A disgruntled employee hears they’re being fired, or they’re leaving on bad terms. In an act of spite, they delete all their inbox before going out the door.

You’ve fully virtualized the company server, and an employee comes up and asks you for the old version of one of their word docs from a few weeks ago. They accidentally overwrote the old version with a blank one, and they need it back before their afternoon meeting.

You’re an IT service provider and you’ve got a phone call from a customer. Apparently, they accidentally deleted an important email—and it’s not in the trash.

In the past, these scenarios would have involved restoring a whole backup, and then performing an arduous and time consuming search for certain emails, files, or folders. These days, a granular restore makes things much easier.

What is a Granular Restore?

A granular restore is restoring individual items from within a file you’ve backed up, such as image and database files. E.g. VHD and EDB.  It’s like being able to single out one grain of sand from a whole beach (Hence the term ‘Granular’).

Granular restores are are particularly handy for getting individual email items (emails, attachments, calander and contact data) or anything from within a Hyper-V guest (Files, folders, apps, etc). This is in contrast to having to mount a guest and search inside it manually, or the restoring a whole Exchange database.

Granular restores are also very useful when it comes to Microsoft SQL, where you might want to restore individual databases instead of your whole SQL database.

Why it’s Worth Doing

As an MSP, there’s an obvious reason to being able to granularly restore data—it adds considerably to your value. You can offer this service to your customers, either charging for this or simply bundling it with your current offering. Either way, it means you can offer additional services to customers.

As a SysAdmin, the benefits are extremely easy to explain to management. Usually, this is an uphill battle where you’ve got to explain why you need something (that they don’t comprehend) would need money (something they do comprehend). But with granular recoveries, the benefits are obvious – it’s a massive time-saver for both you and other employees, which means it’s a money-saver.

Across the board, it saves a ton of time. A granular restore is a life-saver when someone is on a deadline. Not only does it cut down on data recovery time, it cuts down on the time it takes to search for individual items.

Products that Offer Granular Restore

BackupAssist is a backup and DR solution which offers granular restore for Microsoft Hyper-V, Exchange and SQL. It also offers file and image-level backups, among other things (Read more).

Posted by Adam Ipsen

Leave a Reply