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Information is the lifeblood of modern business. Losing a system can result in loss of data, which can severely handicap a company or even put it out of business. Protecting critical data as well as the systems on which it is stored is of critical importance. What's the best way to protect this data? Regular backups.

Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery 8.0 can create full-volume backups while the server is up and running. These backup files, called recovery points, contain comprehensive information about each backed-up volume including the data, the operating system, applications, file system information, and more. You can restore recovery points to the Windows server or system where they were generated, or you can restore them to dissimilar hardware configurations or even convert them to virtual format. Using the new Offsite Copy feature of Backup Exec System Recovery, you can also store recovery points to FTP servers.

Backups should be scheduled according to the pace of your workflow so that you'll be able to restore to as recent a recovery point as possible should your server fail. Backup Exec System Recovery protects your server by giving you several options for scheduling backups. Symantec recommends that you schedule base backups to occur periodically, and also schedule incremental backups to occur in between each base backup.

What's the difference?

  •  A base backup creates an independent recovery point, capturing all used segments of the drives you select. Backup Exec System Recovery can create a full-volume backup of a server while it is running, with no need to shut it down. A base backup includes information about the volume itself such as the geometry of the volume, file system metadata, the boot sector, and the master boot record of the hard drive, in addition to all the used pieces of the volume. All the data on the volume, minus the empty space—that's a base backup.
  • An incremental backup, on the other hand, captures only the changes that have occurred on the volume since the last time a backup—base or incremental—was performed. Incremental backups are stored as a “chain” of backup files. Each incremental backup operation begins with an initial base backup, and then creates a set of recovery points that accumulate periodically until another base backup takes place. Each incremental backup is dependent on the previous backup in the set, whether it was the base or a previous incremental.

In the screen shot below, the Define Backup Wizard gives you the option to select the type of backup you want to schedule:

Every backup operation begins with a base backup, with Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery 8.0 creating an independent recovery point. If the information stored on your sever rarely changes or traffic is very low, you can select the option to create an independent recovery point every time you do a backup. This type of backup does not create incremental backup recovery points. But for high-traffic servers, you can schedule a backup to run as often as every 15 minutes, accumulating a large set of incremental recovery points between base backups.

Instead of creating a base backup every time, Symantec recommends creating a recovery point set with incremental backups so that your backup always contains the most recent data possible. Incremental backups are faster and use less disk space. And having a set of incremental recovery points helps ensure that you'll be able to restore without losing much ground should you have to recover from a server failure.

In Part 2 of this TechTip, we'll discuss how to create a custom schedule for weekly or monthly incremental backups.


I use BESR on nearly 100 machines, I use the BESR Manager to oversee them

we limit backups to 1 set with a base point re-set weekly, however the base point never seems to reset and we have to do automatic deletes to recover space

any thoughts?
Hey, it's been almost 6 months since part 1 was written. Are you still working on part 2?