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I want to use the new block level incremental imaging capabilities of Server 2008 for my primary backup. Specifically, I'm backing up Hyper-V R2 and guests from the host. Thus my backups mostly consist of large VHD files from the guest systems.

What I like about imaging is that I can keep a long history of backups without using a lot of disk space. File replication techniques using SIS are less ideal because the bulk of my backups are large VHD files.

So anyway, I've got backups using imaging working fine. What I want to do now is have multiple copies of my backups; one to direct attached storage, one to an iSCSI target, and one to removable media.

It is my understanding that windows imaging backups are not "copyable". I believe this means that I can't copy backup history, and if I copy the backup files from the destination device to another device, I may not be able to restore (easily) from the copy.

Is there a way to mirror or replicate these backups so that I can have two or more copies of the backup image, with history, that I can easily restore?

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1 Answer 1

The Windows Backup service does not support replication of backup instances to different media.

However, as far as I know, you should be able to restore a WindowsImageBackup instance from copies of all the files in that folder. I've done it before by copying all image backup files to a removable disk and restoring from the PE. Worst case you may have to do a boot repair of a restored instance.

What I would probably do in your situation is first test the image copy and restore process, then if that works, use a file synchronization program to synchronize the backup files to different mediums on an automated schedule correlating with the regular backups.

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What do you think about backing up the backup using the windows backup service? File sync is no good because it'll require space for each backup, which would severely limit the history I can maintain on each device. –  Boden Jan 21 '10 at 19:51
    
I'm not sure I follow you. The file sync will just make a duplicate copy of the folder that stores your backup/history. The backup/history will be the same size on each medium you put it on. Using the windows backup service to backup the backup is an interesting approach. I assume that would work, but then your restore process will be different across the different mediums (as the secondary backups will require a "double restore"). –  Matias Nino Jan 21 '10 at 20:10
    
It is my understanding that windows backup works at the block level. So if I backup multiple times, only changed blocks are backed up. Browsing the backup destination with explorer will only show one set of backed up files, but if I use the restore console I can choose to restore previous backups. If I just replicate the files on the backup destination to a second destination, the best I can do to save space is single instance store which doesn't help because the files in my backup are very few but very large. –  Boden Jan 21 '10 at 21:38
    
I'm pretty sure the whole history of backups are stored in the image backup folder. Maybe try creating a history of 3 backups, copying the image backup folder and trying to restore from that and see if it lets you restore all possible snapshots. –  Matias Nino Jan 23 '10 at 4:20
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