BackupAssist “data containers” and how to use them

The ‘System Protection’ job in BackupAssist is the most widely used by the customers I come across. It’s fast, efficient and it creates a full image backup of your server ready for disaster recovery.

Despite its popularity, there were some limitations if you wanted to use anything other than a USB drive as your destination.

Enter the ‘data container’.

A little background

Prior to the release of data containers,  if you wanted to have an image backup history, created by doing a full backup and then subsequent differential updates, you’d have needed to choose a USB drive.

If you were using either a network share or even an RDX drive, you could only keep one backup, overwriting it every time. OK, but it would be slower because you’re backing up the whole server each time and you’d only have one restore point to work with.

Introducing data containers

Data containers are storage files the backup job creates on the destination media, that hold backups. The beauty of this approach is that a container can be automatically mounted as a local disk for backups and restores. This means your Windows Server will not see a strange or unexpected media, but a media that it understands and can work with.

Now, when you create an image backup to a network destination or RDX drive, using a container you’ll be able to benefit from both differential updates and multiple restore points.

This means your backup jobs run faster, storage requirements will be lower and you’ll always have a historical view of your data.

How to create a data container job

To get up and running, simply head over to the destination media section within the BackupAssist interface, and look for the check box option as shown below.

Next, specify where you’d like the data container to go and how big you want it to be:-

  • Enter the path into the field provided. The data container will be automatically created at that location the first time the backup job runs.
  • Set the size of the data container using the Container size up and down arrows (we recommend a size approximately 2.5 times the size of the data being backed up).

By default, RDX and External disk destinations will have Use all available space selected.

BackupAssist will automatically mount the data container each time the backup job runs and put the backups inside it.

Need to perform a bare-metal restore?

No problem!

During the backup selection step, RecoverAssist has a button called Search for Backup in a Container. Click the button, browse to the location of the data container and RecoverAssist will mount it for you. Nothing else changes.

That’s it! I hope you found this article useful – please feel free to let us know how you’re getting on via the comments field and for support with configuration you’re always welcome to get in touch via phone or email.

Note – Thanks to Rick over at BackupAssist for help with this article.

Updated BackupAssist and Rsync – “How-to” videos

Rsync videosYou may recall towards the tail end of last year I posted about BackupAssist developer Cortex’s excellent series of six Rsync videos.

I know the ability to off-site your data using BackupAssist is a popular feature so I wanted to let you know that Cortex have updated the series in line with the new version 7 release and I’ve also updated my original post.

If you use BackupAssist with Rsync jobs I highly recommend you follow the guide lines in these videos to keep up with best practices.

Related articles

Confirming your BackupAssist image backups are Bare Metal Recovery ready

Back up your data off-site with RsyncIn this new stand-alone BackupAssist “how-to” video released by developer Cortex, we see how you can check if the Image backup you have taken has everything needed to perform a full Bare Metal recovery.
As with all backups it is imperative that you verify the backups to be sure they contain what you expect so we’d highly recommend you take a look at this video when you get a moment…

Continue reading

Troubleshooting VSS issues with BackupAssist – “How-to” videos

Back up your data off-site with RsyncThis is the second series of fantastic of “how-to” videos to be released by developer Cortex, this time aimed at helping users check and resolve common VSS issues.

Whether you’ve already come across something similar or just want to further your technical understanding of the product, we’d highly recommend a watch when you get a moment…

Continue reading

Off-site backup with BackupAssist and Rsync – “How-to” videos

Back up your data off-site with RsyncOur Aussie friends over at BackupAssist developers Cortex IT have recently released a set of 5 excellent short videos showing how to configure an Rsync server from start to finish.

We also cover this setup procedure in our installation guide here, but if you are planning on setting up your own Rsync server using cwRsync, CopSSH and BackupAssist these are definitely worth a watch.

Continue reading