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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:42 pm 
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Update: This version has been replaced by a newer release that includes bug fixes and new features. Please see this topic to get the new version

I'd like to announce the public Beta of a new Add-In called WHS Backup Database-Backup (WHSBDBB), which allows the user to backup the WHS Backup Database which stores all your client PC backups. This is a feature MS promised back at CES 2008 but failed to deliver in PP1, which was a big disappointment to a lot of us. I basically automated the manual steps defined in the WHS Backup documentation available here.

Update: Microsoft has superseded the pdf with a new docx format here. A mirror of the original PDF can be found here.

NOTE: Part of the process documented by MS is to disable the WHS Backup service while backing up the DB, this means you will get a RED health alert while running a BDBB backup or restore.

NOTE: Backing up to Server Storage can end up consuming much of your "Landing Zone" due to a "by design feature" of WHS PP1. Read more about that here.

This Add-In has been through a private Beta here on the MediaSmartServer.net forums, and I now consider this to be a public beta, where I'm soliciting feedback from the MSS and WHS user community.

The zip file containing the .msi installer, Readme.txt, and a screenshot is available for download here:
No longer supported, please download the updated version linked at the top of this post.

And here's the full Readme.

Title: WHS BDBB (Backup Database-Backup)
Version: 1.0.0.4 Beta
Date: 8/11/2008
Author: Alex "Big Al" Kuretz
http://www.mediasmartserver.net

Copyright (c) 2008 Alex Kuretz

WHAT IS WHS BDBB
================
WHS BDBB is an Add-In for the Microsoft Windows Home Server Operating System.

WHS BDBB is designed to allow the user to easily backup the BackupDatabase
created by Windows Home Server, which contains the bacups of all Client PC's
in the home. This is an automation of the steps defined in the WHS Backup
documentation, which can be found here:
http://download.microsoft.com/download/ ... Backup.pdf

This is a feature that MS promised to be part of Power Pack 1 back in January
2008 at CES, however failed to deliver.

Note: Creating and restoring the backups can take a VERY LONG TIME. Be aware
that you are copying potentially hundreds of gigabytes, this may take hours.


DISCLAIMER - PLEASE ACTUALLY READ THIS!
==========
This is a feature that was NOT released by Microsoft, and I cannot guarantee
that this will work for you! I simply automated the steps documented by
Microsoft.

The Duplication features utilize an undocumented setting of WHS, and as such
are not supported by Microsoft.


CREDITS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
============================
Shouts to all my homies at the http://www.mediasmartserver.net forums.


INSTALLATION
============
Install WHS BDBB by copying the WHSBDBB.msi file to the
Software\Addins share of your Windows Home Server.

Start the Windows Home Server Console, select Settings, then Add-Ins. Select
WHS BDBB from the Available tab, and click "Install".


UPGRADING
==========
To upgrade from a previous version of WHS BDBB, please uninstall
the previous version via the Add-Ins settings tab of the WHS Console, then
follow the normal Installation instructions.


CONFIGURATION
=============
Simply install, enable duplication if you have tons of disk space,
and create/restore your backups.


FEATURES
========
* Enable duplication for the WHS computer backup database
* Enable duplication of Backups created by BDBB stored in Server Storage
* Backup the WHS Backup Database to an Application Folder within the WHS
server storage, a WHS Backup drive, or another drive connected to the server
* Restore backups created by BDBB


KNOWN ISSUES
============
* Canceling a backup can take a while (several minutes), as the copy of the
current 4GB chunk must complete before the cancel can be completed.
* Your server is under a heavy load during this process, and so may have
decreased performance for streaming, slow Console response, etc.
* While relatively simple in design and application, this software has not been
tested very extensively, so please report bugs and feedback!
* English is currently the only supported language, though this add-in should
install and work correctly on non-English versions of WHS.

UNDERSTANDING WHS BDBB
================
Thanks to forum member rbarratt for the below section that details BDBB.

Windows Home Server Backup Database (WHS BDB). This is the database that WHS creates when you enable and schedule backups of your client machines. It contains all of the backups for each of the client machines so that if one were to fail you could restore it using WHS. WHS only creates one copy of this Database and it is stored in the WHS storage pool.

Enable Duplication For WHS Backups. Checking this box modifies WHS so that it duplicates the WHS BD in the same way that folder duplication works. The duplicated copy of the WHS DB is stored on a different disk (just like folder duplication) so that if one of your disks fails then you will not lose the backups of each of your client machines.

Backup. This button allows you to create an entirely new copy of the WHS BD in a location of your choosing, either the server storage pool or an external hard disk drive.

Enable Duplication For BDBB Backups. Checking this box modifies WHS so that it also creates a duplicate of the copy of the WHS BD that you created when you clicked the Backup button.

If you check both boxes, and create a copy of the WHS BD into the server storage then you will end up with:
1. The original WHS BD and a duplicate of it.
2. The copy of the original WHS BD that you created and a duplicate of it.

Restore. This button allows you to restore to your home server the Backup Database you created when you clicked the Backup button.

Delete. This button allows you to delete the copy/s of the WHS BD you made when you clicked the Backup button.

FUTURE PLANS
============
No future plans at this time.

_________________
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Remote Notification: Monitoring and alerting for your Home Server via email, Twitter, text message, RSS, push notifications, and on your Mac desktop
Have you tried our Add-Ins? If so, be sure to Rate them at WeGotServed.


Last edited by yakuza on Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:30 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:18 am 
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Thank you for this work.

Ben


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:47 am 
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Can this add-in be configured to back-up or duplicate the back-ups to a NAS device or will it only back-up to a HDD attached to the MSS?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:54 am 
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Thank you Alex for another long awaited add-in.

I've installed it and activated duplication for WHSBackup. But I had a spare external drive which is only 80GB. Through RDP, examining the file system shows that the backup folder is 142GB, so I guess it cannot be backed-up to the external drive.

My question is, how can I tell if I have enough room to backup the backup if the add-in doesn't show what is the size of the WHSbackup to backup?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:02 am 
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cavediver wrote:
Can this add-in be configured to back-up or duplicate the back-ups to a NAS device or will it only back-up to a HDD attached to the MSS?


Only HDDs that are either part of the Server Storage pool, or connected to the server as Server Backup drives or non-storage drives (not part of WHS but formatted and assigned a drive letter).

I'll keep the idea open of a network backup target for a future release, if feasible....

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Remote Notification: Monitoring and alerting for your Home Server via email, Twitter, text message, RSS, push notifications, and on your Mac desktop
Have you tried our Add-Ins? If so, be sure to Rate them at WeGotServed.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:04 am 
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VieuxJules wrote:
Thank you Alex for another long awaited add-in.

I've installed it and activated duplication for WHSBackup. But I had a spare external drive which is only 80GB. Through RDP, examining the file system shows that the backup folder is 142GB, so I guess it cannot be backed-up to the external drive.

My question is, how can I tell if I have enough room to backup the backup if the add-in doesn't show what is the size of the WHSbackup to backup?


You don't need RDP to view the backup size, when you click the "Backup" button, the resulting pop-up will show you the size of the backup. It'll also inform you that there is insufficient space on the Backup Target drive.

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Remote Notification: Monitoring and alerting for your Home Server via email, Twitter, text message, RSS, push notifications, and on your Mac desktop
Have you tried our Add-Ins? If so, be sure to Rate them at WeGotServed.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:33 am 
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Great. Evidently, works exactly as you described.
I'll have to get a bigger drive. Thanks.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:45 am 
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In the meantime if you have plenty of storage, you can backup to the Server Storage pool. This will provide you with a backup on the local filesystem in case the DB gets corrupted, until you get another backup drive.

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Have you tried our Add-Ins? If so, be sure to Rate them at WeGotServed.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 5:48 pm 
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Alex, I'm experimenting a problem with the add-in. As you suggested, I tried to backup the backup DB to the local storage. At exactly 3% of backing up, a message popped out (the message is in French) says something like: "the backup service is not executing". So I had to cancel the BBDB. In the Computers & Back-up tile all computers showed "unknown". So I repaired the Back-up DB. Everything came back to normal. So I tried again with different options but same thing at 3%.

Update: At the last try, I waited a bit more and the BBDB resumed. Now it is at 26% completed. I'll wait 'till it's completed, and will verify if the Backup DataBase still needs repair. Whatever happens, I'll report back.

Here is the image:


Attachments:
WHS BDBB.jpg
WHS BDBB.jpg [ 95.87 KiB | Viewed 84651 times ]

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:14 pm 
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To: Alex I say " Thanks for another great add-on"

To: The ones who thought that there was no need to upgrade CPU
I say " Nah Nah Na Boo Boo!"

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:16 pm 
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VieuxJules

I think the warning is about back up service being turned off during Backup Backup of the Backup. :lol: Say that three times fast.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:25 pm 
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CBick wrote:
I think the warning is about back up service being turned off during Backup Backup of the Backup. Say that three times fast.


Seems a reasonable explanation. It is now at 53% complete. Answer later on.

Use acronyms you can then say it very fast BBDB.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:26 pm 
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I wonder if it would be possible to create an exception for Remote notification to ignore the warning if caused by BDBBR?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:54 pm 
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Well, Backup of BDB is complete.

But, the clients' backup database needed to be repaired. Again messages in French, but I'm sure you can figure it out (sauvegarde = backup).


Attachments:
WHS BDBB repair.jpg
WHS BDBB repair.jpg [ 49.86 KiB | Viewed 84590 times ]

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:38 pm 
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VieuxJules wrote:
Alex, I'm experimenting a problem with the add-in. As you suggested, I tried to backup the backup DB to the local storage. At exactly 3% of backing up, a message popped out (the message is in French) says something like: "the backup service is not executing". So I had to cancel the BBDB. In the Computers & Back-up tile all computers showed "unknown". So I repaired the Back-up DB. Everything came back to normal. So I tried again with different options but same thing at 3%.

Update: At the last try, I waited a bit more and the BBDB resumed. Now it is at 26% completed. I'll wait 'till it's completed, and will verify if the Backup DataBase still needs repair. Whatever happens, I'll report back.

Here is the image:


In the Home Server Backup document I reference in the Help and the Readme, they outline the manual steps for performing the backup, one of which is turning off the WHS Backup and PDL services. Canceling the backup or restarting the service could cause the error you see.

Are you by any chance within the backup window? I have seen this happen before, it occurred on my development system when I was doing the BDBB backup during the WHS backup window.

Edit: Another thought, can you check the Event Log on the server and see if there are any error messages from BDBB? Also, please check the Services control panel and see if the names are "PDL" and "WHSBackup" for those two services. I doubt they are localized, but it'd be good to make sure.

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