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Windows Server 2008 R2 Backup Storage Support and Media Management

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Windows Server Backup allows administrators to back up to locally attached disks, network shares, and DVD writable media. Tape devices are not supported by Windows Server Backup, and to back up to DVD media, the system requires a local writable DVD drive. Using Ntbackup.exe in previous versions of Windows Server editions, media management was one of the biggest challenges administrators faced. Tape media needed to be prelabeled if any logical media management was required for backups. Also, if disk-based file backups were used, the file could end up filling up the server disk if the media was configured to append instead of overwrite when new backups were performed. The other option for backup media was to overwrite the media when a backup was run, but that also relabeled the media and any stickers on the tape would no longer match. Media management was possible, but just very tedious.

Windows Server Backup greatly improves media management by taking full control of the media, including labeling, efficiently storing data, cataloging the backup media, and managing the free disk space. Performing backups using remote server shares or local volumes as backup destinations has the risk of filling up the destination volume. When local disks are dedicated for Windows Server Backup and the utilized disk space is nearing capacity, the backup system will overwrite the oldest backup data on the disk to keep the disk from filling and to keep the backup job from failing.


External Disks
Windows Server Backup supports backup data to be stored on locally attached disks and writable DVD media located in local writable DVD drives. Locally attached disks include internal disk drives, hot-swappable disk drives, and drives externally connected via USB 2.0 or IEEE 1394 interfaces. Also, SAN-attached disks can be used as backup destinations. Storing backups on SAN storage enables faster rotation or replication of backup disks volumes to other SAN storage without impacting Windows system performance.


CD/DVD Writer Drives
Windows Server 2008 R2 contains many features that can take advantage of DVD writer drives. These include the Windows Server Backup feature to capture backups to DVD and Windows Deployment Services, which can be used to create boot, capture, and discover images on DVD media. With regard to Windows Server Backup, a manual backup can be created to contain a volume or entire system backup, and might span multiple DVDs. This can be a valuable option as data from remote servers can be synchronized across the network using Distributed File System Replication, but creating a full system backup across a WAN link usually is not an option. Branch office administrators can be tasked with creating full system DVD backups monthly, quarterly, or more frequently to provide full system recovery options, and the media can easily be copied, archived, and shipped to offsite storage locations or to a central office.


Remote Shared Folder and Folder on Local Volume
Shares on remote servers or folders on local volumes can be designated as backup targets for manual and scheduled backup jobs. Designating a remote shared folder allows an administrator to create a backup not stored on media physically mounted in the system, and also allows for the backup of multiple servers to be stored on a central server. Choosing to back up using a folder on a local volume removes the restriction of having to dedicate an entire volume for backup usage. There are two very important catches to be aware of when using remote shared folders and folders on local volumes:

. When using a remote shared folder, only one copy of the backup can be stored within the folder, and each backup will perform a full overwrite backup.

. When a folder on a local volume is selected as a backup destination, the performance of that volume will be severely impacted during backup, which could cause poor system performance if any user data is stored and accessed on the same volume.


Tape Devices
Tape devices are not supported in Windows Server Backup. Administrators who want to back up data to tape will require Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager or third-party backup applications, or they will be forced to create manual backups to disk and then copy the data to tape drives.

Source of Information : Sams - Windows Server 2008 R2 Unleashed

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