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  • Question

  • I am running my WHS in a virtual machine because I do not want to install it on dedicated hardware.

    Of course this means that I have limited storage on my ESXi server.

    My plan is to make a full backup of a system once - and after that just back up user data (by excluding the windows directory etc from future backups).

    If I ever need to restore a system what would the process be to get the user data back after restoring the full system from the initial backup (as the user data will be spread over many backups)?
    Monday, January 19, 2009 12:23 AM

Answers

  • To be blunt (and, I mean no offense here), I'm wondering if you have a complete understanding of how the backup routine works.

    Honestly, what you're wanting to do will very likely result in a very botched PC recovery (if the recovered machine boots at all.)
    The backup system doesn't use nearly as much space as you might think it does.  The initial backup of a given machine does backup every file (except for what you, or it by default, excludes); less identical files that have already been backed up from another machine.  This is called Single Instance Storage - the backup system will 'link' files that are already in the backup database to a machine that also has those same exact files.
    Subsequent backups only backup new or changed files.

    You should (if you haven't already) read the Home Computer Backup & Restore doc for a full explanation.
    [If this post helps to resolve your issue, please click the "Mark as Answer" or "Helpful" button at the top of this message. By marking a post as Answered, or Helpful you help others find the answer faster.]
    Monday, January 19, 2009 3:01 AM
  • Prickly, if you configure backups for a client to back up the entire client each night, then only clusters (not files) that have changed since the last backup will be sent to the server. This is the SIS-like feature which allows efficient use of disk space on your server.

    Having done that, every backup after the first is effectively incremental in terms of what gets sent to the server, which is what you're looking for on that end. On the restore end, every backup appears to be a standalone full backup.

    Please read the Home Computer Backup technical brief (linked above) for more information.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, January 19, 2009 4:20 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • To be blunt (and, I mean no offense here), I'm wondering if you have a complete understanding of how the backup routine works.

    Honestly, what you're wanting to do will very likely result in a very botched PC recovery (if the recovered machine boots at all.)
    The backup system doesn't use nearly as much space as you might think it does.  The initial backup of a given machine does backup every file (except for what you, or it by default, excludes); less identical files that have already been backed up from another machine.  This is called Single Instance Storage - the backup system will 'link' files that are already in the backup database to a machine that also has those same exact files.
    Subsequent backups only backup new or changed files.

    You should (if you haven't already) read the Home Computer Backup & Restore doc for a full explanation.
    [If this post helps to resolve your issue, please click the "Mark as Answer" or "Helpful" button at the top of this message. By marking a post as Answered, or Helpful you help others find the answer faster.]
    Monday, January 19, 2009 3:01 AM
  • prickly said:

    I am running my WHS in a virtual machine because I do not want to install it on dedicated hardware.

    Of course this means that I have limited storage on my ESXi server.

    My plan is to make a full backup of a system once - and after that just back up user data (by excluding the windows directory etc from future backups).

    If I ever need to restore a system what would the process be to get the user data back after restoring the full system from the initial backup (as the user data will be spread over many backups)?


    Also, running WHS in a VM is unsupported (which basically means if you have any issues with running your backup recovery, don't expect MS to help you).
    Monday, January 19, 2009 4:40 AM
    Moderator
  • My assumption was that (after backing up the whole PC) I then back up file A on monday and then file B on tuesday. Then on wednesday I restore my original backup (after a hard drive failure for example) and then look at tuesday's backup on WHS and copy files A and B back to the client.

    I should have explained my original question much better I think lol as what I was trying to get at was simply if I see all of the past backups when I look at the most recent one to copy the data back.

    I am already impressed by the single instance stuff (I just want to manage my storage) and am aware that VMs are not supported (I won't ever ask MS for help with ESX or Workstation!) :D

    Monday, January 19, 2009 7:41 AM
  • kariya21 said:

    Also, running WHS in a VM is unsupported (which basically means if you have any issues with running your backup recovery, don't expect MS to help you).



    I had read this elsewhere too - I really don't believe that virtualizing WHS will have any impact on how it functions, plus I get to back up my whole WHS :D

    I'm not about to ask MS for support for ESX or VMWare Workstation! ;p
    Monday, January 19, 2009 7:50 AM
  • Hi,
    prickly said:

    My assumption was that (after backing up the whole PC) I then back up file A on monday and then file B on tuesday. Then on wednesday I restore my original backup (after a hard drive failure for example) and then look at tuesday's backup on WHS and copy files A and B back to the client.

    I should have explained my original question much better I think lol as what I was trying to get at was simply if I see all of the past backups when I look at the most recent one to copy the data back.

    I am already impressed by the single instance stuff (I just want to manage my storage) and am aware that VMs are not supported (I won't ever ask MS for help with ESX or Workstation!) :D



    you can do this anyway without much fine tuning. As already mentioned, excluding folders which do not change a lot, like the system folders, brings nearly no gain in disk space. It also brings no real gain in performance of backup, since the most backups after initial backup do not take long (unless you changed some more data) - in small office scenarios I have seen backups completed in 5 minutes usually.

    So I see not much sense in your plan, since in context of storage management it brings nothing.
    The only other option which could save you storage would be to to not use backup at all and only rely on Shared folders for data files.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Monday, January 19, 2009 8:06 AM
    Moderator
  • Prickly, if you configure backups for a client to back up the entire client each night, then only clusters (not files) that have changed since the last backup will be sent to the server. This is the SIS-like feature which allows efficient use of disk space on your server.

    Having done that, every backup after the first is effectively incremental in terms of what gets sent to the server, which is what you're looking for on that end. On the restore end, every backup appears to be a standalone full backup.

    Please read the Home Computer Backup technical brief (linked above) for more information.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Monday, January 19, 2009 4:20 PM
    Moderator