Backing up open files with Onguard

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The Onguard Remote Backup software client can backup open files, and to do this utilizes Window’s Volume Shadow Copy Service, or VSS for short.

In most cases, VSS is able to take a snapshot of open files, which the Onguard Remote Backup client then uses to perform the scheduled backup. Some specific programs, such as the Exchange Server and SQL Server, provide special VSS Writers specifically for backing up their data files. These Writers allow VSS to include the associated data files into the snapshot, whether they are open or not.

Please note that some programs lock their open files in such a way that VSS is unable to snapshot the files. A major culprit for this type of program is QuickBooks, which locks down open .QB* files so that VSS cannot snapshot them.

In the case of programs and files such as these, the way to ensure that these files get backed up is to educate your end user that certain programs need to be closed at the end of the day so that their backup can run properly.

One other situation that may lead to open files not being backed up is if the files are on a network drive, be it a NAS or on another workstation. VSS is unable to perform snapshots on networked drives, so the Onguard Remote Backup software must access the networked files directly to back them up; if a networked file is in an open state that prevents other programs from accessing them, then the backup of that file will fail.

It is recommended that active files, especially those with VSS Writers, be backed up locally and not over a network drive. This will help ensure that these files are backed up properly, and will be usable when restoring data to a system.

Backing Up Microsoft SQL Server with Onguard Backup

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Backing up Microsoft SQL databases for backup is straightforward. If you manually select the .MDF and .LDF database files, the Onguard backup client will automatically use the SQL Server VSS writer to back up the databases.

You can also open the client, and then on the Backup->Selections tab open the tree browser for “VSS System Components” and, after the GUI has loaded (which make take several minutes), select the “SQL Server Writer” in the right hand pane.

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If you double click on “SQL Server Writer” in the right pane you’ll see precisely which databases will be selected to backup. If you only wish to back up selected databases from this list, you can manually select them. Or if you wish to exclude certain databases, make sure they have a red “X” beside them.

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Replacing a failed computer using Onguard Backup

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Onguard Backup allows multiple computers to backup to the same account, and it allows each computer to restore data from any of the computers backed up to its account.  There are times when a computer crashes and is replaced with a new one, and one wishes for the new computer to resume the backups of the computer it replaced.  To accomplish this you simply need to impersonate its predecessor.

To impersonate a different computer (so that you can permanently backup and restore as the old computer), first launch the GUI using the -account parameter as follows:

  1. Open the Windows Command Prompt as Administrator
  2. Change directories to the installation directory and launch the GUI in -account mode
  3. at the prompt: C:\Users\Administrator>, type in: cd \
  4. at the prompt: C:\>, type in: cd Program Files
  5. at the prompt: C:\Program Files>, type in: cd Onguard
  6. at the prompt: C:\Program Files\Onguard>, type in Onguard_gui.exe -account

You’ll now see an “Account” tab:

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You can change the Domain/Computer for this software client using the pull-down menu near the bottom of the window and then clicking on the “Impersonate selected domain/computer…”.

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You should only impersonate another computer if it is no longer online (i.e. it can’t backup anymore) and you wish this computer to continue on with its backups and restores.  If you wish to just restore from another computer then please refer to the restore article which shows how to do this.

Local and Remote Backups in Onguard Backup

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Onguard Backup allows you to control where you backup to, whether it’s to a local hard drive or our remote storage vault by going to the Backup->Settings tab.

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For example, you can specify whether you would like to backup to a local folder in addition to backing up to a remote server, as well as whether you wish these backups to run in parallel, or for the remote backup to wait until your local backup has completed.

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Please note that choosing “Rigorous sync” will force the vault synchronization process, either at end of a backup or using the manual “Synchronize all Backup vaults…” button, to check for the presence of each block in each vault’s storage (disk) against what the backup history believes is present which will slow down synchronization substantially when millions of blocks are present in vaults.  This option is used if your backup host suspects they have lost some blocks and they are using multiple vaults or the client has a local and remote vault.

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To support users in rotating local backups offsite, one may use the “For offsite rotation..” option to have your local backup folder copied to the rotatable folder, which is usually a USB drive.

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Setting up Email Alerts in Onguard Remote Backup

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The E-Mail tab allows you to configure the client to send you e-mails after each backup, as well as tell your backup host when you would like to be alerted if your client does not connect to the backup server to send data (or it connects but doesn’t send any data).

To configure the client to send e-mails it must have an e-mail account to use.

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To send all your backup logs to someone, for example technical support, simply fill in the email address you’d like all your logs emailed to and click the “E-Mail logs now to:” button.

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