FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can you briefly explain the idea of how the Online Backup Software works?
The Online Backup Suite consists of 3 main modules:
- The client software – Online Backup Manager (OBM)
- The server software – Offsite Backup Server (OBS)
- The replication server – Replication Server (RPS)
OBM is a client application with a user-interface for easy backup configuration. It allows users to upload selected files to the Backup server and runs scheduled backup jobs. It also allows users to create different backup sets for different backup purposes. Besides file backup, OBM can backup a number of applications such as MS Exchange, MS SQL, Oracle, MySQL, Lotus Domino, and much more. OBM supports Windows 2000, XP, 2003, Linux, Mac OS X, etc.
OBS is a server application which store backup data from multiple OBMs backup accounts. It has a web-based Management Console for system administrators; users can also logon to this Management Console to manage their own backups or restore their data. OBS supports Windows, Linux and Mac OS platforms.
RPS is another server application running on a separate machine. It provides close to real-time backup for multiple OBSs. As a result, even if one OBS failed, the RPS still has a copy of the backup data.
How can I backup a huge data set over the Internet?
If you have a lot of data (e.g. 300GB) to backup to the backup server, it would take a considerable amount of time to perform the first full backup over the Internet. You can try the following method:
- Use the Seed Loading Utility to backup your backup set to a local hard disk (instead of directly transfer to the backup server)
- Send the backup data, using a removable hard disk, to Canadian Data Protection.
- The administrator can then load all your backup files from your removable hard disk into your backup account. This could save you days (even weeks) of performing your first full backup. In addition, subsequent backups are incremental (only new or updated files will be uploaded to the server), so the amount of data transfer should be relatively small.
How does OBM detect changes in files? Does it use the Archive bit? Some tape backup software resets the Archive bit. Could this affect OBM when backing up the same data?
OBM compares timestamps of files on the server with the corresponding copies on client machine. Archive bit is not used as it does not detect relocated files. Therefore tape backup does not affect OBM.
Does OBM copy the same set of files regularly?
After the initial upload, subsequent backup jobs will only transfer the modified or new data to the Backup server. It depends on the nature of the data, but normally, a small percentage of all data is modified.
Can I change my encrypting key?
The encrypting key cannot be changed once you setup your Backup Set. This is necessary for the integrity of the Backup Set, making sure that backup data is only encrypted by one key. Otherwise, you will have problems remember two encrypting keys when you want to restore your files in the future. You will need to recreate your Backup Set if you really want to change your encrypting key.
What kind of encryption is used by OBM?
Encryption of backup data - This is done by 128-bit symmetric key encryption (AES, TripleDES, TwoFish). 128-bit is currently being used by most banks.
Can I backup an entire Operating System?
Currently, it is not possible to do hard disk image backup with OBM. However, you can still backup/restore the operating system as follows.
To backup all files including the operating system, please do this:
- Add all files to your backup source
- Add a SystemState backup type to your backup account (Windows only)
To restore all files including the operating system, please do this:
- Re-install the operating system and applications
- Restore the SystemState backup to your machine (Windows only)
To restore the System State data on a domain controller, you must first start your computer in a special startup option called "Directory Services Restore Mode". To access "Directory Services Restore Mode", press F8 during startup and select it from the list of startup options.
- Restore all files to your machine
- You require less backup accounts
- You can use one username and password to configure the backup setting for all Backup Sets
- You must use different backup sets for different computers
- Whenever a new backup set is created under the backup account, you need to go back to all computers using the same backup account to uncheck the "Run scheduled backup on this computer" option for the new backup set (Since the backup setting is saved on the server and new backup set is by default set to run on all computers).
- Improper configuration could easily cause problems, which are difficult to debug.
- In an incremental backup, only modified files will be uploaded to the Backup Server. On the other hand, In-File Delta is applicable to the physical files to be uploaded to the Backup Server, does not matter whether it is a MS SQL database file, MS Exchange transaction log file or any normal file in a FileBackupSet. Specifically, only the changed blocks in comparison to the original file on the Backup Server (delta file) will be uploaded. For each modified file, OBM would determine whether the entire file or only delta file should be uploaded. If the entire file is to be uploaded, the old version of the file will be moved to the Retention area. If only the delta file is to be uploaded, the previous delta files will be moved to the Retention area and the Data area should contain the original full backup file, checksum file and the latest delta file of this file.
What happens when we do In-File Delta backup on a directory?
When you do backup, the Online Backup software will do the following:
- Check if any files are added, updated or deleted (the calculation of these files is based on files having the same filename).
- New files will be uploaded to the server in whole.
- Deleted files will be removed from Data area and placed into the Retention area on the Backup server.
- Updated files will be processed by the In-File delta option (i.e. only changed data blocks within the files will be uploaded to the Backup Server)
Does OBM have to stop applications when doing online backups?
OBM can backup application data while the application is still running. Particularly, we have special agents for MS Exchange Server, MS SQL Server, Oracle, Lotus Notes and MySQL, which allows these applications to be backed up while they are online. With the Volume Shadow Copy feature started from OBM v5.0, we are able to backup other types of applications while they are online.
How is the data privacy being maintained on OBS?
All data are encrypted with user defined encrypting key before they are sent to the online backup server. The encrypting key is not stored on OBS. Without the encrypting key, the backup files are useless to anyone. The backup user is the only person who can decrypt the backup files to reveal the original content.