Windows Server Backup is the server backup feature in Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2. Its graphical console (Wbadmin.msc) is installed by default, but you can’t use this console perform any local backups until you actually install the feature itself. To install the Windows Server Backup feature, you can, of course, use the Add Roles and Features Wizard, but if you prefer to use Windows PowerShell, type the following at a Windows PowerShell prompt:
After you install Windows Server Backup, two backup wizards become available in the Windows Server Backup console: The Backup Schedule Wizard and the Backup Once Wizard.
The links to open these wizards are shown in Figure 3-1. To prepare for Objective 3.1 on the 70-412 exam, you need to understand (among other things) all of the configuration options available in these two wizards. Fortunately, the wizards are very similar, and there aren’t many options to learn.
FIGURE 3-1 The Windows Server Backup console
Backup Options page
The Backup Options page appears only in the Backup Once Wizard, not the Backup Schedule Wizard. This first page gives you two options for performing a backup now: The first option is available only if you’ve already configured a scheduled backup for the local server. When available, this option lets you make an immediate backup of the same items you’ve already configured for the scheduled backup. All settings you’ve configured for that scheduled backup are also used, including the location at which you’ve chosen to save the backup data.
The second backup option is to perform an immediate backup with options that haven’t been configured for the scheduled backup on the local server. In Figure 3-2, the option to choose the scheduled backup options is, in fact, grayed out because no scheduled backup has been configured for the local server.
FIGURE 3-2 General options for immediate backup
Select Backup Configuration page
This page is shown in in the top left portion of Figure 3-3. Here you decide whether to perform a full server backup or a custom backup. As you might expect, a full server backup, includes all data on the system and lets you perform any type of recovery, including a system state or bare metal recovery. A custom backup can be a full backup or any subset of volumes, folders, or files. A custom backup also allows you to make some advanced configuration choices, such as creating exclusions or changing VSS settings for the backup.
If you are testing backup functionality for the purpose of exam preparation, make sure you choose the Custom option so that you can see all available backup options.
Select Items For Backup page
The Select Items For Backup page is shown in the bottom-right portion of Figure 3-3. On this page, click Add Items to choose which items to back up. Click Advanced Settings to adjust some default configuration settings for the backup.
FIGURE 3-3 Choosing a backup type and items for backup
Clicking Add Items on the Select Items For Backup page opens the Select Items dialog box, shown in Figure 3-4.
FIGURE 3-4 Selecting items to back up
Of these options, make sure you understand the following:
– Bare Metal Recovery This item in the Select Items dialog box is not a data component but a shortcut that selects the components required for a bare metal recovery.
When you select Bare Metal Recovery, as shown in Figure 3-4, the System State and system disk (typically C:) are automatically selected, along with any System Reserved partition that the local system might include. Backing up these Bare Metal Recovery components lets you later boot a restored version of the local system on a server that is not loaded with any software at the outset. The bare metal server can be the original system with newly formatted disks or it can be another, identical system.
– System State System State contains only the system files and configuration data of the local server. By restoring these files, you would restore the configuration state of the server as it existed at the time the backup was performed. If the operating system on your server becomes corrupted, you can also use the system state data to repair a system and get it to a bootable state. System state always includes the following components:
– COM+ class registration database
– Boot files, including system files
– System files under Windows File Protection
If the server is a domain controller, the following two components are also included in the system state:
– Active Directory service
– SYSVOL directory
– Certain server roles, such as the DHCP, AD CS and DNS roles and their associated databases, are also included in system state data.
– Hyper-V If the local server is a Hyper-V host, you will be able to select each hosted VM for backup.
–Individual files and folders Windows Server Backup in Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 allows you to select individual volumes, folders, or files for backup.
If you click Advanced Settings on the Select Items For Backup page of the Backup Once Wizard or Backup Schedule Wizard (as shown in Figure 3-3), the Advanced Settings dialog box opens.
It’s possible that you’ll see a question on the 70-412 exam that requires some understanding of backup exclusions. Such a question might set up a scenario in which you need to perform a backup more quickly, or with less space, or with less network traffic, than the current backup set. The “correct answer” might be to exclude a folder or files that match a particular filename pattern with some unneeded data in the current backup set. You do this on the Exclusions tab of the Advanced Settings dialog box, as shown in Figure 3-5.
FIGURE 3-5 Excluding .mp3 files from a backup set
CONFIGURING VSS SETTINGS
The other tab—VSS Settings—is shown in Figure 3-6. Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) is the background service that, among other important functions, allows Windows Server Backup to create backups of all files, even ones which are locked by applications. All backups performed by Windows Server Backup are VSS backups, so these settings are always applied when the backup you’re currently defining is performed.
The two options are:
-VSS Full Backup With this setting, the files you back up are marked as backed up in the application log file. This option is appropriate when you are not using any other backup application.
-VSS Copy Backup This is the default selection. With this option, the backed-up files are not marked up as backed up, so the backup doesn’t interfere with any other backup applications.
FIGURE 3-6 Choosing the type of VSS backup
After you choose which items to back up and make any desired exclusions and changes to VSS settings, you need to specify a location to store the backup.
–Back Up To A Dedicated Hard Disk This option is available only for scheduled backups. If you have a spare physical hard disk, this option offers the best performance for storing backups. Writing to the dedicated disk doesn’t interfere with any other I/O operations.
– Back Up To A Volume This option is also available only for scheduled backups and applies to non-dedicated volumes and mapped network drives, not optical drives such as DVD drives.
– Local Drives This option is available only with the Backup Once option. It is similar to the Back Up To A Volume option, except that you can also burn the backup to an optical drive.
– Remote Shared Folder This option is available for both the scheduled backups and immediate backups. An important limitation of saving to a remote shared folder is that you can only store one backup at the remote location. Any existing backups found at the network path are overwritten by the new backup.
Note: Remember that backing up to a remote shared folder overwrites the previous backup.
Performance settings are configured in the Windows Server Backup console, not the Backup Schedule Wizard or the Backup Once Wizard. The performance settings allow you to make backup operations quicker, at the expense of a longer restore operation. To view performance settings, click Configure Performance Settings in the Actions pane of the console, as shown in Figure 3-7. This opens the Optimize Backup Performance dialog box, shown in Figure 3-8.
FIGURE 3-7 Configuring performance settings
FIGURE 3-8 Configuring performance settings
By default, Normal Backup Performance is selected. With this option, full backups are performed. (The complete source data is backed up to the destination storage location, regardless of whether the blocks of data have changed.)
If you select Faster Backup Performance, incremental backups are performed 14 times in a row or 14 days in a row (whichever is sooner) before each full backup is performed. With incremental backups, only the blocks of data that have been modified since the last backup are copied to the destination storage location. The backup procedure is usually faster as a result, but the restore operation is typically longer.
To apply different backup methods to different volumes, select the Custom option. The choice for each volume is displayed as Full Backup or Incremental Backup.
Command-line tools for backup
Although backups you’ve reviewed where backup options are found in the GUI, it’s also a good idea to look at how you can perform or configure backups from the command line.
Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 include two command-line tools to configure and perform backups: the Wbadmin.exe utility and Windows PowerShell.
Wbadmin.exe offers basic backup functionality and is installed when you install the Windows Server Backup feature of Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2. To see the commands available in Wbadmin.exe, type Wbadmin /? at a command prompt after you’ve installed Windows Server Backup feature.
Windows PowerShell includes a much more complete command-line administration interface for server backups. To see the Windows PowerShell cmdlets for backups in Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2, type the following at a Windows PowerShell prompt: Get-Command -Module WindowsServerBackup