We are excited to announce the second maintenance release of BackupChain version 4 (build 4.0.5441) and the 10 year anniversary of BackupChain!
New Features & Changes
The major new features and changes are outlined below:
- Breaking changes: none
- Centralized Management
- This new feature allows you to connect all your BackupChain instances together and control and monitor backups from a single server or PC. The centralized console is simply a BackupChain instance that you designate as being the “master”.
- All editions of BackupChain can be controlled remotely, except the Server Edition
- In centralized management mode, the screen splits vertically and a server tree appears on the left. By clicking ‘all servers’ at the top, the task view merges all tasks from all servers in a row. The task list is now sortable, resizable, and color-coded, so you can quickly see if any tasks have failed. As you click on a task, you can edit it as before, just like being logged on locally. All features are available remotely, except restoring data.
- Connections can be inbound or outbound and use TCP on a single port and can be encrypted with SSL to pass corporate firewalls. Typically connections from external sites are all outbound to a single site. This eliminates configuration work at external sites and only requires the receiving site to open and forward a single TCP port to the receiving machine. The communication between sites is encrypted and is entirely under your control.
- Note: the Server Enterprise or Platinum edition is required as the central machine. All editions can be controlled from a remote site, except the Server edition.
- For more info see user guide or //backupchain.com/faq/step-by-step-instructions-for-centralized-management-console-dashboard/ and //backupchain.com/faq/how-to-set-up-centralized-remote-management-console-dashboard/
- New Hyper-V features:
- VM size and backup size estimation. The VM list shows the size of the VM. By clicking on it, a new window appears where backup sizes are estimated based on the task’s current settings (deduplication, compression, delta lengths, etc.)
- VMs are checked and an error is shown if the VM is no longer in Hyper-V
- Hyper-V automatic VM selection (Hyper-V tab subsection)
- BackupChain can now deal with manual and automatic VM migrations
- New VMs are added to the backup automatically (if desired)
- VMs can be included and excluded by their name or name text portions
- Additional filtering options exist, such as waiting for VM to finish another backup, exclude offline VMs, etc.
- If VMs are migrated to another host, no error is generated. Conversely, if a VM is moved back to a host, it is backed up automatically.
- This feature is available in Server Enterprise and Platinum
- Task chaining: tasks can now be chained so that the next selected task starts when the first has finished. This eliminates complicated schedules and guesswork. Only the first task in the chain needs to be scheduled, the rest will run sequentially.
- Verification: backup files can be verified to ensure they were stored correctly.
- Re-verification of backup files and Bit Rot Protection. As storage devices and RAM get larger and larger, Bit Rot is becoming a serious issue. Because data volumes can be substantial, BackupChain offers re-verification of backup files and RAM used by BackupChain based on probability. For example, you can configure BackupChain to check on 5% of all existing backup files (files backed up in earlier backup cycles) with each backup cycle. This would in this example using 5%, on average, verify all existing backup files within every 20 backup cycles. The percentage is configurable and separate limits may be specified for remote backups, where the download of files may be prohibitive for files of certain sizes; hence, we added a size limit for those scenarios.
- Significant FTP and remote backup improvements
- Remote backup time savings of up to 95%! When backing up large file server data remotely, the challenge is that BackupChain needs to query every single folder to obtain the current file list. We chose this method because it’s the safest. Another option would have been to compile a database file containing information on all folders. That strategy involves a serious risk of data loss and corruption: the database may become corrupt or users may delete folders or files in the backup folder, making the entire process unreliable. We solved the problem by introducing a new feature on both the server and client side: server-side folder scanning. When the backup starts, the client sends a command to the server to scan the entire user folder. The results are compressed and sent down fresh every time a backup starts. The client can then figure out very quickly which files have changed and uploads only the changes. The entire FTP dialogue is hence reduced to just uploads coming from the client. In the case of large file server backups, this technique reduces the backup time by 90-95% sometimes even more when only a few small files are new. For example, a large file server remote backup with millions of folders that took a day to complete will now likely complete in just minutes.
- Major FTP Server Improvements
- Server-side scanning: see explanation above
- Auto-ban IP feature: ban FTP connections coming from on offending IP address for three minutes if authentication failed
- Add/remove/edit FTP users without stopping ftp server
- Permitted IP ranges configurable for each FTP user: allow connections only from specific IP addresses and address ranges, configurable per FTP user
- AFD option: apply file date to file systems after upload (eliminates file name suffixes containing date info)
- Active session view with current speed and file being uploaded
- User Interface Improvements
- Optional logon password to restrict access to BackupChain
- Resizable and sortable task list
- Color coded task view (success/failure/warnings)
- Backup target is shown in table
- New UI options for manual disk to disk cloning and conversions
- Extended VSS info in log is provided when VSS errors occur. This saves time because it scans all relevant logs in the Event Viewer automatically, for example Hyper-V Worker logs.
- Start/run multiple backup tasks by hand
- The task scheduler is now hidden and always enabled; hence, there is no scheduler button. Tasks will run when scheduled after task was run manually.
- Major restore process improvements:
- ability to go back on each screen without losing settings
- backups that were incomplete or failed are shown when the date is selected
- VM backups that are too old to be restored (where automatic cleanup occurred) are identified automatically and marked with “files missing” in the restore calendar
- Other Improvements
- New disk tools: convert to from GPT layout for data disks
- New external utilities options (before after drive snapshot, etc.)
- Faster deduplication algorithm for VM backups. Much faster throughput (4x+) with far fewer CPU cores. Use compression rate “fastest compression” with deduplication. This new algorithm takes effect automatically when next full backup is generated.
- Improved parallel backups, with much better performance for UNC backups. Faster file skipping speed was achieved with improved caching
- Run task on a limited number of CPU cores
- New statistics and file size entries in log and other log improvements
- Notes tab for each task
- .NET framework 4 as well as .NET Framework 2.0 compatibility: a .Net Framework installation or update is no longer necessary because all Windows installations have either version 4.x or 3.5 or 2.0 preinstalled and BackupChain will work with all of them.
- Bug fixes and adaptations to new Windows versions and Hyper-V versions
- Installations after v3.0.768 should be upgraded to v4.0.5441
- Improved handling of newer CPUs for better performance
- Critical adaptations were made since v3.0.768 to deal with changes in Hyper-V, upgrading is strongly recommended. If you are using Windows Server 2016 or 2019 with Hyper-V you need to upgrade to v4.0.5441. Do not use older versions of BackupChain on those OSes.
The full details of all features are documented in-depth in the new user guide at: //backupchain.com/manual/UserGuide.pdf
Upgrading is simple; if you have version 2.4.526 or later (all EXE based installers), simply run the new executable installer package or use the Help->Check for upgrade option. Previous versions of BackupChain (older than v2.4.526) need to be uninstalled first. When you upgrade, uninstall, or reinstall, your license and settings remain intact. Reactivating the license is not necessary. The v4 package is available at //backupchain.com/BackupChainSetup.zip
Important note: Version 4.0.5441 will only install with a valid version 3 or version 4 license. Version 2 licenses are no longer supported. If you plan upgrading a v2 installation, please obtain an upgrade license.
Important note #2: If your version 3 license is no longer active, i.e. software maintenance agreement has expired, you can still upgrade for free to version 4.0.5441 and we will provide technical support until July 31, 2020. Note future builds will require a version 4 license or a version 3 license with active service agreement. See our renewal offer below.
Upgrade & Renewal Offers
Upgrade offer #1 expires July 15, 2020: upgrade any edition of BackupChain to Server Enterprise for just $156.25 and get two years software maintenance for free.
Offer #2: Upgrades are available at a discount of 50% until July 30, 2020 if the software maintenance agreement has already expired, i.e. upgrades are now available for the price of a renewal, which is 25% of list price. Example: renewing a Server Edition 2Y license: $312.99 – 75% => $78.25
Volume discounts are available for custom packages and MSPs / resellers.
Get a quick quote by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org with your requirements.
Expiring July 31, 2020: in addition to the cloud bundle discount, when you sign up for our cloud backup plans you receive an additional 25% off until July 31, 2020. Future renewals will also use the discounted amount. Example: a single server plan with 2TB is available for just $413 a year, all inclusive (also no bandwidth or access fees), and technical support, as well as software maintenance for one license. See //backupchain.com/en/cloud-backup/
Get a quick quote by emailing: email@example.com with your requirements.
Thank you, Stay safe & healthy!
We are celebrating our 10th year serving IT professionals and businesses of all sizes
worldwide. We would like to thank all our customers for their trust, and our partners and team members for their relentless efforts and hard work that has been invested in making BackupChain a solid and reliable enterprise-grade backup tool without the enterprise price tag.
As BackupChain’s user base continues to expand worldwide we are confident that the next 10 years will be even more exciting and we’ll to continue provide you with the best value and service possible.
We want to use this opportunity to thank everyone for their helpful comments and suggestions that are critical to improving the product and how we serve you.
Thank you and above all, we wish you and your family good health and happiness!