Getting the Most Out of Your Backups Part 1

To a system administrator like myself, backups are considered the most important part of any solution. It is your safety net; your guardian. Our backup services here at SingleHop are powered by Idera (Formerly R1Soft) Continuous Data Protection (CDP). This service is charged per gigabyte (GB), and can be put to use on any dedicated server or Virtual Machine running a supported Operating System.

When your order the service, your server automatically installs the agent software required to use the service. Windows agent installs must be done manually, but an administrator will assist you with the install process, and ensure the server is rebooted to complete the setup. Then, your server is given a disk safe to store the data, and a policy that governs when and how your server is backed up to the disk safe. By default, the policy will back up all disk partitions on your server, and retain up to five days of backups. Finally, you are given a login URL, username, and password that will give you access to the CDP control panel. You can also get to the control panel in LEAP under Components > Server_Name > General > Backups. A new tab will open to the backup service, and back on your tab in LEAP, your login information will be displayed.

Once you are logged in, viewing and restoring backups is easy. On the lower left of the CDP control panel, you will see Dashboard, Servers, Disk Sages, Policy, Recovery Points, Task History, and Reporting. Click on Recovery Points, and on the upper right pane, you will be asked to select a server. Choose your server, and the Disk Safe will automatically be selected. You can then view your current backups. If you wish to restore a backup, look to the column on the far right, and click on the first icon 'Browse'. This will open up a screen showing the partitions currently backed up. You can then Double-click on the partition to open it. You can then click on any file or folder, and it will be added to your selection. Choosing a folder will backup every file and folder under it, unless you go into the folder and uncheck a specific item. Once you have made your selections, you can choose either to download the selections, or restore them to the server. Restoring to the server also gives you the option of restoring to an alternate location on the server, and also overwriting existing files.

In addition to restoring individual files/folders, you can restore the entire server through a processes known as a Bare Metal Restore (BMR). A BMR allows you to restore the entire image of the server, which is incredibly useful in disaster recovery situations. The BMR process requires that the server being restored be offline and in a rescue environment. You can easily accomplish this in LEAP under Components > Server_Name > General > Rescue Mode. Note that at this time, Windows servers can not use Rescue Mode in LEAP. If you need to use BMR on a Windows Server, please open a support ticket and an administrator can gladly assist you. Back in the CDP control panel, you can go back to Recovery Points, and instead of clicking on the 'Browse' icon for the day you wish to restore, you can select the shield icon 'Bare Metal Restore' next to it. Generally, since you have not made any changes to partitions, you can select the default options, and under 'Restore Storage Configuration', select 'Use Existing Storage Configuration'. While performing any restore task, you can check on its progress in the control panel under Task History. Simply click on the task, and the pane below will show its current progress and estimated time to completion (ETA).

These steps should allow you to quickly and effectively restore backups from CDP to your servers. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to open a support request, and myself or another administrator will be glad to assist. Tune in next time as I go over policy management and configuration of reports in R1Soft CDP.