Here at BackupAssist, our developers are dedicated to always staying current with evolving technology. That’s how we ensure your peace of mind that the systems and data you depend on are properly protected. A great example of this will be apparent to customers using a NAS device with our Offsite Backups add-on (formerly Rsync for BackupAssist), who will benefit from the latest update to our software, which adapts to the recent release of OpenSSH 7.0 with greatly improved encryption standards. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Developer’ Category
In this new video presentation BackupAssist’s Senior Developer Jason Schultz runs through the new features in BackupAssist v6.4.0 and gives an overview on iSCSI as a backup destination, Disaster Recovery and performing a recovery with RecoverAssist.
The Benefits of iSCSI
Working with iSCSI
iSCSI and BackupAssist
Disaster Recover from iSCSI? YES!
On Tuesday, I think we performed a world’s first operation on our test environments… a bare metal restore from a backup on iSCSI target, from the Windows Recovery Environment.
The problem is that the WinRE (that you get by booting off the Windows installation DVD on Windows Vista and onwards) does not include the iSCSI Initiator. However, we have been experimenting with our own recovery environment that does include the iSCSI Initiator… and we managed to get it to work! Needless to say, we had a small crowd around our test machine when I “clicked the button” to start the restore… we held our breaths (for around 10 minutes) while the restore took place, and there were high fives when the machine booted back up again.
This feature is still in “proof of concept” stage, so it’s many months away from being included in the main BackupAssist release. However, I thought I’d blog about it, because I’m pretty confident that this is the first time anyone has done a bare metal restore from the Windows RE from an iSCSI target. And it could unlock a new way of performing backups and recoveries.
Dear BackupAssist customers,
To prepare for the launch of BackupAssist version 6, our website will be unavailable for 7 hours in the time zones below:
- (US EST) 8th September 2010 from 8:00pm-3:00am
- (AUS EST) 9th September 2010 from 10:00am-5:00pm
- (GMT) 9th September 2010 from 12:00am-7:00am
Please accept our apologies for this inconvenience. We appreciate your understanding.
If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Team at BackupAssist
How do you upgrade a BackupAssist installation? Well, up until now, the answer has been: manually.
But one of our Aussie helpdesk team, Aaron, has done a great job in writing a VB script that will download the latest BackupAssist installation to a temp directory, uninstall the old version and install the new version – thereby performing an automated upgrade.
We’ve tested this on a variety of machines – SBS 2003, Vista, XP, Server 2008, and SBS 2008 – and it has worked for us. Now it’s time to turn it over to the community and get some feedback on this.
To run the script – save the text below to a vbs file – say BAUpgrader.vbs – and then run it from the command prompt:
Make sure you’re running the command prompt as the Administrator user, with elevated rights if you have UAC turned on.
If you have any feedback, please post a comment below. We have not yet tested it with management software like Kaseya – but if you’d like to give it a go (in a non-production environment!) please feel free.
Also note that this is a BETA script, so the usual disclaimers apply.
—- BEGIN SCRIPT BELOW – FOR ALL INSTALLATIONS APART FROM SERVER CORE AND HYPER-V SERVER —-
—- Note: this script is subject the same EULA as BackupAssist —-
sTarget = “C:\temp”
Set objFSO = CreateObject(“Scripting.FileSystemObject”)
If Not objFSO.FolderExists(sTarget) Then
strFileURL = “http://www.backupassist.com/downloads/releases/latest/BackupAssistV5.msi”
strHDLocation = “c:\temp\BackupAssistV5.msi”
Set objXMLHTTP = CreateObject(“MSXML2.XMLHTTP”)
objXMLHTTP.open “GET”, strFileURL, false
If objXMLHTTP.Status = 200 Then
WScript.StdOut.Write “Downloading the latest version of BackupAssist…” & VbCrLf & VbCrLf
Set objADOStream = CreateObject(“ADODB.Stream”)
objADOStream.Type = 1 ‘adTypeBinary
objADOStream.Position = 0
Set objFSO = Createobject(“Scripting.FileSystemObject”)
If objFSO.Fileexists(strHDLocation) Then objFSO.DeleteFile strHDLocation
Set objFSO = Nothing
WScript.StdOut.Write “Download complete” & VbCrLf & VbCrLf
Set objADOStream = Nothing
Set installer = CreateObject(“WindowsInstaller.Installer”)
strTempProdCode = “”
For Each strProductCode In installer.Products
If installer.ProductInfo(strProductCode, “InstalledProductName”) = “BackupAssist v5” Then
strTempProdCode = strProductCode
set fso = Wscript.CreateObject(“Scripting.FileSystemObject”)
If Not strTempProdCode = “” Then
If fso.FileExists(“C:\Temp\BackupAssistV5.msi”) Then
strTemp = strTempProdCode & ” /passive”
Set objShell = CreateObject(“WScript.Shell”)
objShell.Run “%comspec% /c msiexec /x ” & strTemp _
& “& msiexec /package c:\temp\BackupAssistV5.msi /passive”
WScript.StdOut.Write”Automated update was successful”
Else WScript.StdOut.Write”The BackupAssist update did not download. The automated update was unsuccessful”
WScript.StdOut.Write “BackupAssist is not currently installed on this machine!”& VbCrLf &”Automatic updating not available!” & VbCrLf & VbCrLf
A new feature in version 5.2.5 of BackupAssist is support for backing up to an Amazon S3 bucket via the service provided by s3rsync.com.
To set this up you will need
In your Amazon Web Services account, you will need to obtain your Access Key ID and generate a Secret Access Key. Then you will need to create an S3 bucket to use for your backups. See http://www.labnol.org/internet/tools/amazon-s3-simple-storage-service-guide/3889/ for a good introduction to these topics.
When you sign up for an s3rsync.com account, you will be provided with a username and a private SSH key file. You will need to save the SSH key file somewhere on the machine on which you wish to run BackupAssist.
Once you have performed these preliminary steps, you are ready to set up your job in BackupAssist.
Create a new Rsync job and choose S3Rsync as the destination. If you want your job to run automatically each day, select the Mirror scheme. Next you will be presented with the S3Rsync server settings screen:
- Rsync Server: this should be farm.s3rsync.com (the default setting) unless you have been advised otherwise by s3rsync.com
- Port: this should be 22
- Path on server: you can leave this blank unless you want to set up multiple backup jobs using the same bucket (not recommended)
- S3rsync username: your username supplied by s3rsync.com (note: this is different to your Amazon username)
- S3 bucket: the name of the S3 bucket you created
- S3 id: your S3 Access Key ID
- S3 key: your S3 Secret Access Key
- Ssh key path: the location of the saved SSH key file provided by S3rsync.com
Once you have entered these details, click Next to select which files you want to back up and then complete the job setup.
Questions that we often get asked:
- How much faster is eSATA over USB?
- Are 3.5″ drives faster than 2.5″ drives for backup?
- How to RDX drives compare to normal 2.5″ USB drives?
- How do tape drives compare to HDDs in backup speed?
- Is there much difference between drive imaging and file backup?
We simply couldn’t find the answers on the Internet without reading vendors’ shameless marketing propaganda! What we needed was an objective test with real results.
So we spent countless hours testing a range of different devices to answer these questions, and more! Find out the results by downloading one of the following PDFs:
Cheat sheet format – one page summary for busy professionals, including basic recommendations for success.
White paper format – get the full details of all tests, including details on the testing methodology, exact details of all hardware and software used, and a comprehensive discussion on findings and recommendations.
Here’s a rough guide to backing up Hyper-V guests (partitions) from the host (root) machine using the drive imaging method in BackupAssist.
- Activate the Hyper-V VSS writer for Windows Server Backup by clicking the checkbox as shown below.
- Make sure each guest machine has the Backup integration service selected. Start the Hyper-V manager console, and right click on each guest machine and select “Settings”. Then make sure the checkbox shown below is turned on.
- Turn on Shadow Copies on each of your source volumes. As explained in Getting Hyper-V Backups to run fast, this will greatly enhance the speed of your backups.
We’re currently writing a white paper on Hyper-V backups, which will include performance benchmarking, recommended best practices and restore procedures. However, this will probably take another month or so… so that’s why I’ve blogged about the 3 steps above so everyone can get started in the meantime.
Just to keep you updated with progress – we’re making good headway on our Tape Drive backup engine for Server 2008. It’ll be a partial replacement for NTBackup, primarily targeted at Server 2008 users, but also useful for past operating systems.
Features that we’re adding in include AES256 encryption and Zip-style compression. Both these features were not available in NTBackup.
Currently we’re doing speed testing to make sure that the backup speed is only limited by the speed of the tape drive. We’re finding that encryption can be done in real-time, but compression is adding significant overhead, and we’re working on improving that.
Our tape drive engine will be capable of backing up local files, folders and VSS aware applications, such as Exchange 2007, Hyper-V guests, and so on. It will also be able to backup network shares.
We’re still targeting a July beta release date, and things are progressing quite well.
Thanks for your patience on this… we’re effectively replacing NTBackup here, which has been developed over more than 10 years, and we’re attempting it in 6 months! I’ll keep everyone posted on progress.
As stated in a previous blog post, Hyper-V Backup Solution, I stated that the time taken for subsequent backups was comparable to the initial backup.
Well, I think I have found a solution to get it to do the fast differential backups that transfer only changed blocks to the backup device!
On your server, run Windows Explorer, and for each volume that you’ll be backing up, right click on the volume and select “Configure shadow copies”, and click “Enable”. If you do this for each volume, this turns on automatic shadow copy creation. This also seems to have the effect of enabling persistent shadow copies, which enables Windows Server Backup to perform the fast differentials.
On our test server, where we have approx. 232GB of data on our Server 2008 / Hyper-V Role machine, backups were taking around 57 minutes before the change (see below). However, after the change, the backup time was slashed to around 3 minutes!
Before making the shadow copy configuration change: 57 minute backups.
After making the shadow copy configuration change: 3 minute backups.
We’re going to continue testing to establish exactly what was causing the slowdown in the first place, as it seems to be specific to Hyper-V. But in the meantime, everyone can now enjoy fast differential backups of Hyper-V servers!