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Client Computer Backups outside the pool?

edited May 2012 in DrivePool
I notice in one of the stickies, it recommends leaving the backups folder outside of the pool.

Why is this and how important is it?  I wanted to have all my data, including backups, inside one big pool for convenience.  I could dedicate one 2TB drive to backups but, if and when my backups grow beyond this size, I'm screwed and would have to buy more drives, when I may have free space on the others, which were part of the pool.

Basically I'd prefer the flexibility of having the backups folder in the pool but I don't know how 'strong' a recommendation it is to leave it outside.

Comments

  • I'm new to Stablebit and have the same concern and opinion. This is an important purpose for the drive pool IMHO.
  • Member
    The backup database tends to grow quite large and unless you have enough space to turn on duplication I would not recommend having the backup in the pool. The reason is that the backup database is very sensitive to errors. By putting something in the pool the data is spread across all of the hard drives in the pool. If one of the drives fails you loose the parts of the  backup database placed on that disk. Unfortunately the backupdatabase does not like to loose files and you can end up with a non-working backup-database. 

    By spreading the backup-database on say 4 disks you in theory make it 4 times as probable that the database will get corrupted since any of the drives failing will result in some data loss.

    But if you how ever turn on duplication you are immune against single-drive faults.

    It also depends on how important your backups are. For me I have backups of previous OS's and computers that does not even exist anymore. So my database is quite important.

  • Member
    Thanks for the info.

    I appreciate the risks involved but I think the flexibility is worth it for me.  I only tend to store backups of current machines, so the backup database is only there in case a drive in one of the clients dies.  Whilst there's a chance I could lose some or all of the backup database if a server drive goes, the chance of this happening at exactly the same time as a client drive dies is remote.

    I'm also planning to keep a copy of the backup database on a removable drive, as I did with WHSv1, although I'm not sure how to go about this yet or whether I can just copy the files like before.
  • This is good information. Might it be best to forget having WHS do the backups natively and just use Windows Backup or Acronis or other 3-rd party software do a backup to the pooled drives? A bit like having an NAS...

    The one time I tried to use WHS to recover data it seemed quite slow and I eventually used another backup on a stand-alone drive that was backed up using 3rd party software. I feel better having redundant backups anyway. Maybe the WHS backup is not that important, given this vulnerability to pooled drive failure, although I must say WHS backup was the original reason for employing it.
  • Resident Guru
    It all depends how any given backup solution stores its snapshots. If it uses multiple (x>2) files for any one snapshot, it's going to risk the same problem. Acronis, for example, is "safe" as it stores images as a single file (depending on how you configure it).

    This is a solvable problem if we can control which drives in the pool store the backup file set, but that's not a feature in DP 1.0 (it's an extra layer of complexity and Alex - wisely - wanted to start by keeping things simple and straightforward).
  • Member
    Not using WHS's backup defeats the whole object for me.  The single reason I use WHS rather than any other type of server is because the backup system is so convenient.

    There's also the issue of single-instance storage.  It's all very well taking backups of individual machines using Windows Backup or Acronis or whatever, but you'll end up with shedloads more data.  With WHS, all the common data between the machines (i.e. 99% of the operating system) is only stored once, which is how I've managed to backup seven different machines and only take up 1.8GB in the process.
  • Member
    Incidentally, and I know this is a general WHS question rather than a DrivePool one, can I backup the client computer database by simply copying the entire folder to an external drive?

    I know the in-built server backup can do it but that's limited to 2TB drives and my backup database exceeds that.  I can't see any reason why I shouldn't be able to just copy the contents of the folder.  I'll also be backing up the entire server OS itself as that's running in a VM so I'll just keep a copy of the VHD itself.
  • Resident Guru
    Yes, WHS Backup does have some nice features.

    Re copying the folder to an external drive, I suspect that would be fine (so long as you weren't making that backup while any client/server backups were ongoing) but there might be "fine print" involved when restoring it (i.e. what else does WHS depend on to understand those files). But if you're basically restoring the entire OS to the same point in time, that's presumably moot.

    Shorter answer: sorry, don't know, I can only speculate. Anybody else who does know, please chip in.
  • Member
    Yeah that was my thinking - providing I take a full image of the OS itself (which is easy with a VM), then as long as I have a copy of the Client Backups folder too, I should be fine.
  • IanIan
    Member
    Ok so the client backup database is fragile but if you have the space won't putting it in a duplicating pool fix this or is it so fragile that drivepool will have issues. If so wouldn't having multiuser databases on the server also be an issue. Is drivepool very safe or might there be issues with some rapidly changing data?
  • Resident Guru
    Hi Ian, to recap, some people have had problems with the client backup database being in the pool, while others have not. As Paaland stated earlier in the thread, the backup database is very sensitive to errors, but duplication solves the problem of single-drive failure so long as you have the storage capacity.

    To sum up: Try it, but do use duplication. See how you go.

    Re any multiuser databases - as in, SQL etc? In my opinion yes Drivepool's very safe (I have about four terabytes of data on it, both personal and business), but if you're wanting to run a high-performance database keep in mind DrivePool is a virtual layer so there's going to be some kind of performance hit (your mileage will vary). Trial it first.
  • A question regarding this, though perhaps from a slightly different angle.

    Isn't the client backup something that works a bit like time machine (in that the space allotted for backup is used up, and once the space is used up, older "versions" of things get deleted).  In the "infinite" world that is the pool, wouldn't the client backups become something of a "growth" and take over the space with unnecessarily old versions of backups?

    It is with this thought in mind that I have a 2TB drive for client backups and a 500GB for Server OS backups.

    Thoughts on this?
  • Resident Guru
    Client backups have a limited number of snapshots (configurable in "Additional client computer backup tasks") so there should be a corresponding limit to the total size consumed.

    Server backups don't seem to have this limitation, but also cannot use the pool as a target location.
  • edited July 2012 Member
    Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I have a related question.  My HP EX490 WHS came with a 1TB drive.  When I upgraded to WHS 2011 I left this as the primary OS drive and partitioned the rest which is in the DrivePool.  This is the drive that contains my client backups which are not in the pool.  My client backups are about 850GB so effectively the entire drive is full and I am getting a low space warning (which automatically shuts down the client backup service).  I also have a 1.5 TB hard drive installed in the server (in the DrivePool) and have a 2 TB drive on order that will be here next week.

    I suppose that my options are:

    1) to move the client computer backups into the DrivePool (sounds like that is not the preferred solution)

    2) to use the new 2TB Drive as my primary drive (by moving the OS, and partitioning the rest for my client backups and pool space - giving me much more room for client backups).

    3) to move the client backups to the new 2TB drive.  The new drive would be part of the pool but I would still not place the client backup folder in the pool.

    Number 3 would seem to be the easiest/best solution but can you simply move the client backup folder?  My fear is that it will cause path issues/complications.

    Any advice or suggestions are greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

  • Resident Guru
    Hmm. I would choose either Option 3 or perhaps an Option 4: add the new 2TB drive to the pool, then remove the 1.5TB drive from the pool and move the backups to the 1.5TB drive. And yes, you can simply move the client backup folder.

    I am also curious as to why your backup folder is 850GB, since I was under the impression WHS's client backup has block level de-duping. Do you have a large snapshot limit, and/or a large amount of client-side files that can't be kept in the pool instead?
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