Zen Software at Infosec We're but a few weeks away from the annual industry pilgrimage to Earls Court for the biggest of the IT and security shows in this country, InfoSecurity Europe. Each year IT professionals (and the not-so) gather at InfoSec to take in keynote talks from industry experts, strengthen relationships with customers and suppliers, keep an eye on the competition and of course, pick up plenty of promotional tat for the kids. This year will be slightly different however, as visitors will notice that the show's noticeably better than previous ones thanks to the addition of the Zen Software stand in the new exhibitor area. It's possible I'm overestimating the impact we'll have but in any case, we're genuinely pleased to be a part of the show and that we'll be down there unashamedly flogging our wares in our compact but charming booth (K94).

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.

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

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.