Windows 2008 physical server backup

Last post 11-10-2010, 12:52 PM by Ted P. 6 replies.
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  • Windows 2008 physical server backup
    Posted: 11-01-2010, 1:52 PM


    We just bought Simpana 9 and still in the testing phase. I'd like to know the best way to backup a physical server that has the Filesystem iDataAgent on it.

    When I take a backup of the server, it will exclude almost half of the Win2k8 R2 files. After looking it up, the files are actually excluded because they are part of the system state protected files backup.

    This brings up 2 "issues":

    - First, there are about 63 000 system protected files which take about 12gb of space. Since system state backups are always full, it isn't really efficient to do a full every time. Thanks to deduplication though, it isn't taking too much space on disk.

    - Second and most important: from what I've seen, when browsing backed up data using the folder view, I cannot see the protected files. This means that if I happen to restore a folder that contains normal files and protected files, I will have to do 2 restores. One for the normal files and the other through the system state restores which doesn't have very convenient browsing capabilities. Worst is that if I don't notice that the folder had protected files, I might actually think that I restored the folder completely while it would still be missing many files in it. Is there a way to "merge" both views so that when looking at a folder, I can restore it and it will restore all files in it, protected files and non protected files?

    My only workaround for now is to use the image level data agent. That way, I can restore at the file level, browse folders and actually restore both types of files at the same time. Image level backup don't support SRM though so I'd rather use the file DA.

    My ultimate goal would actually be to exclude protected files from the system state backup and back them up using the regular file data agent with the VSS option (like we're doing with our current backup solution). This would not only make restores easier but would prevent large full backups of the system state. Hopefully there is a registry key for this!


  • Re: Windows 2008 physical server backup
    Posted: 11-01-2010, 2:19 PM

    Since SPFs are considered a system state component they are lumped together as a whole, so they arent indexed or browsable.  Its all or nothing when restoring the data. 

    Since these files are defined as an SPF by VSS, I doubt every single of the 63k files will  get backed up regardless if VSS is leveraged on the file system backup (assuming your filtering SPFs as you mentioned).  I'm not sure why MS changed their SPF qualification (vs win2k3) for some reason and unfortunately, this appears to be a side effect. 

    The downside to image level is the machine is not fully recoverable in the event you need to rebuild the machine from scratch, which file system does provide.

    I believe there is a standalone windows SRM client that can be used seperately to any backup agent, which although wouldnt be integrated like you mentioned, it could certainly be leveraged to acheive the necessary analytics. 

  • Re: Windows 2008 physical server backup
    Posted: 11-01-2010, 2:30 PM

    Hello Vincenzo,

    Thanks for the quick reply! It is indeed odd that MS changed the behaviour from 2k3 to 2k8...

    As for the restore, I guess we can't do it right now but it would most likely be doable for CommVault to "merge" both views since you can already browse the SPF and select a single file to restore.

    As for image level backup, wouldn't I be able to rebuild a machine from scratch if I use the image level backup and a system state backup (excluding SPFs)? That would actually include everything needed for the restore no? Or were you referring to the 1-touch restore? I haven't looked into that yet.


  • Re: Windows 2008 physical server backup
    Posted: 11-01-2010, 2:42 PM

    In theory that may work, however CV's supported way to bring an entire machine back would be using the file system exclusively.  If you are going to use image for file backup and winFS iDA for system state, I would recommend testing a full recovery as I have not personally recovered a machine in that fashion. 

  • Re: Windows 2008 physical server backup
    Posted: 11-01-2010, 2:52 PM
    • Aplynx is not online. Last active: 08-13-2020, 3:38 PM Liam
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    take a look at the job history of your clients and make sure they jobs aren't completing with errors as this generally means a system state component is failing and being skipped. there are some known issues with 2008 

  • Re: Windows 2008 physical server backup
    Posted: 11-01-2010, 4:56 PM

    Hello Liam,

    There is no failed items. Like I said, the whole server is being backed up fine. My only "issue" is about the restore where I actually have to browse 2 different objects instead of being able to just select one folder from 1 screen and restore everything under it no matter if the files are SPFs or not. For exemple, if someone deletes something in the program files folder, there is a good chance I will have to restore both SPFs and non SPFs and I'd rather do that without having to do a full system state restore.


  • Re: Windows 2008 physical server backup
    Posted: 11-10-2010, 12:52 PM

    Hi Phil,

    I believe that part of the reason that the backup is done this way is that if you try to overwrite a system protected file, the OS will not let you and throw an error regarding this.  So if you were to browse, choose the file, and try to restore it in place, the OS may not let this happen.

    The system state backup and restore process leverages the built in API that allows the system protected files to be replaced.

    More info on this can be found here:


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