locked
Saving A Copy of the Backup Database RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have spent some time this evening reading the updated Technical Briefs listed in the Windows Home Server blog.  I found an item of concern that the WHS team probably really needs to consider addressing in Version 2.  The WHS was designed to the novice home user to back up their data on a nightly basis; with little intervention involved.  Now many of us on these forums are somewhat technical in nature; so what concerns me is page 23-24 of the Technical Brief on Home Computer Backup which states:
     

    The Windows Home Server backup database is not duplicated by Windows Home Server Drive Extender. So if you lose a single hard drive on your home server, you could possibly lose all of the backups of your home computers.

    You may want to periodically copy the entire backup database from your home server to an external hard disk that you attach to your home server. The external hard disk should not be added to the Server Storage on your Windows Home Server.

     

    Please correct me if I'm mistaken, but this is a MAJOR drawback on the WHS software.  For those of us that are somewhat techincal in nature, granted this is pretty straightforward.  But for the person for whom this device is being marketed; this would be really bad should they have a Hard drive fail on their server and then have to perform a restore on one of their machines and then realize that is doesn't work.  Now granted, the idea of a server hard drive and a desktop/portable hard drive failing at the same time is almost impossible; it is still a concern.

     

    Thanks for letting me bring this to the attention of everyone here.

     

    Mark

     

     

     

     

     

    Wednesday, December 5, 2007 7:45 AM

Answers

All replies

  • Mark,

     

    I fully agree with you, and for that reason I have enabled duplication of backups on my WHS system. It did work, however there were some glitches. Biggest problem was demigrator and backup both wanting to access the same file, resulting in backup failure. Manual Start / Stop of demigrator circumvents this problem, scheduled Start / Stop did not also did, however in that case balancing didn't resume. Since WHS is not my primary backup at the moment I didn't take it any further: http://forums.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2399520&SiteID=50

     

    This request is already out there on Connect website,

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

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

    so if you want it just vote for it, or create new request yourself and post link overhere and ask others to vote for it:

     

     

    Wednesday, December 5, 2007 8:47 AM
    Moderator
  • I don't know how the team made the decision not to back-up the back-up, but it seems to me that it is unlikely that your PC drive would fail at the same time the WHS drive would fail. 

     

    In other words, the reasoning might be that with a single backup on the server you really have two viable copies of your PC data. 

     

    Wednesday, December 5, 2007 3:02 PM
  •  PWSEITZ wrote:

    I don't know how the team made the decision not to back-up the back-up, but it seems to me that it is unlikely that your PC drive would fail at the same time the WHS drive would fail. 

     

    In other words, the reasoning might be that with a single backup on the server you really have two viable copies of your PC data. 

     

    That has been my (oft-stated) reasoning. Smile
    Wednesday, December 5, 2007 6:36 PM
    Moderator
  • Having all my backups available after a hard drive failure is the most important feature for me. I just simulated a failure of the second HDD, and I was unable to access any of the backups (of any of my PCs). I understand I'm not a typical user, but here is what I'm doing for the last couple of years, with success:

    - I'm backing up my 2 computers (desktop and laptop) using Ghost; that worked excellent for me but (because I used an older version that did not have incremental backups) resulted in very big storage eaten by the backups

    - I did back up only the OS partition of my PCs, and every couple of months (anywhere from 1 to 6) I did the following: restore the previous backup, bring the system(s) up to date (OS patches and eventually new application I may have installed), create a new backup. This approached saved me a couple of times when applications I installed on my computers would cause problems that would be discovered only days or weeks after the install, because (of course) I'm not trying to run all the programs on my PCs every time I install a new piece of software

    - I even have an OS image the way it was right after being freshly installed, with nothing else but the security updates applied (so no Java, no .NET, no IE 7.0, ...). There are some hours that I spent to get that OS up and running (in the "find the stable drivers" section, but not only) and because I like to experiment with settings I may use that image once in a while (to see how fast a "blank" OS is Smile, or to just start setting up my PC in a different way, but without wasting time on the core setup)

    - I changed the OS drive a couple of times already, and restoring the image was an excellent way to get the migration done in an insignificant amount of time (2 hours? I don't even remember, other than it was extremely smooth). Compare that with reinstalling the OS and apps, doing all the settings, ...

    - even now I'm running the same OS that I installed ~ 3 years ago; I had to restore the image a couple of times, after clogging it with too many things (now don't image that I install all the apps that I can find; an average for the number or new apps I install in a month is probably around 1; but in a year that's still a lot of apps that can conflict with each other, and you may not know which caused your system to be so slow until it's too late (i.e. you already have the thing installed and the uninstall is not always as clean as they say)

     

    Now all of that is done using Ghost. I like WHS so far, except for the aspect that I can lose any of my backups. Since space is not an issue for my scenario (my backups amount to 46 GB, while my data in shared folders is > 500 GB), I really think this feature (or a work around until it's available) would help a lot of the more techical guys to decide in favor of WHS for their OS backup solution (instead of Symantec Ghost, Acronis TrueImage, ...).

     

    Kind regards,

      Justics

    Tuesday, December 18, 2007 7:51 AM
  • @justics,

     

    I'm also ghosting sys drives to avoid lengthy reinstalls,however WHS is much much easier to maintain. I already useed once to restore one of my house PC's which was messed up by my kids, and it worked flawlessly.

     

    Next to that I keep off-site backups of essential data on tape, and I would advise anyone to keep off-site copies of essential files, either on tape, external hdd, or some online data storage solution.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 3:28 AM
    Moderator
  • Yes, that's my experience as well: WHS is great; I tried a couple of restores already, for test, and everything worked as expected. I just added a third drive to my server, and I'm planning to move all pictures to WHS.

     

    My only concern is that now, with 3 drives, a failure of any of them could kill all or many of the backups, so basically I should just find another way for backing up the sys partitions. Most likely I'll continue doing the WHS backups, since they take so little space, and are so easy to do Wink But I won't rely on them, which means I'll revert to my old friend, Ghost.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 8:14 AM
  •  Justics wrote:
    Yes, that's my experience as well: WHS is great; I tried a couple of restores already, for test, and everything worked as expected. I just added a third drive to my server, and I'm planning to move all pictures to WHS.

     

    My only concern is that now, with 3 drives, a failure of any of them could kill all or many of the backups, so basically I should just find another way for backing up the sys partitions.

     

    Other than perhaps keeping a "clean OS install" backup (so you always have a fresh client PC starting point), I don't see what the problem is.  If the drive in the server that is hosting your client backups fails, you just replace the drive and create a new set of backups from your clients.

     

     Justics wrote:
    Most likely I'll continue doing the WHS backups, since they take so little space, and are so easy to do  But I won't rely on them, which means I'll revert to my old friend, Ghost.

    Thursday, December 20, 2007 2:03 AM
    Moderator
  •  

    @kariya21

     

    There are 2 problems here: a failure of any of the hard drives apparently makes the backup service be unavailalble, so I first need to take care of that failure before doing any restore. Then, if it happens that I lost the most recent OS backup, I cannot just create new backups from my PCs, since those OSes would not be "clean" at that moment (see my previous posts to see what I mean by that).

     

     

    Thursday, January 3, 2008 8:20 AM
  •  Justics wrote:
    @kariya21

     

    There are 2 problems here: a failure of any of the hard drives apparently makes the backup service be unavailalble, so I first need to take care of that failure before doing any restore. Then, if it happens that I lost the most recent OS backup, I cannot just create new backups from my PCs, since those OSes would not be "clean" at that moment (see my previous posts to see what I mean by that).

     

    I assume you mean the reinstall/update OS routine?  If so, yes, I can see a benefit in keeping those backups.  In that case, you can hook up an external drive and copy the backup database to it.  The Backup Technical Brief here gives details as to how to backup the backups.

    Friday, January 4, 2008 6:21 AM
    Moderator