Managing and Accessing Windows Server Backup Media

Microsoft has completely changed the way backups and backup media are managed with the release of Windows Server 2008. In previous editions of Windows Server versions, the NT Backup utility could back up the entire system or just a set of folders and files. The backup could be stored on tapes or they could be stored in a single .bkf file that is saved on a local disk or on a network shared folder. Starting with Windows Server Backup for Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista, backups can be taken of only the entire system or volumes but not of granular folders or files. With Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server Backup supports backing up individual files and folders, and exclusions can be added to backup jobs as well. Windows Server Backup can store backups on dedicated locally attached disks on a DVD disk or a set of disks, or the backup can be stored on a network shared folder.

Windows Server Backup can be configured to run a scheduled backup or a manual backup. Either can be run from the graphical user interface or the command-line utility, but the backup options, including where the backup can be stored and the recovery options available, are different.


Windows Server Backup Managed Disks
Windows Server Backup can be used to run a manual backup or it can be used to run a scheduled backup. Scheduled backups can be stored on locally attached disks that are dedicated to Windows Server Backup, a folder on a local volume, or a network shared folder. When a scheduled Windows Server Backup job is created, the administrator can define which locally attached disks, folder, or network share will be used to store the backups. During the creation of the scheduled job, if dedicated disks are selected, which is recommended, the allocated disks will each be repartitioned and reformatted. Windows Server Backup will stamp the disk volume to match the time and date the scheduled job is created. By default, this disk will only be available on the local system through the Windows Server Backup program.

A Windows Server Backup disk can have a drive letter added after the initial backup is created if the disk needs to be accessed from within the operating system, from across the network, or if the backup data needs to be copied to additional disks or network folders for offsite storage. Although adding a drive letter to a dedicated Windows Server Backup disk is not recommended, it might be the only way or the most efficient way to make the backup media available to an alternate system if the disk cannot be locally attached to the alternate system. Getting access to this backup data, however, might prove to be challenging from Windows Explorer and might need to be accessed through Windows Server Backup. Backups contained on a Windows Server Backup dedicated disk can be used to restore an entire system, an entire volume, or a set of specified files and folders.


DVD Media
When Windows Server 2008 R2 systems have a local DVD writer drive, which is highly recommended, backups of Windows volumes and the complete system can be stored on DVD media. Backups stored on DVD media will span several DVDs and can be used when data needs to be restored to offsite servers or systems in an isolated network. Backups stored on DVD media can only be used to restore the entire Windows system or entire volumes. Selective restore of files and folders cannot be performed using DVD backup media.


Network Shared Folders
When Windows Server Backup is configured to back up to a network shared folder, backup administrators need to consider a few things. First, the share and NTFS permissions should be configured so that only backup administrators and specific service accounts can access and read this data. Also, if this share contains data that will be replicated by a third-party provider, special permissions might need to be added to support this. Another very important point to note about network shared folders for Windows Server Backup is that only the most recent copy of the backup will be stored there because each backup overwrites the previous. This is unlike backup to dedicated disks, which can store multiple versions and copies of a Windows Server 2008 R2 system backup.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

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