Windows Server 2008 Image Backup and REV / rdx drives

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Hello all,

This is an important message for users of the rdx and REV drives on Server 2008 and the Image Backup (aka Windows Server Backup).

BackupAssist does support the rdx and REV devices as a destination device. [Note that the built-in Windows Server Backup (and the SBS wizards) does not detect these devices as valid backup destinations.]

This means that using BackupAssist, it is possible to backup to these devices for the purposes of doing a bare-metal full restore, or for restoring complete volumes.

However, the operating system sees these devices as “Removable drives” meaning that it will backup to these devices just like it backs up to a DVD drive – by compressing the VHD file.

It turns out that compressed VHD files cannot be mounted, and therefore you cannot restore individual files and directories, or individual applications, from within the standard Windows Server Backup restore wizard.

This is a limitation at the operating system level. We have not yet found a way to work around this limitation (but we’re trying).

Note: when backing up to USB hard drives, or local hard drives, you can restore individual files and folders and also applications.

So in summary:

When backing up to REV/rdx:
– Compression is on
– Can restore from bare metal
– Can restore entire volumes
– Cannot restore individual files and folders
– Cannot restore applications

When backing up to USB HDD:
– Compression is off
– Can restore from bare metal
– Can restore entire volumes
– Can restore individual files and folders
– Can restore applications

There are two workarounds for this scenario:

1. If you need to restore individual files and directories, use a USB or eSata connected removable hard drive as your backup device.

2. As an alternative strategy, use your REV / rdx drives with the File Replication Engine to backup your file system. You can achieve extremely good results with this method – giving you version history on your files that’s far better than can be achieved with drive imaging. Then have another job that will back up your system using the Windows Imaging Engine and enable you to restore quickly from bare metal.

Read more about how you can do this here: http://www.backupassist.com/SBS/sbspresentation.html

I’ll post more about alternative backup strategies in the near future.

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10 Responses to “Windows Server 2008 Image Backup and REV / rdx drives”

  1. Brian says:

    Can one not create a share on the RDX drive and then use a wbadmin script to perform backups to the RDX or REV? Windows should just see this as a share, and allow individual file restoration, right?

  2. Nathan says:

    This hotfix is available now and allowed us to work with the RDX unit and Server 2008
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/955561

  3. Jack says:

    Only removable USB cartridge disk drive, not SATA.

  4. Ivo says:

    I have applied the RDX KB955561 and rebooted and still “No backup compatible disk drivers were detected”. My disk.sys is had the properties as in the KB article. I am testing on SBS2008.

  5. Alex says:

    Nathan, how did you manage to install the hotfix under Server 2008 (SBS)? When I try I get an error saying that it is not for this OS.

    Thanks, Alex

  6. PS says:

    Nathan – I’m wondering how to apply the hot fix, too. I’m also getting message it’s not for my system and it won’t install.

  7. gary says:

    Hi All found a work round via google. share the drive to you network ,run windows backup (not the sbs backup) when ask for the target drive point it to
    \\servename\rdxsharename backup . you only get a full or bear metal backup , but better then none at all. have not try a restore ,but throght I just copy file to a usb hd if needed and restore.

  8. Jim says:

    Hello,

    I have found that backup works OK to the sata RDX drive, but I cannot get it to restore so it may as well have gone into a black hole. Won’t restore from removable media. Give me my tapes back!!! At least I could trust them.

    Jim

  9. Charles says:

    DO NOT USE THE WORK AROUNDS! I have deployed many SBS systems using the workarounds, but the real issues come down to RESTORATION. Many times you CANNOT RESTORE using the System Image Restore option when necessary, as you CANNOT restore from a Removable Media source…. Guess how RDX drives are treated…? AS REMOVABLE MEDIA!

    Usually you end up with a good backup, but you cannot restore your system. I have had to end up using a bootable pre-installation enviroment, connecting a USB hard disk drive, then transferring the files from the RDX drive (WindowsImageBackup folder) to the external hard disk drive, then reboot again into the Recover Enviroment, then run the restore from the USB hard disk… This basically creates additional steps, takes longer, and defeats the purpose of the RDX drive all together.

  10. […] have looked into this and it is not possible to restore backups from RDX drives using that method. Windows Server 2008 Image Backup and REV / rdx drives | BackupAssist: The Windows Backup Software "However, the operating system sees these devices as “Removable drives” meaning […]

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