The Windows Server backup tool provides a backup and recovery solution for servers running the Windows Server 2008 OS. This backup tool consists of a management tool in the form of the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) combined with command-line tools to provide a total solution for all your backup and recovery needs.
The Windows Server Backup Tool is particularly well-suited to meet the needs of anyone who requires just a basic backup solution, such as small businesses pressed for IT staffing and individual business owners who want a backup solution that is easy to run with minimum knowledge of technology. Conveniently shipped with four wizards, this tool makes running backups and recovering data as simple as A, B, C, and D.
Functionalities offered by the Windows Server Backup Tool
These are the key capabilities offered by the Windows Server Backup Tool:
- Backups can be taken for entire volumes (complete server), specific volumes, or the system state.
- In terms of systems recovery capability, complete volumes, files, folders, system state, and specific applications can be recovered.
- When disastrous events occur from acts of God such as hard disk failures, a complete system recovery can be performed which will do a full system restore to your hard disk by using the server backup (via the Windows recovery environment).
- Windows server backup can be a backup and recovery solution for both local computers and remote computers accessible via a network.
- The tool also has the ability to do both regularly scheduled automatic backups and one-time backups.
How does MMC use snap-ins?
Snap-ins constitute the fundamental component of the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) and are core management tools. MMC is like an overarching framework through which snap-ins are accessible. Any one of the installed snap-ins may be selected from within the MMC snap-ins (such as the device manager or DNS manager). Such snap-ins can also include those from vendors other than Microsoft.
Windows Server Backup Tool - version compatibility information
Windows Server backup is available for all versions of Windows Server 2008 (both 32-bit and 64-bit editions). However, please be aware that if you choose the server core installation option for Windows Server 2008, the WS backup snap-in would not be available for this particular choice. Should you need to run backups for computers with a server core installation, you need to use either the command line or manage the backup process remotely from another computer.
Windows Server Backup 2008 – Significant Selling Points
These are the significant selling points for the Windows Server Backup 2008:
- Rapid backup technology: The tool uses rapid backup technology by employing Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) and technology specific to perform block-level backups. The tool can be configured in such a manner that after the creation of the first backup, incremental backups are automatically created by backing up only the data that has changed since the last backup. Even if needed, full backups don’t take much time.
- Optimized disk usage: Windows Server Backup 2008 uses optimized disk management technology by which it is able to minimize the disk space used for backups. It does this by reusing the space of older existing backups while creating fresh backups.
- Selective restoration enabled: The tool permits selective restoration from which specific items can be chosen from a backup to restore (while ignoring the other components). For example, specific files from a folder alone can be restored.
- Simplified OS recovery: New recovery tools are utilized by WS Backup 2008 in order to enable you to recover your OS (operating system) easily. Apart from recovering to the same server, you also have the option of recovering to a separate no-OS server (with similar hardware) in case of hardware failure.
- Supports offsite backups for disaster recovery: The tool supports saving backups to multiple disks on a rotational basis, which is necessary for supporting offsite backup capability. Each of the disks can be tagged as a scheduled and a permitted location for a backup; if the first disk is moved offsite (not available for the tool to access from the disk rack), the tool automatically chooses the next disk in the rotational list and chooses it as the back-up location.
- Remote administration capabilities: This tool can be accessed via Server Manager after installing the associated snap-ins in order to manage other server backups
- Extensive command-line support: WS Backup 2008 comes with extensive support for command-line tools including wbadmin and an extensive set of documentation. These enable you to perform virtually all the functions (that you normally perform via snap-ins) instead through the command-line. The tool also has scripting language support in order to automate backup-related activities. In addition, WS Server backup 2008 also supports a collection of PowerShell commands (also called cmdlets- command-lets, worded like servlets) which can be used to write backup-automation scripts.
- Support for removable media including optical drives: Disk volumes can be directly backed up to both removable media and optical media drives including DVD drives. This supports requirements for offsite backups at a smaller scale whereby backups can be placed on a DVD rather than on a disk.
Special conditions to be noted while using the tool
There are a few special conditions to be met in order to run WS Backup 2008.
- The tool must be run under an ID which is a member of the admin or backup team.
- The server itself keeps the firewall enabled by default. This can affect your work if you are going to be managing another server’s backup remotely; in such cases, you should modify the firewall settings in order to accomplish remote management.
- Scheduled backups require a separate, dedicated disk.
- Only NTFS-file formatted volumes on a local disk can be backed up; other file formats are not supported.
- Tape backups are not supported by this tool. The devices supported for backup storage are: external disks, internal disks, shared folders, and DVD’s.
- Backups created by the earlier version of this tool (Ntbackup.exe) cannot be recovered by WS Backup 2008. However, the old tool is still available as a download to meet these purposes of recovery.
WS Backup 2008 is a premier backup and recovery tool for the Windows 2008 server platform. It provides complete backup/recovery function, supporting volumes, files, folders, system state, and specific applications. If you are the owner of a small business or a person looking for a backup solution that can be run without advanced knowledge of technology, this tool would be perfect for you. And if you get stuck anywhere during the process or need some extra help, look at the official step-by-step windows server backup guide at Microsoft's website. They have everything well-documented.