Image-Based Backup Plan (New Backup Format)

Image-based backup is a backup type that features entire storage media backup by creating an image file with storage contents.

Note that in the new backup format, image-based backup plan configuration is always stored in a backup storage

This chapter covers the following topics:

Learn Backup Wizard steps:

Create Backup Plan

To create a new image-based backup plan, select the backup format. To create a plan in the new backup format, click Use New Backup Format. To continue using the current backup format, click Use Current Format.

The Backup Wizard starts.

Select Backup Storage

Select a storage account for the backup plan from the list of available backup storage.

Once you selected backup storage, click Next.

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Plan Name

Specify the name for the backup plan.

Click Next.

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Select Partitions

Select partitions to back up.

The following options are available:

  • Back up only system-required partitions. Select this option to back up only partitions required for the proper functioning of the operating system.
  • Back up all drives. Select this option to include all available drives in your backup

Note that once this option is selected, all connected drives at the moment of the backup plan start will be backed up and the backup plan will report success. Thus, if some drives have been disconnected for some reason, or some drives have been added, they will be backed up 'as is'

  • Back up selected partitions only. Select this option to back up only specific partitions by your choice.

The backup plan scans all drives at every startup for availability. If the backup plan was edited, UseVSS and Keep BitLocker settings are copied from the previous settings

The selected partitions must include system volumes as they contain the information which is necessary for loading the operating system. Without backing up these volumes, you will not be able to restore your disk image properly.

To learn more about using the Keep BitLocker option, refer to the Backing Up BitLocker-Encrypted Volumes section in the Back Up a Disk or Virtual Machine Image chapter.

Click Next.

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Advanced Options

Configure advanced options for the backup plan.

The following options are available:

  • Exclude files/folders. Select this check box to specify files and folders on selected drives to be excluded from the backup plan. Click the Edit files and folders list link to open the dialog box with the file tree:

Advanced Disk Options

Customize additional options. To open these settings, click Advanced Disk Options.

  • Ignore bad sectors. Select this check box to bypass any damaged sectors on backup source disks. Once the volume with bad sectors is restored, these sectors will become empty sectors and you will not be able to read any files that were allocated in these sectors

  • Disable VSS, use direct access to NTFS volume. Select this check box to disable Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). This option may be required when a disk is not used for writing operations and does not have sufficient space to create a VSS snapshot. Basically, this applies to system volumes

  • Use system VSS provider. Select this check box to use the system default VSS provider. It is recommended to use it in case of the presence of any third-party VSS providers installed that may interfere with the proper processing of VSS snapshots made by Backup Agent

  • Prefetch block count. Specify the maximum block number stored in memory for each disk volume.

    A block is a minimum unit of information that the Backup Agent can process at a time when preparing a backup.

Click Next.

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Compression and Encryption Options

Specify compression and encryption options for the backup plan.

The following options are available:

  • Select Enable compression check box to compress backup source contents for optimal backup storage space usage
  • To protect your backup contents with encryption, select the Enable encryption check box. Backup Agent supports AES encryption of 128, 192 and 256 bit key length. Select the appropriate key length in the Algorithm drop-down menu
  • Specify the encryption password in the Password field, then confirm the password in the Confirm field. To display password, select Display password check box

Note that the encryption password will NOT be stored in the backup plan configuration for security reasons. Keep this password in a safe place to be able to restore the backup contents afterward

Particular Options for Amazon S3 Storage

If your backup storage destination is Amazon S3, the following particular options are available on this Backup Wizard step.

  • Server-Side Encryption. Select this check box to enable encryption of your backup content on Amazon cloud storage.

If the Server-Side Encryption option is enabled, specify permissions a user is required to have to be able to access backup contents:

  • Use the Amazon S3 Service master key. Select this option for Amazon S3 decrypts data for anyone who is granted permissions to access this backup content on the cloud
  • Use the Amazon Key Management Service master key. Select this option for Amazon S3 decrypts data for anyone who has the permissions to access this object in the cloud along with permissions to use a specified master key.

To learn more about the Amazon master key, refer to the What is AWS Key Management Service article.

Amazon S3 Storage Classes

If your backup storage destination is Amazon S3, select the S3 storage class for the backup plan:

Using different storage classes for different backups may be needed to optimize your storage costs.

Learn more about Amazon S3 storage classes here

Microsoft Azure Blob Storage

If your backup storage destination is Microsoft Azure, select the required Azure Blob Storage.

The following options are available:

  • Archive Blob Storage. This is a low-cost storage option for infrequently accessed data. As opposed to hot and cool storage tiers, retrieving data from an Archive Blob Storage may take up to several hours
  • Cool Blob Storage. The cool storage tier has lower storage costs and higher access costs compared to hot storage. This tier is intended for data that will remain in the cool tier for at least 30 days.

Note that this feature is only supported for General Purpose v2 Azure accounts. If you are using another kind of account, you need to upgrade your account to be able to use this feature

Be aware of the additional charges and increased blob access rates after your Azure account upgrade

To learn more about the difference between Azure storage tiers, refer to the Azure Blob Storage - Hot, cool, and archive storage tiers article at docs.microsoft.com.

Click Next.

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Consistency Check and Restore Verification

Specify if a full consistency check is required for this backup plan.

Restore verification is an auxiliary restore plan that retrieves only necessary backup parts from backup storage, mounts a Hyper-V virtual machine on the fly, then performs a system logon.

To learn more about Restore Verification, refer to the Restore Verification chapter

Select the restore verification running options:

  • Do not Run Restore Verification. Select this option to run restore verification manually
  • Run for Full only. Select this option to run restore verification for full backups only. You can manage a schedule for full and incremental backups on the Schedule step of the Backup Wizard
  • Run for Incremental only. Select this option to run restore verification for incremental backups only. You can manage a schedule for full and incremental backups on the Schedule step of the Backup Wizard
  • Run for Full and Incremental. Select this option to run restore verification for both backup types

Click Next.

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Schedule

Specify the backup plan schedule settings.

The following options are available:

  • If you intend to run the backup plan manually, select No schedule option
  • If you intend the backup plan to run on a constant periodic basis using custom settings, select Recurring (Incremental) option
  • If you want to rotate full and incremental backups in a custom way, select the Execute Full Backup check box. Note that this option is not available if no schedule is specified for incremental backups
  • To stop the backup plan in case if it continues suspiciously long, select Stop the plan if it runs for check box, then specify the backup plan maximum duration
  • To run the backup plan after the computer is on in case the backup plan run has been missed, select Run missed scheduled backup immediately when computer starts up check box.

Click Next.

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Retention Policy and GFS Settings

Specify the retention policy and GFS retention policy for the backup plan. The GFS retention policy delays purge for specific restore points that are stored for archive purposes.

To learn more about retention policy, refer to the Retention Policy chapter

The following options are available:

  • Do not purge. Select this option to keep all your backup runs
  • Keep backup for. Select this option to limit the period while backup contents are kept in the backup storage, then specify the period.

To apply the GFS retention policy for the backup plan, select the Enable GFS check box, then customize the GFS retention policy by enabling the required keeping periods (weekly, monthly and yearly purge delays).

To learn more about the GFS retention policy, refer to the About GFS chapter

Click Next.

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Pre / Post Actions

Starting from Management Console version 5.0, pre- or post- actions for Backup Agents can be restricted by provider. To learn more about the pre-/post action settings, refer to the Global Agent Options and Companies chapters

Customize actions before and/or after the backup plan run.

Custom Scripts

You can execute custom scripts before or after running the backup plan.

  • To specify the script execution before the backup plan starts, select the Pre-backup action check box, then specify the path to the script in the field below. To open a standard Windows dialog box, click the ... button
  • Select the pre-backup script execution options:
    • Exit backup plan if pre-backup action failed. Select this option to cancel the backup plan in case the specified script fails
    • Continue backup plan if pre-backup action failed. Select this option to run the backup plan regardless of the specified script execution results
  • To specify the script execution after the backup plan terminates, select the Post-backup action check box, then specify the path to the script in the field below. To open a standard Windows dialog box, click the ... button
  • Select the post-backup script execution options:
    • Execute post-backup action only if backup plan has been successfully completed. Select this option to execute the post-backup script only in case of a backup plan success
    • Execute post-backup action regardless of the backup result. Select this option to execute the post-backup script in any case

Note that an absolute path to a script is required, i.e. if you specify the path to a script, it should be as follows:

c:\scripts\prebackup-script.bat

In case the absolute path to a script file is not specified, the default directory for script is "C:\Windows\System32"

The following script formats are supported: EXE, COM, BAT, CMD, or PIF

Mind that Backup Agent supports EXE files have several restrictions: EXE files must not use GUI and must close automatically upon termination.

For example, the following script will not succeed:

cmd.exe /F:ON

In this case, this command must be used with the /C parameter, as shown below:

cmd.exe /F:ON /C

The same restriction applies to applications executed by PowerShell scripts:

PowerShell.exe Start-Process cmd.exe exit

It is highly recommended to perform a test run for the created backup plan to ensure that Backup Agent properly executes specified scripts

Backup Plan Chains

In case you need to run another backup or restore plan once the backup plan is finished, use the Backup Chain feature. To create a backup chain, select the Backup chain check box, then select a backup or restore plan to be chained.

  • Execute the specified backup plan only if backup plan has been successfully completed. Select this option to execute the chained backup plan only in case of a backup plan success
  • Execute the specified backup plan regardless of the backup result. Select this option to execute the chained backup plan in any case
  • In case you chained a backup plan, you can enable the full backup for it regardless of the contents in the backup storage. To do this, select the Force full backup for the chained plan.

Click Next.

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Notification and Logging

Specify notification settings.

  • To receive the notification after the backup plan completion, select the I want to receive notification email when backup completes check box.
    • Select When backup fails option if you want to receive the notification message only in case of the backup plan failure
    • Select In all cases option if you want to receive the notification message in any case.
  • In the fields Username, Email, Email subject specify the notification email details. You can specify one or more email recipients. Separate them by semicolon or comma, the recipient name (one for all of them). The email subject can also contain any of the following variables:
  • %COMPUTER_NAME% Indicates the name of a computer on which the routine was running
  • %RESULT% Indicates whether the routine was finished successfully or failed

%RESULT% variable has the following values:

  • Completed. This value is assigned when the plan is terminated with success
  • Completed with warnings. This value is assigned when the plan is terminated with errors, warnings or has been interrupted
  • %PLAN_NAME% Indicates the backup plan's name.
  • If you want to use own SMPT server for notification emails, select the I want to use my SMTP server for email notifications check box, then specify the settings for the SMTP server
  • If you want the backup plan record to be added to Windows Event Log, select on Add entry to Windows Event Log when backup completes check box
    • Select When backup fails option if you want to receive the notification message only in case of the backup plan failure
    • Select In all cases option if you want the entry to be put in Windows Event Log in any case.

Click Next.

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Summary

Review the configuration of the backup plan.

Click Next to proceed to the last wizard page.

Select the Run backup now check box to run the backup plan immediately.

If you want to run the backup plan later, leave the Run backup now check box unselected, then click Finish.

Edit a Backup Plan

To edit the backup plan, proceed as follows:

  1. Switch to the Backup Plans tab.
  2. Open the plan to edit, expand it, then click Edit.
  3. Follow the Backup Wizard steps to save the backup plan configuration.

Delete a Backup Plan

To delete the backup plan, proceed as follows:

  1. Switch to the Backup Plans tab.
  2. Open the plan to delete, expand it, then click Delete.
  3. Click Yes to confirm the backup plan deletion.