ShadowProtect and what you can do with a full backup drive

StorageCraft is a world leader in backup software. The main tools are ShadowProtect SPX and ImageManager. These tools combined come together to give you flexibility and peace of mind.

The way ShadowProtect works is that it takes a full copy of your server as it stands right at the start of your backups. From this point on all ShadowProtect needs to back up are the changes that are to made. This process is the magic behind ShadowProtect’s quick backups. So quick in fact, that ShadowProtect can make several backups throughout the day with minimal performance impact.

Now you have one full backup and many hourly backups. At this point, ImageManager steps in and helps out. ImageManager will do two procedures for us. One is to check that the backup created by ShadowProtect is usable. Secondly, ImageManager takes the hourly backups and combines them into one daily file. As backups continue, ImageManager will combine backups into weekly and monthly backups. This procedure of rolling up hourly into daily backups will save you a little space. What’s important here is that ShadowProtect continuously keeps a record of what has changed since the backup started.

Eventually, the drive that holds ShadowProtect’s backup files will fill up. What then? No one would be at fault for thinking that all we need to do is delete the older backups. Problem is we can’t. Take a look at the drawing below. Like Big Ben, your Backups have a foundation that all other backups rely on. What can we do then?

ShadowProtect Backup Example

Option One

If cost is an issue and being able to restore a file from yesterday or last week is not a requirement, we have the option of deleting the current backups and starting the backups all over again.

Option Two

We have the option to buy another drive that is the same size or close to the same size as your current Backup drive. You will then be able to take your current Backup drive and put it somewhere safe. Then a new backup is started on the new drive. From now on you can just swap drives when you run out.

Option Three

We could also buy a drive that is bigger than the current backup drive. We can then move the current backups onto the new drive and carry on backing up. The downside is that eventually, the cost of bigger drives could get too expensive. Secondly, would you need to restore a file from four years ago? Here is an example of where this option works well. You have a 500Gb or 2TB drive. Your Backups contain no more than two years history. In this case, you could purchase a 4TB drive and keep your current backups.

Dell EMC Server

Have had a good week this week. Passed my Dell Server credential. Found it very interesting learning the in’s and outs of Dell servers.

Dell EMC Server Credential

All about windows updates

Your PC, or your server, maybe even your IT support are asking you to reboot your equipment. Rebooting of your systems is required to allow Windows updates to install. You may ask, What are these updates and do I need them? You may also want to know long this will take?

We will deal with why first. Humans create all the software we use on a computer. Unfortunately, humans make errors with software these errors can be used to make our computers do things we don’t want them to do. Sometimes this is used to install viruses or ransomware that can cause a lot of downtime or loss of information. Your computer could also be used to attack someone else, causing your computer and network to run slow.

To combat this security expert’s around the world test the software we use and report issues that they find. Microsoft then looks at these issues and develops fixes. Microsoft release updates once a week on a Tuesday.

Now the difficult question. How long? There are so many variables involved that there is no way to give an exact time for how long these updates will take. The first part of installing updates is to download the update. The speed of this depends on how quick you internet speeds are. In some cases, your computer can download the updates while you work. The second step is to install the updates. Time taken here depends on the size of the update and the speed of your computer. Finally, the computer will reboot. Rebooting takes a little longer as updates are applied.

For a laptop or a desktop, updates normally take fifteen minutes. For a server, Updates normally take half an hour. In the case of servers, updates can be a little more complicated. Servers today use virtualisation. You may have one physical computer. But this physical computer may run one or more virtual computers. Installing updates at the same time is not possible.

I like to install updates on the virtual servers first. Let them reboot and then an hour later install updates on the physical and let it reboot. For an example, if I start updates at 19:00 I expect the virtual servers to be back online by 19:30. At 20:00 I would then update the physical server. All server would go offline but I expect them to be all back up and running by 20:30.

Updates protect you and your data. It’s definitely worth the downtime.