When I'm running MailStore webinars, I'm frequently asked about file groups and how they work. I've written this article to give you a good idea of how you can manage your existing file groups, how they can be moved around and what to do with those containing older email.

So what exactly is a file group?


iscsi-icon.jpgHopefully you're already aware that one of the great new features coming in BackupAssist version 6.4 is the native support for iSCSI targets. This feature allows you to run Windows image jobs that fully support incremental updating and history. This is a great feature for disaster recovery backups as it negates the need to have local media (typically USB hard drives) attached to every server or workstation you want protected. I have covered the idea of iSCSI backups in this previous post, but as part of my help with the beta testing of BackupAssist I'm running some real world speed testing on my own Windows 7 box. The aim being to see how long backups will actually take in order to to get an idea of how often they can be run within the day to provide as up to date a backup as possible of the full system drive.

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

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.