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We're having quite some trouble at work using Windows Server Backup.

We have a HyperV server (Win 2008) running 8 virtual web servers, these are running a variety of OS'es: Win 2003, Win 2008 and a lone Debian.

Each virtual server has a separate partition on the physical HyperV server, so e.g. E: is virtual server #1, F: is #2 and so forth.

For backup we use Windows Server Backup, or more exactly we use the commandline tool: wbadmin.exe

We need to make the backups without stopping the virtual servers, as we cannot afford the downtime (we've got users online both day and night), and Windows Server Backup offers to use the shadow copy provider to archive this.

We run wbadmin like this:

wbadmin start backup -backuptarget:\\remotebackuplocation\somefolder -include:E: -quiet

We run it once per partition, because we've got a script wrapped around that command, for sending us an email about how it went.

Each time we run wbadmin it'll delete the Backup xxxx folder it created in last backup, and just create a new. In order to prevent this from happening, we rename the backup xxx folder after each backup is run, before starting the next one.

I realize we must rename it back to its original name prior to recovering, and we obviously do this.

Now the issue is as follows:

Even though we have all the backed up files, and rename whichever backup we want to use, to its original name, we can only see the latest backup in the Windows Server Backup GUI when we select "Recover".

This means we can only recover the last partition we backup up, so e.g. E: can never be recovered.

In other words we're screwed :-(

My question is: Does anyone know how to use Windows Server Backup for a scenario like this ? Or is it simply not possible due to the simplicity of Windows Server Backup ?

If it's not possible, could you recommend some backup software for this purpose ? We've already looked at MS' System Center Data Protection Manager, however it's quite expensive and the boss doesn't like that :-/

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2 Answers 2

I do something similar, except instead of renaming the folder afterwards, I create a new folder before doing the backup, like this:

cmd /c mkdir \\remotebackuplocation\somefolder\%DATE% //(%DATE% will obviously not work well if you have slashes in your date string, but that's easily fixed with some character replacing)
cmd /c wbadmin start backup -backupTarget:\\remotebackuplocation\somefolder\%DATE% -include:C: -vssFull -quiet

You can list all your backups with this command

wbadmin get versions

Then this command to restore

wbadmin start recovery -version:<version-identifier>

wbadmin command reference

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Are you wanting to recover file/folder or do a volume recovery? For volume recovery you could look at wbadmin based approach.

The one copy per remote share is a real pain. FWIW, I got a copy of Windows Storage Server via technet and use it to present iSCSI drives that appear on the client as local disks. You get all the backup tools from Windows Backup, on remote storage - the OS has no idea they're not real attached storage.

As for cheap... what's your budget, or more to the point, what's the impact if it all goes wrong? $2k for piece of mind isn't all that much...

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I actually found a solution - the VHD wbadmin creates can be mounted like any other VHD, and inside it I have the necessary files, which can then be "manually" restored. So for now we'll accept this limitation. And yea $2k isn't all that much, the price I saw on MS DPM was more like $20k. –  Steffen Feb 3 '10 at 12:09
DPM is orientated towards quite large setups. Most of the backup vendors- BackupAssist, Acronis, Symantec etc all have Hyper-V aware backup products. If it's a single host with multiple guests, the cost should be more like the 2k (or get yourself a Technet Direct subscrption for a few hundred $$ and try that) –  Simon Devlin Feb 6 '10 at 18:49

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