How to Create a New Backup Task, Step-by-Step

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This section outlines file backup tasks. Disk backup tasks are discussed in the previous section.

When you first start BackupChain it automatically opens the following screen which assists you in creating your first backup task:

Name the backup task at the top and describe it in a meaningful way, which can be useful if you plan to run several backup tasks.

It is important to select the correct type of backup at the beginning to match your needs. If no other type matches your needs, please select “Universal Backup”. Documents and file server data should be backed up using the “File-Level Backup” type selected in the above example.

File-Level Backup should be used if you don’t want to back up databases, virtual machines, or other VSS aware applications.

Use Hyper-V Backup (Server) only to back up Hyper-V VMs or for Hyper-V Granular Backup using the Server Editions or Platinum Edition. You can use this type of backup also on Windows 10 with the Server Edition of BackupChain.

Use Hyper-V Backup (Client) on Windows 8 or Windows 10 with Hyper-V installed, with the Professional Edition of BackupChain. This type of backup uses the file-based Hyper-V backup method discussed in later sections of the user guide. Advanced users can use this option also on Windows Servers with the Server Editions of BackupChain for very specific scenarios only.

Use the SQL Server Backup type only when backing up Microsoft SQL Server and regular data files.

If you have a server with several virtual machines and databases, unless they depend on one another, it makes sense to back them up individually. Backing up many services simultaneously increases the load on the machine and may severely impact system performance. VM backups are discussed in detail in the tutorial section of this manual.

Selecting folders

After clicking Next, you may select folders for backup in the following screen:

Note that when you select a folder to be backed up, subfolders are automatically backed up as well. You may leave this screen empty and select folders and files later on. If you don’t need the folders automatically listed, you can remove them.

Backing up Local Folders

Click Add Folders and select Add Local Folder, which opens the folder selection screen:

You may select one or more folders and create new folders as needed.

Backing up a Network Folder

Backing up from a network folder is called a ‘pull strategy’. Here files are “pulled” from the other computer.

Note: Files in use (opened exclusively) cannot be backed up using this method. You need to run BackupChain on that machine locally in order to unlock files. Examples of files in use: Hyper-V or other virtual machines, databases, Microsoft Outlook files, and Microsoft Exchange.

The example below shows the screen that appears after clicking Add Folder -> “Add Network Folder”. In our example we connect to another computer in a workgroup (not a domain):

The previous chapter elaborates on network connections in more detail. Please refer to the previous section for more information on how to connect to network shares.

The feature “Always Authenticate” allows BackupChain to skip authentication if it isn’t necessary. This may also help prevent re-authentication attempts leading to connection errors.

Note: Mapped drives cannot be used. Instead you will need to enter UNC paths with credential information. See previous chapter for more information.

The following example demonstrates how to connect in domain environments when the target server is member of a domain:

Backing Up Folders Stored Inside a Virtual Machine (Granular Backup)

BackupChain Server Enterprise Edition and the Platinum Edition include Granular Backup. It allows users to back up files and folders that are stored inside a virtual disk of a virtual machine, such as a VHD, VHDX, VMDK, or VDI .Note that limitations apply as shown on BackupChain’s user interface.

This feature is available only in Server Enterprise and Platinum Editions.

To back up folders inside a virtual machine, select Add Folders and then “Add Folder Store inside a Virtual Machine”:

Now a new screen opens: “Select Folders Within Virtual Machine” as shown below:

Note that not all types of file systems are supported. The Granular Backup feature does not yet support snapshots or multi-file virtual disks. Virtual disk files have to be single files. Hyper-V (AVHD or AVHDX files) or VMware snapshots are not supported.

Proceed and select a virtual disk file. In our example we open a VirtualBox VDI file; however, you could also open Hyper-V (VHD / VHDX), Virtual PC, Virtual Server, and VMware VMDK files:

Click “Next Step” to open the virtual machine. It is not necessary to stop or pause the virtual machine to make a folder selection. The virtual machine will not be affected or interrupted.

In our example we select the folders Users and Windows from the virtual machine’s major partition:

The folders are now select and we may move on to the next step:

Backup Defaults

The next step in the Backup Wizard shows a selection of “Default Settings” that impact how the backup is to be taken. You are shown three different options:

· Recommended Settings

· No File Processing

· I want to choose different settings

Recommended Settings

“Recommended Settings” is the option that suits most users and it preconfigures the task with fastest compression, deduplication, and regular version retention of 10 backups per file. This means that for each file up to ten backups will be held in the backup target. Thereafter, BackupChain deletes the oldest backup copy of a file to make room for the next one.

Note that no matter what backup default options you choose, you may always amend your settings later using BackupChain’s Main Screen.

The advantage of using compression and deduplication is that backups finish faster and use less space. A disadvantage of compression in general is that it is difficult or impossible to predict actual runtime and storage space needed. If your environment requires exact timing and storage usage you need to use the next option: No File Processing.

No File Processing

No File Processing means that BackupChain will not compress, encrypt, or deduplicate any files. BackupChain will be configured to make a backup copy of each file; however, file versioning will nevertheless be available. BackupChain keeps up to ten backup copies of each file (default setting, can be changed) and thereafter deletes the oldest file version to make room for the newest backup. This process is done at the file level; each file is processed separately.

Custom Backup Settings

If you select “I want to choose different settings” the following screen is shown:

Compression may be switched off, set to fastest, standard, or high level. Disabling compression is useful if you know beforehand that the data is not compressible. Music, video, media, and previously encrypted files are examples for files that do not compress well. To save time you may want to switch off compression completely as it does not add any benefit in the case of encrypted or media files.

Regular files generally compress well and take up less space in the backup store; hence, backups run faster because less information needs to be written or transmitted. The high compression setting, on the other hand, leads to longer backup times because the CPU will take more time trying to compress the data to a smaller size.

The switch “Deduplication” controls the use of deduplication on your files. Deduplication is compression based on a previous backup of a file. The contents of a file are compared to its last backup and only the difference (the delta) is backed up. This process saves storage space and backup time, especially when dealing with large files, such as databases and virtual machines.

The “Resource Usage” setting controls BackupChain’s background process priority. Maximum Speed lets backups run with normal priority and without CPU limitations. Note that BackupChain’s Main Screen (Speed tab) offers many more settings to fine tune the speed of each backup task.

“Minimal System Impact” reduces the process priority to minimal and limits the process to just one CPU core for the backup. This is useful when you want to limit the impact of the backup process on your server.

The setting “Reduce Hard Drive Stress” limits the backup process even more and applies a 10MB/sec read and write speed limitation.

The setting “Automatic Cleanup” is preset to 10 and controls how many copies you wish to keep in the backup store. Entering ALL will keep every single file change forever, while entering “1” will keep only one backup copy of each file. Every time a file is changed and subsequently backed up, a new file version is created in the backup store. This allows you to restore older file versions but uses more space in the backup store. If you are backing up large files that change often you may need to reduce this setting or you can utilize BackupChain’s deduplication feature.

Note that you may fine tune the “Min. Number of File Versions” setting on a per-file-type basis in BackupChain’s Main Screen, along with several other data retention features.

Finally, you may want to encrypt your files using AES256, which is today’s military-strength encryption standard. If you lose your password, however, you will not be able to restore any of your files. If you plan to change your password regularly, it’s recommended to change backup folders when you change passwords since encryption passwords would otherwise vary within the same folder and lead to restore problems.

Note that all of the above settings may be fine-tuned later if necessary in the Main Screen of BackupChain.

 

Selecting a Backup Target

Proceed to the next screen and configure your backup target:

Use the above screen to send your backups to either a local drive, network share, or FTP/FTPS site.

Local folders may be external drives (USB 1/2/3, FireWire, eSATA, etc.) or local hard drives.

Network folders are shared folders on a LAN or VPN, see previous chapter for details.

FTP Site allows you to specify an FTP server as a target, which may be a BackupChain FTP Server or a standard FTP server on the Internet. FTPS is also supported.

Specifying an FTP Backup Target

In this example we want our backup to be sent to an FTP server:

Enter the server’s name or IP address, port number, user name, and password and run a quick test to check your settings.

Some servers (especially some Linux-based variants) that are not following the full FTP standard do not support the SIZE command or Passive Mode and some have other limitations as well. In those cases you may want to switch the server type to “Linux-based server” and see if this resolves the connection problems.

In case of a connection failure an error will be displayed with more information. To investigate the cause of the problem you may also want to check your outbound firewall restrictions and all the settings above. Also you may want to look at the FTP server logs in case of a connection error.

“Use explicit FTP over TLS” is secure FTP. The initial handshake is done clear text but then the connection is explicitly turned into a secure, encrypted link before user name and password travel over the wire. Data is also encrypted.

Please do not change the server type once you have run a successful backup, as it changes internal structures in the backup folder. If you must change the setting, you should also wipe the target folder or start a new target folder.

The folder entered in the address must already exist; it will not be created by BackupChain if it doesn’t.

Running your Backup

After specifying your target, you may want to start the task immediately or save it to run it later:

Where Do I Set Up a Schedule?

Backup task schedules may be entered in the main screen’s Schedule tab. You can schedule several jobs using separate schedules and backups may overlap; however, overlapping schedules should be avoided because they put a high load on your computer.

In order to avoid overlapping tasks, simply use the Task Chaining feature in the Options tab of the task you want to chain.

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