regard to enabling backup duplication.

    I see a lot of other folks talking about using small drives (~250 MB drives).  And of course, several years ago, the standard HP MediaSmart server started with a single 500 MB disk.  So I could see that disk space was probably more of an issue when MS was planning for WHS v1.

    Thursday, May 20, 2010 12:52 PM
  • Oh back in the day when MediaSmart servers used 500 megabyte drives...and backed up to floppies. ;)
    Thursday, May 20, 2010 9:49 PM