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I've almost no experience with SBS 2008, so please excuse my noob question!

SBS 2008 only has the most basic backup utility built in as far as I can tell (similar to Vista), and it will only back up to physical volumes. I've read that you can set up a batch task to backup to a network volume, but right now I just need to get something deployed ASAP.

We have an iSCSI target with plenty of free space. Is it worth backing up to an iSCSI target? Or am I wasting my time? If I need to do a recovery from the iSCSI disk, how would I go about it?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You should be able to run backups to the iSCSI volume, so long as you're not trying to backup a volune on the iSCSI to itself (i.e. have a separate backup volume and you'll be fine).

To restore, you'll use the Windows "Recovery Environment", just like you would from any other Windows Backup-based restore. I'm not finding docs on attaching to an iSCSI target with the Windows Recovery Environment, so I'd recommend researching that in more depth before you start relying on such a backup.

Here's a "step by step" guide from Microsoft re: Windows Backup on Server 2008: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc770266(WS.10).aspx

Some articles on Windows RE: - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc749147(WS.10).aspx - http://blogs.msdn.com/winre/

Not having an iSCSI storage close at hand right now, I'm not able to do any testing for you. I'd expect that getting the iSCSI initiator to connect to a target from WindowsRE won't be too difficult, but it'll probably be somewhat off the beaten path.

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Thanks. I don't mind "off the beaten path", just as long as it can be done! –  Mark Henderson Jun 25 '09 at 1:18
    
Hmm some interesting readings... I'm setting up a VM to see if I can use any of the command-line options for iSCSI from the recovery console –  Mark Henderson Jun 25 '09 at 1:29
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Ok, looks like you can create a WinRE ISO and add the iSCSI command-line initiator to it using those articles, and this one: codeguru.com/csharp/.net/net_general/toolsand3rdparty/print.php/… –  Mark Henderson Jun 25 '09 at 1:42
    
You're right. the backup TO the iSCSI target would work just fine. iSCSI targets just show up as normal volumes to Windows. The million dollar question would be around recovering... I also don't know how you would connect to an iSCSI target from WinRE. –  Sean Earp Jun 25 '09 at 1:42

a late answer, but in case anyone else is looking: Just connect to the ISCSI drive from another server, share the drive, and then recover from a network share in WinRE.

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try this to add iSCSI to a WinPE 3 image: http://gstrike.blogspot.com/2010/01/winpe-v30-and-microsoft-iscsi-initiator.html

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Oh wow, that's fantastic! I'll give it a go this weekend and see what's what. Thanks!! –  Mark Henderson May 14 '10 at 22:43

I'm fairly certain you'd be able to get to an ISCSI target to recover from, but you might have to add drivers to the winRE boot media. More concerning is that I think you want to backup SBS with just one backup. This is insufficient of you need to recover a components data without destroying other components data that has been put on since the time of teh last backup. You need a server backup as well as application level backups for the applications (exchange, sharepoint,sql) etc. (note that SBS 2008 is the only windows 2008 edition with native exchange backup capability)

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ATM the server has NO backups, this is just a rush job before I set up something more effective, like you mention. –  Mark Henderson Jun 25 '09 at 20:16

In my experience, the basic backup utility is the most effectivy & can back up to network volumes if they are setup as shares. Let me explain why...

The backup utility built into Microsoft Windows Servers writes events to the system logs. It records an event when it starts, it records an event when it finishes, it records an event when it starts to verify & it also records an event when verification fails or the backup fails. This gives you accountability and a record. It also works with the replication of critical domain features and if you are familiar with the logging, you will see events like 'have not been backed up in 90 days'. Using the 'basic' backup utility will get rid of these events also so you know, and according to microsoft you are doing your job.

It can also be run as a scheduled task and will write to the logs when the scheduled task fails.

Also, on ALL Microsoft workstations there is a default administrative share to the drives on all hosts. Such as the C: drive! \Hostname\C$\ or \Hostname\D$.

The only thing you need to decide on is a push or a pull? Are you going to perform the pull on the host with the iSCSI disks? Or are you going to push from the host with all your storage to your host with the iSCSI disks?

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It will be a push. It needs to be set up asap and I think a pull will take a long time to configure! –  Mark Henderson Jun 25 '09 at 1:19
    
?!?!? What do event log entries have to do with configuring VSS block-level backups to an ISCSI target? While it is certainly true that Windows based computers (and servers) have administrative shares by default, much of the functionality of Small Business Server (Exchange, SQL Server, Active Directory) requires transactionally consistent database backups. Pulling all data from an administrative share to an iSCSI target will leave you with very little (other than user profiles and file shares) that could be restored in the event of a failure. –  Sean Earp Jun 25 '09 at 1:38
    
I'm not specifying to pull all data from an adminsitrative share, that is simply there so you don't have to create specific shares to be published for everyone to see on a high volume network just to have a directory for your backup plus going thru the task of securing them. Of course you only backup the data your want and you can navigate anywhere inthose administrative shares. –  Jason B Shrout Jun 25 '09 at 1:49
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Logging is used in every well managed network to verify your work has been done, and complete. It would be completely worthless if there was no way to verify whether or not your backups have been complete and or if they are successful. –  Jason B Shrout Jun 25 '09 at 1:51

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