Image-Based Backup Plan

Image-Based Backup feature allows you to take a snapshot of an entire operating system with all the data associated with it including the system state and all the application configurations and just save it as a single file called "image".

With this feature, you can recover the operating system on your users' computers right from the system image file as it was at the moment of the last run of the image-based backup plan. Currently, the image-based backup plan is the most reliable way to back up everything on a computer. It is an efficient way to prevent possible consequences of a system crash that happen to occur on servers and workstations from time to time.

This chapter covers the following topics:

Image-Based Backup Overview

Image-Based Backup features are:

  • Flexible partition selection for backup: all, system required, or user selected partitions
  • Direct backup to cloud (no local space is required)
  • Block-level backup
  • Synthetic Full backup
  • Restore to dissimilar hardware
  • Restore directly from a cloud or USB flash drive
  • Recover individual files from Image-Based Backup (item-level restore)
  • Restore to Hyper-V or to ESXi Host
  • Restore to Cloud (Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure VM)

Supported for:

  • Windows Server 2008/2008 R2, Windows Server 2012/2012 R2/2016/2019, Windows 7/8/10/11

Required License:

Create Image-Based Backup Plan

To Create an Image-Based Backup Plan

  1. Open the Management Console.
  2. In the RMM menu, select the Remote Management item.
  3. In the computer list, find the computer you want the image-based plan to be created, then click the gear icon.
  4. Select Show Plans.
  5. In the side panel, click +, then select the Image-Based item.
  6. Follow the backup wizard steps.

Backup Wizard steps:

  1. Plan Name
  2. Where to Backup
  3. What to Backup
  4. Advanced Options
  5. Compression & Encryption
  6. Retention Policy
  7. Schedule Options
  8. Pre / Post Actions
  9. Notifications

Plan Name

Name the backup plan and specify if you want the backup plan configuration to be saved on backup storage. This may be needed in case you want to restore the backup plan configuration on another instance. If having the configuration on the user computer and in the Management Console is enough, leave the Save backup plan configuration to the backup storage check box unselected.

Click Next to proceed.

Where to Backup

At first, select the backup plan type:

  • To back up files and folders directly to the backup storage (local or cloud), select the Local or Cloud Backup option
  • To back up files and folders first to local storage with the subsequent backup to cloud storage, select the Hybrid Backup option

Select a target backup storage for the backup plan. If no storage accounts are available, create a new one. Refer to Add New Storage Account to learn how to do it.

In case you selected local storage for this backup plan or hybrid backup type, make sure if there is enough free space on the target storage

It is not recommended to select long-term storage for image-based backups. Note that long-term storages have several limitations: in case of a restore data retrieval can take up to several hours and data retrieval charges may apply. Also, keep in mind that in some cases your backup data can be moved to long-term storage according to the specified lifecycle policy. Learn more about your storage provider lifecycle policies:

Once you selected backup storage, click Next.

What to Backup

Select one of available options for partitions.

Note that the Back up selected partitions only option is not available in case you are creating plan for configuration using Remote Deploy under RMM

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. 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
  • Back up all partitions. Select this option to include all available partitions at the moment of backup

Note that once this option is selected, all connected drives at the moment of the backup plan run will be backed up and the backup plan will be successfully completed. Thus, if some drives were disconnected for some reason, or some drives were added, they will be backed up 'as is' at the moment of a backup plan execution

  • Back up selected partitions only. Select this option to configure the partition list manually

Note that selected partitions must include all 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 with subsequent operating system loading

For each partition you can enable or disbale two options:

  • Use VSS. With this option enabled, a Volume Shadow Copy Service is applied for the volume
  • Keep BitLocker. /backup-and-restore/about-backup/bitlocker-encrypted-volumes

Note that if you have system partitions encrypted with BitLocker, it is highly recommended not to use BitLocker encryption to back them up. Instead, you can use the built-in encryption of Backup for Windows.

This recommendation comes because image-based backups can be corrupted if a partition is BitLocker-encrypted. For these partitions, VSS (Volume Shadow Copy) is not available. This can cause the following issues on restore: the operating system may not start properly and result in a BSOD message BAD_SYSTEM_CONFIG_INFO

Click Next.

Advanced Options

Specify the advanced options for the backup plan.

Note: Available advanced options depend on selected backup storage

  • 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

Note that the enabled Disable VSS, use direct access to NTFS volume option overrides the Use VSS settings made on the What To Back Up step

  • 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 MSP360 (CloudBerry) Backup

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

A block is a minimum unit of information that can be processed at a time when preparing a backup.

When you need to perform a block-level backup over a disk containing several terabytes of data, you can speed up the backup processing by increasing the block size (see below).

  • Block size. Specify the amount of data to process at a time.

    • 128 Kb
    • 256 Kb
    • 512 Kb
    • 1 Mb (default).

  • Use S3 Transfer Acceleration (available only for Amazon S3 backup storage). Use this option to accelerate file transfer for an extra fee. The target bucket must have this feature enabled. Select this check box if you want to use the data transfer acceleration service provided by Amazon. To learn more, refer to the Amazon S3 Transfer Acceleration documentation
  • Select the Amazon S3 storage class to be used in the backup plan in the Storage Class drop-down menu (available only for Amazon storage backup destinations)
  • Select the S3 storage class for the backup plan (available for Amazon S3 only). You can use different storage classes for different backup needs. Learn more about Amazon S3 storage classes:

  • Archive Blob Storage (available only for Azure Blob Storage backup 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 (available only for Azure Blob Storage backup 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 account type, 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.

Compression & Encryption

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 Enable encryption check box. Application supports AES encryption of 128, 192 and 256 bit key length. Select the appropriate key length in the Algorithm drop-down menu

  • Specify the strong encryption password in the Password field, then confirm the password in the Confirm field. To display password, select Display password check box

  • Use Server Side Encryption (available for Amazon S3 storage only). Select this check box to enable encryption of your backup contents

    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

Click Next.

Retention Policy

Specify the retention policy for the backup plan.

The following options are available:

  • Use default options specified for the whole product. Select this option to apply the default retention policy.
  • Specify custom retention policy for plan. Select this option to limit the period while backup contents are kept in the backup storage, then specify the number of versions to keep.

Click Next.

Schedule Options

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 particular date and time, select the Specific date option, then specify the date and time you want your backup plan to be run
  • If you want the backup plan to run on a constant periodic basis, select Recurring (predefined templates) option or Recurring (advanced)
  • 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 alert plan as overdue if the backup plan takes more time than the last successful backup, select Alert plan as overdue after check box, then specify the time interval.
  • Select Run missed scheduled plan immediately when computer starts up option to run missed plans

Click Next.

Simple Schedule Options

The Simple Recurring Options step helps you to configure backup frequency:

Click Next.

Advanced Schedule Options

The Advanced Schedule step helps you to fine-tune backup frequency:

  • Enable the frequency for the selected backup type and configure the schedule. You can use the predefined settings or change them.

Click Next.

Pre/Post Actions

Specify the actions to be executed before and/or after the backup plan run.

  • Select Synchronize local repository with backup storage before plan runs check box if you want your locale repository database to be synchronized with the backup storage
  • To specify the action that will be performed before the backup plan starts, select Execute this command before backup runs: check box.
  • In the field below, specify the path to the script to be executed before the backup plan.
  • Specify the conditions of the script's execution:
    • Exit backup if pre-backup action fails option if you do not want the backup plan to run if the pre-backup script fails
    • Select Continue backup plan if pre-backup action failed option if you want the backup plan to launched regardless of the pre-backup script execution result
  • To specify the action that will be performed after the backup plan is completed, select Execute this command after backup completes: check box
    • Select Execute post-backup action if backup has been successfully completed option if you want to run it only if the backup plan is successfully completed
    • Select Execute post-backup action in any case (regardless the backup result) option if you want the script to execute regardless of the backup plan execution results
  • To chain the backup plan with another plan, select Execute following plan after backup completes: check box, then select the plan name in the drop-down menu
    • Select Execute the specified plan only if backup has been successfully completed option if you want to run the specified plan only if the backup plan has been successfully completed
    • Select Execute the specified plan regardless of the backup result option if you want to run the chained backup plan regardless of the current backup plan execution results.

Click Next.

Notifications

Specify the notification settings. You can use the company settings or customize them.

Select the Specified Email check box to add one or more recipients. Separate them by semicolon or comma, the recipient name (one for all of them).

If you want the backup plan record to be added to Windows Event Log, select Add entry to Windows Event Log when backup completes check box

  • Select When backup fails option if you want to receive the notification message 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.

The image-based backup plan is about to be created. You can browse the wizard steps to review the configuration of the backup plan, if necessary.

Click Save to finish the wizard.

This backup plan will be started automatically on a schedule, or you can start it manually. The backup plan can be run in the background, but the target computer must be up and running.

Run Backup Plan

To Run the Existing Backup Plan

  1. In the RMM menu, select the Remote Management item.
  2. Find a required computer, then click the Settings icon.
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Show Plans.
  4. In the side panel, find the plan to run, then click on it.
  5. Click the Play button.

Force Full Backup

To Force Full Backup

  1. In the RMM menu, select the Remote Management item.
  2. Find a required computer, then click the Settings icon.
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Show Plans.
  4. In the side panel, find the plan to run, then click on it.
  5. Open the drop-down menu next to the Play button, then click Force Full Backup.

To configure regular full backup settings, refer to the Schedule step of the backup wizard

Edit Backup Plan

To Edit the Existing Backup Plan

  1. In the RMM menu, select the Remote Management item.
  2. Find a required computer, then click the gear icon.
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Show Plans.
  4. Click on the plan you want to edit, then click Edit.
  5. Once you made the required changes, click Save.

Clone Backup Plan

To Clone the Existing Backup Plan

  1. In the RMM menu, select the Remote Management item.
  2. Find a required computer, then click the gear icon.
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Show Plans.
  4. Click on the plan you want to edit, then click Clone.
  5. In the field below, specify the name for the plan clone.
  6. Click Save.

Delete Backup Plan

To Delete the Existing Backup Plan

  1. In the RMM menu, select the Remote Management item.
  2. Find a required computer, then click the gear icon.
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Show Plans.
  4. Click on the plan you want to delete, then click Delete.
  5. In the dialog box, click OK to confirm the deletion.