locked
WHS backup of backups RRS feed

  • Question

  •  

    Quotes from the technical brief (http://download.microsoft.com/download/1/8/0/18096c95-4850-4176-9821-970691b98aaf/Windows_Home_Server_Home_Computer_Backup.pdf):

    "The backup database is stored entirely in the folder D:\folders\{00008086-058D-4C89-AB57-A7F909A47AB4}\. The content of this folder is migrated by Windows Home Server Drive Extender from the primary data partition to a secondary data partition if the home server has more than one hard drive."

    "To copy the backup database from your Windows Home Server.......... stop PDL,... stop WHSBackup,... copy the contents of D:\folders\{00008086-058D-4C89-AB57-A7F909A47AB4}"

     

    I am a little bit confused here... The two quotes are contradictory.

     

    1. Where is the backup database located actually?
    a. entirely on D: drive? Then the backup database reduces the size of the pool used for transferred files!
    b. migrated on a "secondary data partition"? Then the instructions under "Saving a Copy of the Backup Database" (the second quote) are incorrect! One shall not look at D: drive for to "backup the backup", but rather go through all the hard drives in the storage pool chasing pieces of the backup database.

     

    Based on what I see in my WHS, the backup files ARE migrated to "secondary data partition".

    But they could also be found on D: drive. Well, the latter set of files does not reduce the disk space on D:, so probably those are "tombstones".

     

    If they are really "tombstones", then (looks like) the backup files are handled the same way (by the drive extender) as all the "user" files copied to the server. And in this case another question pops up: 2. Why isn't duplication enabled for them (automatically or as an user option)? Is it just because of performance reasons?

     


    Tuesday, December 18, 2007 11:07 PM

Answers

  •  Petre wrote:

    1. Where is the backup database located actually?
    a. entirely on D: drive? Then the backup database reduces the size of the pool used for transferred files!
    b. migrated on a "secondary data partition"? Then the instructions under "Saving a Copy of the Backup Database" (the second quote) are incorrect! One shall not look at D: drive for to "backup the backup", but rather go through all the hard drives in the storage pool chasing pieces of the backup database.

     

    Based on what I see in my WHS, the backup files ARE migrated to "secondary data partition".

    But they could also be found on D: drive. Well, the latter set of files does not reduce the disk space on D:, so probably those are "tombstones".

     

    If they are really "tombstones", then (looks like) the backup files are handled the same way (by the drive extender) as all the "user" files copied to the server. And in this case another question pops up: 2. Why isn't duplication enabled for them (automatically or as an user option)? Is it just because of performance reasons?

    You are correct for most points, however to copy the data you'ld best follow the MS instructions. The location to copy from indeed a folder which will normally only hold tombstones if you have more then one hdd, however if you copy from there it WILL copy the actual files. No need to go looking for them by yourself.

     

    I have tried enabling duplication for backups, it works,

     

    http://forums.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2506854&SiteID=50 and

    http://forums.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2399520&SiteID=50

     

    however it does seem to interfere with other processes, and didn't really spend time to take it any further.

     

    Request for this feature are already on connect website, so just vote on them:

     

    https://connect.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/feedback/ViewFeedback.aspx?FeedbackID=282631

    https://connect.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/feedback/ViewFeedback.aspx?FeedbackID=259366

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 4:17 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • I have three drives, and the backups are stored on another disk (according to the useful Duplication Info add-in), which agrees with "The content of this folder is migrated by Windows Home Server Drive Extender from the primary data partition to a secondary data partition if the home server has more than one hard drive"

     

    Remember that the concept of drive letters doesn't really exist with WHS, so D: is only the entry point into the DE pool.

     

    The backups are backups of your PC, so there are two discrete versions of the files, so why duplicate again?

    Tuesday, December 18, 2007 11:45 PM
  • Personally I think the logic to not 'duplicate' the backups is flawed.  The argument that the backup is on the original pc is fine for current point in time... but the whole point of the backup  to me is to be able to backup to a point in time and if those aren't 'duplicated' they can be lost.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 12:36 AM
  • Then, it sounds more like you want to simply extend how long WHS keeps your backups.  (By default, it's a month(?))
    Backing up the backups, in and of itself, isn't going to make your backups be around longer - they're still going to be deleted as scheduled (space, more than anything, is the concern.)
    You could always change your backup cleanup schedule from the Console.....

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 1:12 AM
  • Don't forget the target audience for WHS are those who almost certainly have no backup regime whatsoever, so being able to restore a file or rebuild a PC to the previous state is a fantastic leap forward. It's not a corporate-standard backup, but for those of us supporting extended members of the family means that we can relax a bit knowing that they have some protection at last.

     

    Plus on the client (and on WHS shares) you have Previous Versions - depending on whether it's XP or Vista - so you can revert to a previous version for as long as they are current.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 1:21 AM
  •  cuppie wrote:

    Then, it sounds more like you want to simply extend how long WHS keeps your backups.  (By default, it's a month(?))
    Backing up the backups, in and of itself, isn't going to make your backups be around longer - they're still going to be deleted as scheduled (space, more than anything, is the concern.)
    You could always change your backup cleanup schedule from the Console.....

     

    Not really, I can specify which backups are cleaned up an which ones are autmatically cleaned up by the automated cleanup.

     

    example:

     

    After I have a clean install of the machine it would be nice to create a manual backup and name it 'clean install', mark it as 'keep this backup' so I have it indefinately... assuming it could be duplicated.

     

    I really don't see any downside to allowing us to have backups duplicated... other than disk space, but that's an issue with the shares as well.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 2:08 AM
  •  Petre wrote:

    1. Where is the backup database located actually?
    a. entirely on D: drive? Then the backup database reduces the size of the pool used for transferred files!
    b. migrated on a "secondary data partition"? Then the instructions under "Saving a Copy of the Backup Database" (the second quote) are incorrect! One shall not look at D: drive for to "backup the backup", but rather go through all the hard drives in the storage pool chasing pieces of the backup database.

     

    Based on what I see in my WHS, the backup files ARE migrated to "secondary data partition".

    But they could also be found on D: drive. Well, the latter set of files does not reduce the disk space on D:, so probably those are "tombstones".

     

    If they are really "tombstones", then (looks like) the backup files are handled the same way (by the drive extender) as all the "user" files copied to the server. And in this case another question pops up: 2. Why isn't duplication enabled for them (automatically or as an user option)? Is it just because of performance reasons?

    You are correct for most points, however to copy the data you'ld best follow the MS instructions. The location to copy from indeed a folder which will normally only hold tombstones if you have more then one hdd, however if you copy from there it WILL copy the actual files. No need to go looking for them by yourself.

     

    I have tried enabling duplication for backups, it works,

     

    http://forums.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2506854&SiteID=50 and

    http://forums.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2399520&SiteID=50

     

    however it does seem to interfere with other processes, and didn't really spend time to take it any further.

     

    Request for this feature are already on connect website, so just vote on them:

     

    https://connect.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/feedback/ViewFeedback.aspx?FeedbackID=282631

    https://connect.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/feedback/ViewFeedback.aspx?FeedbackID=259366

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 4:17 AM
    Moderator
  • > The backups are backups of your PC, so there are two discrete versions of the files, so why duplicate again?

     

    Not at all.

    The PC has only the recent version of the files. The idea of a backup is to have snapshots of the system in different points in time.

     

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 12:39 PM
  • I would disagree with you on the purpose of a backup tool Backups are for disaster recovery, not archiving old data. (They can be used to archive old data, but getting at it is hard.)

    If you're looking for a way to keep an archive of prior states of your home PCs, and have that archive preserved indefinitely, then I don't think Windows Home Server is a particularly good method. For one thing, it expects to expire old backups on a regular basis. So Windows Home Server backup is not an archival tool, though it can be used as such in a limited way. It's a disaster recovery tool. For archival purposes, you might want to consider something like Acronis TrueImage.
    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 6:28 PM
    Moderator
  • I would like to jump in here and say this - if you are going to allow me to "duplicate" my pictures so that if a hard disk dies I don't lose my pictures, then why not allow me to duplicate my backups as well?  If I lose a hard disk (in WHS) then I lose ALL of my backups, for ALL machines in the house!!! 

    WHC is not an archival tool... duh, it is not even a backup tool apparently.  WHS actively discourages use of raid so that if a drive fails I can still get at my data.  Then it allows me to duplicate my pictures, but not my machine backups?

    That is simply stupid thinking.

    Machine backups are AT LEAST as important as my pictures.  I have old tax returns, my entire outlook email stuff, all sorts of documents, and on and on.  EVERYTHING that matters to me is in those backups.  The pictures are important but surely not anywhere near as important as all of the other stuff that I keep on my system.  Why offer me a backup, with snapshots back 3 days, weeks, months, and then let the whole shebang DIE if a drive craps out?  And not for just one computer but for every machine in the house!!!!!

    In fact I stumbled across this thread precisely because I spotted this oh so obviouos flaw in the system and was searching for the solution that I just knew has to be out there.  Surely, oh SURELY I can duplicate my backups just as I can my pictures!

    And for that matter, why not handle the OS itself?  What happens if the OS drive dies?

    Don't get me wrong, I love WHS, I just think that some bad decisions were made to not even allow me the choice to do the obvious.  I have almost 2 terrabytes of hard drive available to me.  Drives are cheap.  I have 45n gigs in shared folders, all of which is duplicated.  I have 75 Gigs in backups, NONE of which is duplicated and I am not ALLOWED to duplicate it.  So I have 1.7 terabytes of unused hard disk and can't duplicate my backups!  This is ALMOST (but NOT) a hugely helpful and immensly reliable system. 

    But not!

    8-(
    Thursday, December 27, 2007 2:50 AM
  • John, it's not a given that you will lose all backups to a single drive failure in your WHS PC. It's certainly possible, though. If you're that concerned, though, there's a mechanism available to "back up" the backup database. See the Home Computer Backup white paper for details. I don't consider it a critical issue, because there are ways to back that up, and most home users don't care. They want to recover from the "click of death" on Mom's PC with the family photos, not from their house burning down.

    As for failure of your system drive, the approved procedure to recover is a "server reinstallation" or "server recovery" (depending on whether you have a home-built WHS PC or a unit from HP). You replace the system drive and reinstall the operating system. You lose the users you had set up, any OS customizations you may have made, add-ins that were installed (plus configuration information if they don't store that data in the WHS-approved way), and potentially your backup database (components may be stored on the system drive, depending on exactly how and when disks were installed). None of this is an onerous task to recover from, unless you're using Windows Home server as a general-purpose server platform, which is against both the design philosophy and the EULA.

    If something results in the loss or corruption of the backup database, you wipe it and start from scratch. Backups aren't for archival storage of data from your PC, they're for restoring your PC after a disaster. People who come from an IT background find this attitude a shock. I know I did. Smile But it's the right attitude for a home user.
    Thursday, December 27, 2007 3:56 PM
    Moderator
  •  

     

    Quoting:  "I would like to jump in here and say this - if you are going to allow me to "duplicate" my pictures so that if a hard disk dies I don't lose my pictures, then why not allow me to duplicate my backups as well?  If I lose a hard disk (in WHS) then I lose ALL of my backups, for ALL machines in the house!!!  "

     

    1) There are two copies of every on your PC - one on the PC and one on WHS.

    2) With duplication, there are two copies of your pictures.

     

    The assumption here is that the items on the WHS that are duplicated are stored only on the WHS.  (Execpt of course for the suggested off-site storate).

     

    Frankly, I'd like to see support to push a backup from WHS to a cheap (slow) NAS like the Infrant ReadyNAS.

     

    -andy


    Thursday, December 27, 2007 6:54 PM
  •  whatsthatnoise wrote:
    Frankly, I'd like to see support to push a backup from WHS to a cheap (slow) NAS like the Infrant ReadyNAS.
    Personally, I think you're more likely to see something to back up your shares or client PC backups to an external, but directly connected, USB/Firewire/eSATA drive. That solution delivers better performance and reliability.
    Thursday, December 27, 2007 7:54 PM
    Moderator
  • If I'm reading this thread correctly, the feature that Petre and others are looking for is commonly referred to as "snapshots." This is basically a version controlled backup of a file (or volume) which can later be accessed and browsed by date/time stamps to enable recovery of a specific file several iterations back in its change history. This is an enterprise file server feature that is usually only found off the shelf in NAS appliances by vendors like NetApp, Real-Storage, etc. Since this feature isn't even found in Windows Server 2003 or the upcoming Server 2008 product line (née Longhorn), don't expect it to show up in Home Server any time soon. Vista and 2003 have something similar called Volume Snapshot Service (VSS) aka Shadow Copy but I'm not sure how this could be leveraged to make archives of full system backups on the home server itself. Either way, you're still talking about potentially large amounts of data being warehoused which would require more storage than most home users are likely to spend money on. It sounds like Shadow Copy is most useful for Vista users by enabling the local disk to retain version controlled copies of files.

    Perhaps the only solution to allow archiving of WHS' system backups is to write an add-in that can mange "offsite" backup management to enable tape, DVD, or online duplication of backups. Does anyone know if the Jungle Disk add-in can be used to archive system backups or is it only for shares? Even so, the cost would add up quickly.

    -Gary
    Thursday, December 27, 2007 8:26 PM
  •  garypdx wrote:
    If I'm reading this thread correctly, the feature that Petre and others are looking for is commonly referred to as "snapshots." This is basically a version controlled backup of a file (or volume) which can later be accessed and browsed by date/time stamps to enable recovery of a specific file several iterations back in its change history. This is an enterprise file server feature that is usually only found off the shelf in NAS appliances by vendors like NetApp, Real-Storage, etc. Since this feature isn't even found in Windows Server 2003 or the upcoming Server 2008 product line (née Longhorn), don't expect it to show up in Home Server any time soon. Vista and 2003 have something similar called Volume Snapshot Service (VSS) aka Shadow Copy but I'm not sure how this could be leveraged to make archives of full system backups on the home server itself. Either way, you're still talking about potentially large amounts of data being warehoused which would require more storage than most home users are likely to spend money on. It sounds like Shadow Copy is most useful for Vista users by enabling the local disk to retain version controlled copies of files.

    Perhaps the only solution to allow archiving of WHS' system backups is to write an add-in that can mange "offsite" backup management to enable tape, DVD, or online duplication of backups. Does anyone know if the Jungle Disk add-in can be used to archive system backups or is it only for shares? Even so, the cost would add up quickly.

    -Gary

     

    JD is only for shares (very nice app, by the way).  I suppose you could copy the client backups to a WHS network share and back them up through JD that way (although I haven't tried that myself).

    Friday, December 28, 2007 2:42 AM
    Moderator