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Over the past few years we've used a variety of different virtualisation tools but have historically always stuck to a mixture of either VMWare tools (esxi, Player and Workstation) or Microsoft’s Hyper-V platform. These have worked really well for building larger virtual server platforms but recently I was looking for a quick and easy to configure tool that I could use on my own desktop PC. I was just looking to build some simple test machines for evaluating software in a range of scenarios. After some browsing I came across Oracle VirtualBox and I must say I've been impressed with it so far.

You may have picked up on the grapevine (or the phone when talking to us!), that there's an exciting new version of BackupAssist in the offing. Well, I can confirm the rumours, version 6.4 is due to include both advanced iSCSI support and RecoverAssist, which will make life considerably easier for those of you performing image backups and bare metal restores on 2008/R2/SBS/Hyper-V/Win7/Vista.

mailstore-proxy.png I don't often get asked about the MailStore proxy, as most of our customers tend to use a local email server of some kind such as MDaemon or Microsoft Exchange where it's not needed. Every so often however, I'll be asked about creating a centralised archiving solution for an off-site POP3/ SMTP service which is where it provides a simple but effective solution. Typically customers using these services will have have been using simple, user-based archiving such as the manual creation of local PST files which may or may not be include in a wider backup strategy - by no means an ideal solution.

One of the key benefits of using BackupAssist in a Hyper-V environment is that only one licence is required on the physical host server in order to perform file level backups across all of the guest machines. In this post I’m going to step through a Hyper-V scenario I come across quite frequently, and show you how to configure a single backup job to provide the following:
  1. Bare metal backup
  2. Recovery of a guest machine in its entirety
  3. Recovery of files from a guest
  4. Exchange mailboxes and near-continuous SQL backup
For this scenario the following set of licences must be purchased for one installation of BackupAssist on the Hyper-V host server. 1 x BackupAssist with Upgrade Protection 1 X Hyper-V Granular Restore Console 1 x Exchange Mailbox add-on 1 x SQL add-on

Scenario 1 – Server configuration2008-server.jpg

In this example I’ll be backing up a single 2008 Hyper-V server running two 2008 guests. VM 1 - 2008 SBS including Exchange VM 2 - 2008 Server R2 with SQL

Before I start, I should warn you, this may be a rare issue that only effects a handful of customers - in particular those that use older NAS hardware. However, through diagnosing this issue I've learned much more about how the media usage report works with BackupAssist rsync jobs and thought it would be useful to share my findings.

We've seen a noticeable increase over the past few months in the number of customers performing Hyper-V backups using BackupAssist, so I'm hoping some of you will find it useful to hear about an issue we helped resolve recently. The customer was running BackupAssist on their Hyper-V host system and had initially been performing a backup of the system state and some data which was working fine, when they added the Hyper-V guest machines though, it produced this error each time: ERROR - A Volume Shadow Copy Service operation error has occurred

Single Instance StoreWe had an interesting support call the other day that I thought might be useful to share. The customer who called was using BackupAssist on multiple sites and using rsync jobs to backup from a number of Windows machines, to a central one running CWRsync. Everything was working well but there was some confusion as to how much space each job was taking up on the rsync server.

Since the introduction of Microsoft’s Volume Shadow Copy Service in Server 2003 it is common to backup the Exchange database in its entirety as part of a bare-metal backup job. This is a great way to deal with a disaster such as a hard drive failure where you want to recover a whole server, or even if you need to recover the whole Exchange database back to a point in time.  The difficulty comes when you want to recover, for example just a single mailbox, or even specific emails.  With a full backup, you are backing up the entire database which means you’ll need to recover the full database first to a temporary location, mount this as a recovery database, connect to it with a client and then extract the data.  With a large database this could take quite a lot of time and resources to complete. BackupAssist has a much easier, more convenient way.
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