Documentation articles for eazyBackup

Seed Load Backup Walkthrough

Seed Load Walkthrough

This is a walkthrough of our Seed Load process. Using this method it is possible to perform your initial backup to a local external drive and then courier this to the  server administrator.

Open the eazyBackup application, select the “Accounts” menu and click “Add Storage Vault”

Add storage vault

We are going to create a new “Local Path” Storage Vault. Give the storage vault location a friendly name.

add-storage-step-2

On the storage tab we are going to select Local Path from the device storage drop down menu.

Click Browse and select the device you are going to use to store the backup data.

add-storage-step-3

Now that we have our new storage vault setup we can create a new Protected Item for the seed load backup. select the “Backup” menu and click “Add Protected Item”

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Give your Protected Item a friendly name, something to identify what you are backing up.

 

new-protected-item

At this point we do not want to create a schedule to run the Protected Item. The schedule can be configured at a later date after the seed load backup has been added to your account.

 

backup-interface_NKeSHXFALE

When you are ready to start this backup job you will prompted to select the storage vault you would like to backup to. Select your local storage vault as the destination.

backup-interface_SPVhYPfVrd

Now we have successfully backed up the data to the seed load device and the next step is to contact eazyBackup for shipping instructions.

eazyBackup Chunking Overview

eazyBackup Chunking Overview

Overview

At the core of eazyBackup is our technology that allows us to back-up and restore faster than the competition: this is called “Chunking”.

Backing up

We back up data by first splitting it into variable-sized chunks, which are individually compressed, encrypted, and uploaded. eazyBackup uses data-dependent chunking, efficiently splitting a file into consistent chunks even in the face of random inserts.

Further incremental back-up jobs simply realize that chunks already exist on the server and do not need to be re-uploaded.

Restoring

When it comes to restoring, eazyBackup is just as fast. eazyBackup directly downloads only the chunks it needs for the file and requires no additional space other than the size of the file and has no CPU intensive merging processes.

Application-Aware Writer Backups

“Application-Aware Writer” Backups

VSS is a technology for taking a consistent point-in-time snapshot of a disk volume. A VSS Writer is an extra software plugin that detects when this action is taking place and ensures that application-specific files are in a safe state on disk. eazyBackup’s “Application-Aware Writer” feature allows you to invoke a single VSS Writer, or a sub-component of a single VSS Writer, and back up only the files that it was protecting.

This is also an important third-party integration point for application vendors. If your third-party application includes a VSS Writer, you can use this Protected Item type to back it up using eazyBackup.

Some products that can be backed up with this Protected Item type are:

  • Oracle DB;
  • MailStore Server;
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM;
  • Microsoft Sharepoint;
  • Pervasive PSQL;
  • other products natively supported by eazyBackup, including Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Microsoft SQL Server;
  • and other products.

NOTE: This Protected Item type is intended for integration with specific custom applications. If you want to back up normal files with a VSS snapshot, use the “Files and Folders” Protected Item type with the “take filesystem snapshot” option enabled.

Selecting components

In eazyBackup, click the Edit button (pencil icon) to browse the available VSS Writers installed on your device.

You can select the top-most checkbox to include all components within the VSS Writer, or you can select individual components within the VSS Writer. For instance, the Microsoft SQL Server VSS Writer allows you to select individual databases for backup.

The VSS Writer itself may mark some components as non-selectable. This is shown in eazyBackup as a grey subcomponent without a checkbox.

VSS Mode

You can perform the operation in “VSS Full”, “VSS Copy”, “VSS Incremental”, or “VSS Differential” modes. If a specific VSS Writer does not support the selected backup mode, it will perform the backup in “Full” mode.

The actual behaviour of these modes is specific to each VSS Writer. For more information, consult the documentation for your VSS Writer.

Backing up Oracle Database

eazyBackup can back up the contents of any installed VSS Writer using the “Application Aware Writer” option. Oracle Database officially supports backup via its installed VSS Writer.

You may need to install the Oracle VSS Writer separately. It is available with Oracle Database 11g and later (including 12c and 18c); newer versions of the Oracle VSS Writer can be installed separately to back up a 10g or 9i database.

You should use the “Application Aware Writer” option and select the Oracle VSS Writer – ORCL component. Inside this option, you can select individual tablespaces for backup, or select the entire component.

The Oracle VSS Writer reads the database with SYSDBA privileges.

The Oracle VSS Writer supports log, copy, full, differential, and incremental backups:

  • if you take “full” or “copy” backups at the VSS component, eazyBackup will deduplicate them together, producing its own incremental backups
  • if you take “incremental” backups at the VSS component, it may be slightly more space-efficient than eazyBackup’s incremental system as Oracle has more specific understanding of the file formats. However, when restoring, you must take care to restore the full backup and all incremental/log backups too, that adds complexity.

More information about the Oracle VSS Writer is available in Oracle’s documentation.

Windows System Backup

“Windows System Backup”

eazyBackup integrates with Windows System Backup to support backing up entire system volumes as .vhd / .vhdx files using the wbadmin technology.

Choose volumes to back up, and/or choose “all critical volumes”.

  • You can choose a volume by its drive letter (e.g. C:), or by a qualified Windows volume reference for volumes without a drive letter (see the output of fsutil volume list).

A local path must be used for spooling temporary data. Spooled temporary data will be removed once the backup job completes. The selected spool path

  • must be a bare root drive, and
  • must not be included as one of the selected volumes, and
  • must appear to Windows as fixed, not removable – regardless of whether it is physically an internal or external drive
    • You can work around this issue for a removable drive by sharing a folder on the drive, and setting its UNC path as the spool directory.

Restoring (Data drive)

Once you restore the .vhd file with eazyBackup, it can be mounted in Windows, or it can be browsed (e.g. in 7-Zip), or it can be attached to a virtual machine, or it can be written out to a physical volume. This will allow you to access and extract individual files and folders within the backup.

Restoring (Bootable Operating System)

If you included the OS drive in the backup, it is possible to restore the OS to a bootable state, provided some additional conditions are met:

The following method of restoring the OS requires that you included the “System Reserved” partition in the backup job; either by manually including the volume, or by choosing “All Critical Volumes” in the volume selection.

If you do not include the “System Reserved” partition in the backup job, the resulting .vhd / .vhdx is a data-only file. In that situation you may need to manually recreate an NTLDR bootloader (using the bootsect and bcdedit commands) before the machine can be booted.

If you are backing up a machine that booted via EFI, you may also need to backup and restore the EFI System Partition (ESP).

Note that Windows OS installations do specialize themselves for the current hardware, and backup images are not automatically pre-prepared for hardware independence. An operating system image may only boot on identical- or highly-similar hardware. This issue originates from the wbadmin “Windows System Backup” technology and is not specific to eazyBackup’s implementation. You may find more information online.

Using Windows Recovery 

Once you restore the .vhd / .vhdx file(s) with eazyBackup, you can boot into either Windows Recovery or the Windows install media, and choose the “System Image Recovery” option.

It may be mandatory to keep the files in the WindowsImageBackup subdirectory on the root drive, in order for the “System Image Recovery” GUI to find the files. “System Image Recovery” is only able to restore a system image if the backup included the “System Reserved” partition.

  • In this dialog, you can click the “Select a system image” option to find the .vhd / .vhdx file, so that Windows can write it back to your physical disk.
  • More information is available online, including a visual walkthrough:
  • Later versions of the Windows install media are able to recover vhd files of older versions of Windows, and may have better driver support. For instance, if you experience problems recovering a .vhd file using the Server 2008 install media, consider trying with install media from a newer version of windows.

Using wbadmin 

You can use the wbadmin start recovery or wbadmin start sysrecovery commands to restore the OS without using the Windows “System Image Recovery” GUI.

Using qemu-img 

The .vhd file can be manually written out to a physical volume using qemu-img (e.g. qemu-img convert -f vpc image.vhd /dev/sda) or any similar tool.

Using the hypervisor 

The .vhd file can be attached to a virtual machine and booted as-is.

Alternative ways of backing up Windows System Backup

Note that because wbadmin is used, spool space is required. It may be preferable to use the “Files and Folders” backup type instead, that does not require spool space. However, backing up a Windows OS installation in this way does not result in a bootable image.

“Windows Server System State” Backup

“Windows Server System State” Backup

eazyBackup integrates with Windows Server System State to support backing up System State .vhd files using the wbadmin technology. This feature is only available on certain versions of Windows Server with the “Server Backup Role” feature enabled.

A Windows Server System State backup may include Active Directory, boot files, the COM+ registration, the system Registry hive, and/or other system files.

A local path must be used for spooling temporary data. Spooled temporary data will be removed once the backup job completes. The selected path

  • must be a bare root drive, and
  • must support VSS, and
  • must have at minimum 10GB free space, and
  • on Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2, must not reside on a “critical” volume
  • must appear to Windows as fixed, not removable – regardless of whether it is physically an internal or external drive
    • You can work around this issue for a removable drive by sharing a folder on the drive, and setting its UNC path as the spool directory.

For more information about Windows Server System State backups, please see

Restoring

Once you restore the .vhd file with eazyBackup, you can use the wbadmin start systemstaterecovery command to apply a System State .vhd backup to an installed copy of Windows Server.

Alternative ways of backing up System State

Note that because wbadmin is used, spool space is required. As an alternative, you can back up System State by using the “Application-Aware Writer” Protected Item type. This produces a similar result, but

  • no spool space is required; and
  • the files are not collected in a .vhd file. This may produce better deduplication at the expense of missing bootloader files.

“MySQL” Backup

“MySQL” Backup

This Protected Item type backs up a MySQL database. It is also compatible with MySQL-compatible servers such as MariaDB and Percona Server. It works at the logical (SQL) level.

No data is spooled to the local disk. As per the “Program Output” type, no progress bar or ETA appears during a MySQL backup.

Databases are backed up one-at-a-time. Point-in-time consistency is only preserved on a per-database basis.

Connection details

Connection details should be supplied before selecting databases. Fill in the fields at the bottom of the dialog window.

Selecting databases

Use the plus button on the right to open a database browser, allowing you to select individual databases for backup. Use the dropdown-plus button to add a custom property.

Custom mysqldump

EazyBackup Backup’s MySQL support works at the logical (SQL) level using mysqldump. A copy of this program must be found on the device in order for the backup job to run.

The mysqldump binary is selected as follows:

  • If a custom path to mysqldump has been set, this binary is used.
  • Otherwise, if there is a version of mysqldump installed (e.g. you are backing up a MySQL server from the server itself), the local version of mysqldump will be used to ensure maximum compatibility.
  • Otherwise, if no copy of mysqldump can be found, the Windows version of EazyBackup Backup bundles a recent mysqldump binary in compliance with its license.
  • If no suitable mysqldump binary is found, the MySQL backup job will fail with an error message Couldn’t find ‘mysqldump’ anywhere. This failure can be detected via the backup job’s status or its log entries.

On Linux, you can install a copy of mysqldump as follows:

Distro Command
Debian, Ubuntu apt-get install mysql-client
CentOS, RHEL yum install mysql

System databases

EazyBackup supports backing up the built-in system databases if desired.

  • The mysql database contains server configuration, including user accounts and grants. It should only be restored to the same major release of MySQL.
  • The information_schema database is a set of read-only views and does not need to be restored.
  • The performance_schema database is a set of aggregated statistics and does not need to be restored.
  • The sys database (in MySQL 5.7.7 and higher) is a set of performance statistics and does not need to be restored. If your version of MySQL does not successfully back up this table, it is safe to exclude it from the EazyBackup Backup settings.

Isolation modes

This feature is available in EazyBackup 19.3.0 and later.

EazyBackup allows you to select the isolation mode used when reading data from MySQL. You should select the most appropriate isolation mode for your MySQL engine type.

The following options are available:

Isolation Mode InnoDB MyISAM Detail
Transaction Consistent Inconsistent Wrap all read access in a single transaction, so that the read data is consistent
Lock tables (default) Consistent, but slow Consistent, but slow Lock access to database before reading it, so that the read data is consistent. This requires that the MySQL user account has been granted the LOCK TABLES permission
None Inconsistent Inconsistent Do not take a transaction and do not lock tables.

 

“Microsoft SQL Server” Backup

“Microsoft SQL Server” Backup

This Protected Item type backs up a Microsoft SQL Server database. The underlying technology is VDI and is compatible with SQL Server 2005 and later, including SQL Server 2016 (the latest version at the time of writing).

No data is spooled to the local disk. As per the “Program Output” type, no progress bar or ETA appears during a Microsoft SQL Server backup.

Databases are backed up one-at-a-time. If you require point-in-time consistency across multiple databases, please use the “Application-Aware Writer” option instead.

Connection details

Connection details should be supplied before selecting databases. EazyBackup will only connect to SQL Server running on the local machine. You must enter the instance name, or leave the field blank to use the default instance.

Address 

The address is always localhost, but EazyBackup does not use TCP addresses or TCP ports to connect to SQL Server instances. EazyBackup uses “Shared Memory” to connect to SQL Server instances.

EazyBackup’s use of “Shared Memory” connection does improves performance for some operations, at the expense of only working on the local machine; but EazyBackup’s use of VDI requires it to run against the local machine anyway.

If you encounter issues connecting to your SQL Server, you must ensure that “Shared Memory protocol” is enabled in SQL Server Configuration Manager.

Driver 

OLE DB and ODBC are data access methods that use pluggable “drivers” / “providers” for connecting to databases like SQL Server. The following drivers for OLE DB / ODBC support SQL Server:

Driver TLS 1.2 Support Notes
MSOLEDBSQL Yes Included with SQL Server 2016 and 2017; Optional download from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=56730
SQLNCLI11 Yes Included with SQL Server 2012 and 2014; Optional download from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=50402
SQLNCLI10 No Included with SQL Server 2008
SQLNCLI No Included with SQL Server 2005
SQLOLEDB No Included with SQL Server (all versions); Included with Windows since XP / Server 2003

EazyBackup has been upgraded over time to support trying additional drivers:

EazyBackup Version Preferred driver Fallback driver(s)
>= 18.9.6, >= 18.8.6 MSOLEDBSQL SQLNCLI11, SQLOLEDB

You can list your installed drivers

Authentication 

EazyBackup allows you to connect to SQL Server using either Windows authentication (running as the backup service account – usually NT SERVICEbackup.delegate or SYSTEM), or native SQL Server authentication.

  • If you are using Windows Authentication, the connection occurs as the backup service account.
    • You can assign this Windows user account to have sysadmin rights within SQL Server.
  • If you are using SQL Server authentication, you must enter a valid username and password to connect to SQL Server.

Impersonation is not currently available for Windows authentication. Future versions of EazyBackup will support impersonation for Windows authentication.

Multiple instances 

EazyBackup supports backing up multiple instances from SQL Server. You can select an instance for backup, by entering the instance name in the “Instance Name” field. Leave this field blank to use the default instance.

EazyBackup Backup automatically lists available instances for selection in the drop-down menu.

A future version of EazyBackup will make the instance dropdown list available for remote administration in EazyBackup Server.

Backup mode

By default, EazyBackup opts to make a full database export from SQL Server, and then uses its own deduplication system to optimise the stored/uploaded data.

This is the “Full (copy only)” option. It is equivalent to the BACKUP WITH COPY_ONLY T-SQL statement.

Because EazyBackup can efficiently deduplicate full image backups, it is normally sufficient to only take full backups of SQL Server in EazyBackup.

Base images 

You have the option to use SQL Server’s own differential/log backup system. This may be more efficient, but it does require additional administrative work, and complicates the process of restoring data.

The SQL Server maintains one single point-in-time reference, from which it can produce differential backups and/or log-based backups. When you take a new “Full (base image)” backup, the point-in-time reference is moved forward, so that any future differential and/or log-based backups are based on the last base-image backup.

To use SQL Server’s own differential/log backup system, you must create multiple Protected Items (each with a different schedule) in order to capture both a base image and a differential/log backups. By creating multiple Protected Items, you can individually schedule, report-on, and manage retention policies for both base and differential/log backups.

If you are using EazyBackup alongside another product for SQL server backups, you should ensure that only one product is taking base-image backups. Otherwise, it’s possible that a chain of differential/log backups would be incomplete.

Prior to EazyBackup 18.3.3, this option was labelled as “differential base image”.

Differential 

EazyBackup can use SQL Server’s own systems for differential backup. In this mode, you can regularly make “differential base” backups, and then a series of small “differential increment” backups, each containing the difference from the last base backup. These operations are equivalent to the BACKUP and BACKUP WITH DIFFERENTIAL T-SQL statements respectively. EazyBackup will still deduplicate multiple base backups that are sent to the same Storage Vault.

This is the “Differential increment” option.

Log 

You can opt to use SQL Server’s own systems for log backup. In this mode, you must periodically take full (base image) backups, and regularly take log backups.

You have the choice of whether to apply log truncation. These operations are equivalent to the BACKUP LOG and BACKUP LOG WITH NO_TRUNCATE T-SQL statements respectively. EazyBackup will still deduplicate all data that is sent to the same Storage Vault.

To use SQL Server’s own log system, you must create multiple Protected Items (each with a different schedule) in order to capture both full and log backups.

This mode requires that the database Recovery Model is set to “Full” or “Bulk Logged” in SQL Server. For more information, please see https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms189275.aspx .

Recommendations 

In general, we would recommend using the default “Full” backup technique.

SQL Server’s native differential/log systems may be used if you experience performance issues with the default mode, however, you must ensure that

  1. No other backup systems are resetting the last base backup;
  2. Whenever the differential/log backs up successfully, that the base has also recently backed up successfully;
  3. Base backups are performed regularly to minimise differential overhead; and
  4. Retention is carefully managed to ensure that recovery is possible

Alternative ways to back up Microsoft SQL Server

You can use the “Application-Aware Writer” type to back up SQL Server using the VSS Writer. Compared to EazyBackup’s standard VDI approach, this option enables more detailed progress information, and can take a consistent point-in-time snapshot of multiple databases at once; but offers more limited control over SQL Server features such as log truncation. The resulting files also must be restored in a different way.

You can use EazyBackup’s “Commands” feature to call osql/sqlcmd to run a T-SQL BACKUP statement against the database, and then back up the resulting spooled file with the “Files and Folders” type. This option requires more temporary disk space than the built-in system above.

You can use the “Files and Folders” type to back up individual database files if the “Take filesystem snapshot” option is selected. However, the “Files and Folders” backup type does not invoke SQL Server’s VSS writer, so this would (at best) produce a “crash-consistent” backup and is not recommended.

“Microsoft Hyper-V” Backup

“Microsoft Hyper-V” Backup

This Protected Item type backs up Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines. The underlying technology is VSS and is compatible with all versions of Hyper-V running on Windows Server, including Windows Server 2016 (the latest version at the time of writing).

This backup type is only applicable when running on Windows Server. Hyper-V on Windows Desktop is not supported by this Protected item type.

eazyBackup integrates with the Hyper-V VSS writer to perform a Hyper-V backup snapshot, including support for in-VM quiescence on supported guest operating systems.

Backing up a Hyper-V virtual machine with eazyBackup includes, but is not limited to:

  • its configuration file
  • all attached virtual drives
  • the contents of memory (if the machine was running)
  • the full tree of saved checkpoints

You can select individual virtual machines for backup, or choose “All virtual machines”.

Consistency and guest additions

The following information applies to all products that perform Hyper-V backup.

When backing up a guest VM, it’s important to get a consistent state of the VM. There are some different ways this happens.

If the guest OS has all necessary Hyper-V integration services installed, then the host can request for the guest VM to take a VSS snapshot. The snapshot is then exposed to Hyper-V on the host for eazyBackup to back up. It shouldn’t interrupt the guest OS. The VM backup is application-consistent. This is known as a “Production checkpoint”.

If the host OS is running Server 2012 R2 or newer, but there are no integration services inside the guest OS, then Hyper-V will take a checkpoint of the VM; eazyBackup will back up the checkpoint; and then the checkpoint will be removed. This kind of checkpoint does not interrupt the guest OS. The VM backup is crash-consistent. This is known as a “Standard checkpoint”.

  • You can also achieve this behaviour by disabling “Production checkpoints” in the Hyper-V settings for the VM.

If the host OS is older than Server 2012 R2, and there are no integration services inside the guest OS, then the VM will be paused; Windows will take a VSS snapshot of Hyper-V’s files in paused state; the VM will be resumed and eazyBackup will back up from the VSS snapshot. It would cause a short interruption to the guest OS. The VM backup is crash-consistent.

  • You can also achieve this behaviour by disabling checkpoints in the Hyper-V settings for the VM.

Replica VM

The following information applies to all products that perform Hyper-V backup.

If you are using Hyper-V replication, you can back up your virtual machines from either the primary or replica host.

A backup taken on the primary VM host is application-consistent (if possible), by quiescing a VSS snapshot inside the VM guest; or crash-consistent otherwise. However, a backup taken on the secondary VM host is only ever crash-consistent, because the replica VM is not running in order for guest integration services to take a VSS snapshot.

Current versions of Hyper-V do not allow backing up a VM that is currently replicating. If a VM is found to be currently replicating at the time of backup, eazyBackup will retry the operation a few times. If you repeatedly see errors of the form The virtual machine ‘…’ cannot start a backup operation because it is currently executing a conflicting operation. Try the backup again., and you are running backups from the replica VM host, you could consider

  • scheduling the backup job to run at a time when it’s more likely that the VM replication is up-to-date; or
  • using Before / After commands in eazyBackup to temporarily stop VM replication while the backup job is running.

For more information about backing up a replica VM, see https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/virtualization/2014/04/24/backup-of-a-replica-vm/

Pass-through disks

The following information applies to all products that perform Hyper-V backup.

Hyper-V supports passthrough disks, to attach a physical disk from the host directly into the guest VM. This unmounts it from the host OS.

Hyper-V itself does not support backing up passthrough disks (nor does it support replicating them). A Hyper-V backup of the guest machines can be taken from the host, but does not include any data from passthrough disks.

You can work around this issue by either

  • installing eazyBackup inside the guest VM, and backing up the extra data at a file level (this will use an extra Device license); or
  • changing your passthrough disks to be a real disk containing a large .vhd or .vhdx file. The “New Virtual Disk Wizard” in Hyper-V Manager has an option to convert an existing disk to a .vhd or .vhdx file.

For more information about backing up passthrough disks in Hyper-V, see https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/virtualization/2009/03/03/working-around-the-pass-through-limitations-of-the-hyper-v-vss-writer/

“Microsoft Exchange Server” Backup

“Microsoft Exchange Server” Backup

This Protected Item type backs up Microsoft Exchange Server databases. The underlying technology is VSS and is compatible with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and later, including Exchange Server 2016 (the latest version at the time of writing).

The appropriate VSS writer must be installed.

As Exchange Server can only be installed on Server SKUs of Windows, this backup type is only applicable when running on Windows Server.

Some forms of Exchange Server backup will cause log truncation to occur on the Exchange Server. For more information, please see the official Exchange Server documentation. If circular logging is enabled on the Exchange Server, the ‘Incremental’ and ‘Differential’ backup types have limited effect.

“Program Output” items

“Program Output” items

The “Program Output” backup type backs up the stdout (Standard Output) stream of any command execution. This stream data is saved as a virtual file within the backup job. You can choose the virtual file name.

The data is streamed directly to the backup destination and never touches the local disk. This has the consequence that no progress bar or ETA can be calculated or displayed during backup jobs.

If the target application produces any content on stderr (Standard Error), it will be logged in the job report, and the final job status will not be less severe than “Warning”.

If the target application exits with a non-zero error code, the error code will be logged in the job report, and the final job status will not be less severe than “Error”.