Add-ins & Apps

WHS BDBB

bdbb

Experience Level: Advanced

WHS BDBB (Backup Database Backup) is an add-in which allows the user to backup the WHS client backups.  Using various options of this add-in, one can effectively make up to 4 copies of the client backups.

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.

Developer: Alex Kuretz

More Info: Download | Support Forum | Review

Release History

v1.0.2.2 (25th September 2009)

  • Redesigned method of drive detection for better accuracy
  • Really display TrueCrypt encrypted drives
  • Disable Duplication Options for server with single Storage Hard Drive
  • Disallow backup to non-NTFS formatted drives (needed for 4GB files)
  • Properly handle network shares and usernames with spaces
  • Do syntax checking of network path format (\\server\share)
  • Store Readme in Software\Add-Ins share so user can access it
  • Improved error messages, including start and stop times in the Event Viewer Application logs

v1.0.1.6 (20/04/09)

  • Correctly shows available space for Server Storage
  • Correctly displays TrueCrypt encrypted drives
  • Automatically backs up the Client Registry keys necessary to properly link the backups with the Client PCs
  • Automatically backs up the entire WHS.reg in case the user wants to manually restore part or all of the registry
  • Prompts user to restore the backed up Client Registry keys when restoring the Backup DB
  • Supports backup and restore to network locations, including UNC and Samba shares

v1.0.0.4

  • Current Release
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Terry Walsh is the founder of We Got Served. He started the community in February 2007 with a mission to help families, tech enthusiasts everywhere figure out the technology needed to run the modern home and small business. He's the author of a number of guides to Windows, Windows Server and OS X Server and runs his own successful publishing business. Born and raised in Liverpool, England, Terry has been awarded Microsoft's prestigious Most Valuable Professional Award each year since 2008 for his work on We Got Served.
  • Len

    can you use this to backup the entire server to a NAS ?

  • Andrei

    Using it and it’s fine, but how do you remove a network share (\\comp\dir) added which I do not use any more??

    • Len, this is strictly for the Windows Home Server Backup Database.

      Andrei, the only current way to remove added network shares is to restart the Server Console or reboot the server.

  • SLINGWING

    Looks like a great tool but, how about an automatic backup for the server its’ self?

    WHS unlike Server 2003 will not allow for an automatic backup of the server. You can configure one for a manual backup but that is the extent. It looks like WHS is a stripped version of Server2003. At work we have server backup scheduled daily and it has been used to rebuild our server on more than one occasion. Would that be nice to have the same functionality as 2003 incorporated into WHS?

  • Gaymon Wright

    Almost pointless without automated db backup? I can turn on duplication for the whs backups with this, but then I still have to manually run the db backup every day (after each nights backups)?

  • Zuntar

    If you keep your data locally on each PC, use the shared folders AND use duplication (storage space is CHEAP) you should not need to backup your database each night.

  • Gaymon Wright

    I have a WHS with 5 drives and am using the “Enable Duplication For WHS Backups” option only. If I have a complete failure of my WHS system disk will I be able to recover my backup database with this to a new installation of WHS? Thanks!

  • @Gaymon – Yes, you should be able to do a Server Reinstall and your Backup DB should be intact. However, note that if for some reason your Backup DB becomes corrupted you are now duplicating a corrupt DB and do not have a good backup. This is why I advocate periodic backups instead of the Duplication option.

    • Gaymon Wright

      Alex,

      Let me clarify. If I “enable duplication for whs backups” then I gain protection against a data drive failing, Correct?

      But I am still going to lose all my backups if my system drive fails and I have to reinstall, correct? In order to protect me from this, I would have to do a manual bdbb backup, correct? I don’t see any way of reloading the duplicated whs backup, only the bdbb backup… It was my understanding a server install will delete any whs backups it finds.

      Then of of course duplicating the bdbb backup with “enable duplication for bdbb backups” would protect it against the failure of a data drive, correct?

      I’d love to have a feature to automate the bdbb backups if all the above is correct.

      • If you duplicate the WHS Backups, then your data should be safe in the event of a drive failure, even if it is the system disk that fails. Duplication means that the data is stored on more than one disk, so WHS should be able to recover that data during the Server Recovery process. WHS does not specifically seek out and delete WHS backups during the recovery process.

        Duplication of BDBB backups only applies if you are making BDBB backups to Server Storage. In that case, yes, your BDBB backup should be safe from disk failure.

  • Robert

    Ever since PP3 came out, the BDBB options for duplicating WHS Backups and BDBB backups now say unsupported. My backup size is a lot smaller than used to be with BDBB. Do I need to reinstall it after PP3?

  • I’ll ask you to create a topic in the Troubleshooting forum at http://www.mediasmartserver.net for most effect troubleshooting. Did you update BDBB recently? This check for duplication options was implemented in the most recent release and is designed to prevent misleading feedback when a single drive is in the server. If you post in the forums, a screenshot of your Storage tab and the BDBB gui would be helpful.

  • Chad

    How often should I run this?

  • Matt

    Alex, you recommend periodic backups using BDBB, and I agree. How can I do this?
    I’m using BDBB and CrashPlan to set up reciprocal offsite backup, between two WHS boxes, in two different residences. I’m doing offsite backup in case of two potential (very unhappy) scenarios: my house burns down, or my house gets ransacked and all desktop computers and servers are gone. In either case, ALL of my significant storage devices are gone. That’s why I do offsite.
    CrashPlan is easily configured for periodic backups, but BDBB is not. Do you have a recommended approach for automated periodic BDBB backups, or is this a feature on the way?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Matt, thanks for comments and questions. Unfortunately the WHS Backups DB files change very frequently (at least every Backup Cleanup which runs weekly) and so are not conducive to incremental backup. This means you’d be pushing the entire DB every time which can be hundreds of gigabytes or more.

      It’s feasible to consider doing a scheduled backup to local attached storage, but I think any kind of off-site network backup would be too slow to be useful.

      • Chad

        So is there a way to setup a schedule of some sort for BDBB?

        • Currently there is no way to set up a scheduled backup using BDBB. I’ve not implemented it due to the issues I mention above.

  • Matt

    Thanks!

    This brings a follow-up question:
    How about incremental backups of *only* the most recent backup, rather than the entire set of backups in the BDB? Is this feasible? Wouldn’t that be more conducive to incremental chained backup over the ‘net?

    • The backup is in a database format comprised of many 4GB files, it’s not an open filesystem that can be easily compared.

  • dvn/Rich

    I used BDBB to import backups from a frankenbuild to my new EX495. It worked perfectly! Good stuff, Alex.

  • ImTheTypeOfGuy

    Is it possible to add functionality to backup the WHS sys drive? This is the biggest hole I currently see when it comes to backing up data.

  • Mel

    I’m using the WHS as a small business server. We’re all working off the server, as we don’t want to have multiple files of each client on every computer… and then try to figure out who has the most recent file. So I am currently left to do a manual backup of the server every day so that in case we accidentally save over a file that we need, I can go back and grab it from a previous back up. I do have the files automatically duplicating, but again that doesn’t help if we save over the wrong file.

    So my question is, can this automatically do the backups for the server (as the option is not available on whs and I have to do it manually)?

    • No, this Add-In is strictly for creating and restoring backups of the WHS Client Backup database.

  • Paul

    Mel, you have the ability to retrieve old copes of files or folders from WHS shares by right clciking the file or folder and selecting the previous versions tab, but this may not go far enough for what you need. It’s probably good enough if you realise you overwrote or deleted the wrong file but maybe no a couple of weeks later.

    I use iDrive on my server to backup my shares data online and encrypted (not practical for backup data as explained) which keeps the last 30 versions of my file (at no extra cost).

    The main problem is it doesn’t integrate with the WHS console so has to be run from the server itself or a remote desktop connection. It costs abot $50 a year for 120GB which is the best deal I found and does continuous as well as daily backups (so a file gets backup as soon as it changes) and I have the peace of mind knowing that my data is safe even if my house and all my pcs are toast.. It did take a couple of weeks to make the first copy on my slow ADSL connection, although they do now offer the option of sending them a drive with your data on. I’ve used it with no real problems for about 18 months now. I also backup to an external drive because I’m paranoid.

  • Paul

    Sorry, justt checked my facts. Its $50 for 150GB or $150 for 500GB (per year) or you can p[ay monthly which is more expensive but as my music collection and fmaily photos and videos have been built over decaudes I think it”s worth it for the insurance/assurance.

    Oh, BTW I have no connection with iDrive other than being a customer. I’m in the UK, they are in the ‘States.

  • Paul

    Getting back on topic. Alex, I wonder if you can give me some advice:

    I’m writing my own database backup utility to addresses a couple of limitations with your utility (but I’m not integrating it with WHS Console).

    Do you know how you can detect if WHS is backing up a client or running a backup cleanup so I don’t shutdown the WHSBackup service whilst these operations are running.

    And secondly, your utility does more than just copying the files, it also creates a registry hive backup and an XML file. Can yopu explain to me how these are used in a restore as they don’t seem to be covered by the MS white paper on WHS Backup.

    Many thanks.
    Paul

    • Hi Paul,

      First, a point – VSS is disabled on OEM home servers so the previous poster cannot count on this functionality for previous versions. I recommend regular shared folder backups of critical shares, or online backup to protect your critical data from catastrophic incidents like fire/flood/theft.

      As to your backup questions:

      – There is discussion in both the BDBB Readme and the Wiki article on my site, including links to more discussion of the registry keys.

      – Look into the WHS SDK for how to query if backups are active. Or, don’t run your script inside the maintenance window (Defined as the backup times in the server console)

      – There is a discussion in my forums on how to automate the backups of the client DB and server shares via robocopy or xcopy.

      If you have further questions I’ll ask you to post in my forums, I’m active there and only occasionally check here.

      Thanks,
      Alex

  • Andy

    This is the missing link to WHS, as if the server and or one or more of the computers backed up were damaged say in a fire then why bother backing up……Now all info can be backed up and safely stored on an external drive away from the home server! BRILLIANT many thanks

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