Backup strategies for backup to a network disk RRS feed

  • Question

  • My WHS has 2 disks - one is for the automatically created C: and D: partitions, then I've added another disk to hold the actual data (F:). Disk 1 is actually a VHD running in Hyper-V and the Hyper-V host handles the backup of that, so I only need to back up my physical Disk 2 (F:) where all the ServerFolders are (about 500GB of data).

    There is no Disk 3 attached to the WHS so I can't use the built-in WHS Server Backup. I need the backup storage to be my network disk (WD MyBook). One thing to know about this disk is that it's SLOW - it can do only about 2-3MB/s for write operations, read is not much better. Two main features I'm looking for are:

    1. There are more versions of backups stored - like if I run the backup every night, there should be 7 version for the past week I could return to.
    2. Backups are transferred efficiently - remember my NAS is slow and transferring 500 GB every night isn't a viable option.

    I have seen people use Robocopy for NAS backups but will Robocopy make a consistent backup? Like if the backup takes 2 hours and there are writes to the source directory in the meantime, will Robocopy actually work? It's not such a big issue for small files like pictures but what happens if Robocopy happens to run at the same time as Client Computer Backup? I'm worried about the backup consistency.

    Also, can Robocopy create more revisions of historical backups? Or will I have only one version to restore from?

    Maybe my concerns about Robocopy aren't justified but I'm a little worried that it is too basic of a solution. But are there other options? Like creating a shadow copy of F: (it should ensure consistency and versioning) and efficiently tranferring it to NAS? Can Volume Shadow Copy technology do that? Can wbadmin help me?

    Too many questions I know but I take backups seriously and want to do the right thing. Of course if it cannot be achieved with NAS, I can always buy another disk and attach it to WHS but I'd rather use my current NAS so that it's not wasted.

    Friday, February 3, 2012 2:14 PM

All replies

  • Another option you might look into is Syncback. Works for me.
    Friday, February 3, 2012 2:19 PM
  • Server backup (the tool built into the OS, not the interface to it provided in the dashboard) is capable of storing a backup on a network drive, however it can only store a single backup; there is no versioning so every backup is a full backup. This is not what you want.

    Honestly, I would make sure that all volumes used by Windows Home Server are on disks that are backed up by the host OS, or I would find a way to attach an external drive that the host can pass through to the Windows Home Server VM (so probably not USB). This will deliver better performance than anything you'll get out of your network drive, and should allow you to back up everything you need.

    If you must use the network location, there are third party backup solutions available; I would choose one that I'm comfortable with, such as Storagecraft Shadowprotect. You'll still have to contend with the relatively low throughput of the network device, however, which means that server backups will take time.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, February 3, 2012 3:16 PM
  • Ken, I would gladly backup my Disk2 using the WSB in my Hyper-V host but that disk needs to be Offline in order to be accessible from inside the WHS VM. So I need a solution that works from within WHS.

    <del>Funny that you mention that the standard WSB will only store a single backup - I thought it would create more backups (at least that's what I see from the Windows Server Backup snap-in). Maybe there's a command line command I could execute to force WHS to store backups to my NAS?</del> Sorry you're right, when using NAS only a single backup is used. Does it mean that it would copy 500GB every night?

    Friday, February 3, 2012 4:16 PM
  • ... Does it mean that it would copy 500GB every night?

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, February 3, 2012 6:19 PM