Windows Server Backup

Technology Overview, April 25, 2019

A newly provided feature in the Microsoft Windows Server version 2012 is that the WSB or the Windows Server Backup is now having Hyper-V support, which means that, a user can easily make use of it for taking the backups of and also for restoring his VMs or virtual machines that are all running on this Hyper-V. This feature gives the user a total “backup & restore” support and innovative solution for the same that can be very beneficial under certain work environments, like in the case of the SMBs.

Installing MS Windows Server Backup

For installing the MS Windows Server Backup, a user can make use of the following:

  • The Command Line – For using this, a user must run the “start /w ocsetup WindowsServerBackup”
  • The Server Manager – This has been added as one of the features under the “Add/Remove Roles and Features”
  • The Powershell (version 2008 R2) – For using this, the user must run the “Import-Module ServerManager” and after that, he must go to the feature of the “Add-WindowsFeature -Name Backup-features -IncludeAllSubFeature”
  • The Powershell (version 2012) – For using this, the user must run the feature – “Add-WindowsFeature Windows-Server-Backup”

The Windows Server Backup or WSB makes use of the Volume Shadow Copy Service or the VSS for creating a VHDX file that consists of a snapshot of the VM which has to be backed up. This even helps in enabling the Windows Server Backup for taking complete backup of the and flushing all the transaction logs of the databases that are aware of the Volume Shadow copy Service such as Microsoft Exchange or the Active Directory etc., when a user selects the “VSS full backup”, which is definitely not at all selected as a default setting.

The Windows Server Backup makes use of the Volume Shadow Copy Service for managing all the versions of the backup, and because this Volume Shadow copy Service is the “pr-volume,” therefore, it makes unable the Windows Server Backup for maintaining different backup job versions while the user backs up to some network share. This process of backing up some network share helps in overwriting the earlier backup. If the user backs up to his locally-connected, then he can also have different versions. However, when he backs up a virtual machine, he gets a warning that says that – “the virtual machine will be put in the saved state even as the backup is running.” This is however not the case. The virtual machine continues to run nonstop and there will be no notice that the user is backing that up.

Backup of a Virtual Machine

The primary command for backing up a virtual machine is “wbadmin start backup”.

Restoring a Virtual Machine

Restoring a virtual machine is somewhat harder and more difficult than its backup process. The command usually has multiple options as well as switches. The restoring process consists of locating the backup version required to be restored, and then, which are the items that are within that particular version before the restoration is performed.

Restoring One Single File / Folder

The Windows Server Backup gives simply a snapshot of the virtual machine and the user has to restore either the entire virtual machine or absolutely nothing. However, if the user only requires the restoration of a particular file or a particular folder, then he must find the .VHDX file inside the backup, and then, mount in the disk manager, and after that, he must extract those files from it. As an alternative procedure, the user can also restore the file / folder on the other host that is hyper-v and then boot it up there, for extracting the files/folders.