As our virtual infrastructure keeps growing with more virtual servers I've noticed that our backup job (both weekly and daily) has grown to the point where I have no maintenance window left to patch servers before people arrive to work. We do backups to a tape library with LTO3, wich seems to perform pretty spiffy when doing sequential writes.

Investigating the backup log concludes that the System State backup on each server (mostly Windows 2008) is taking a tremendous amount of time per server (~45 minutes).

I was using a split backup configuration with full backup on weekends (starting friday afternoon) and differential on weekdays (mon-thu). Tried changing it to incremental, but it did not reduce the backup time window - so I guess system state is a full backup no matter what you do.

The question now is what I'm going to do to counter this.

  • Should I cut down system state backups to all servers on weekends, 1 domain controller daily?
  • Backup Exec 2010 has a new de-duplication option when doing backup-to-disk. Will this help at all when doing system state?
  • This is a VMWare vSphere infrastructure. Should I start looking at snapshot products instead of using system state backup?
  • We have Trend Micro antivirus installed on all servers. Should I uninstall it, or configure it so it does not affect the backup?
  • I just found out that there are known problems with Trend Micro antivirus products and Backup Exec (specifically the OfficeScan Unathorized Change service), I need to figure out how to disable this on my servers. – pauska Feb 17 '10 at 16:16

This question will have probably have multiple "right" answers but my opinions are below...

  1. I do system state backups on a weekly basis and incremental backups daily. If a server fails on say Thursday, I would restore from the weekly backup and then restore each daily incremental. The incremental backups are considerably quicker than the full system state backups.

  2. De-dupe will certainly help with the disk space consumed for backups especially if all your system states have similar data (for example, the same OS). The speed of the backup may or may not improve. There are a lot of de-dupe modes. Bit level, block level, source based, destination based. All these factors will impact the performance of de-dupe.

  3. Virtualization offers an attractive alternative to traditional backup strategies. VCB, vDR, and other third party vendors offer products that can perform hot backups using snapshot and VSS technology that often have little or no impact on guest availability.


  • 1
    Well, this didn't answer my question per-say, but I'm granting you the points nonetheless. My solution was to upgrade to BE 2010, wich somehow magically speeded up system state snapshots. – pauska Mar 19 '10 at 15:00

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