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Windows Backup Agent from Veeam: quick overview

In a previous article we have explored the installation of the Veeam Agents. In particular this article will follow up on the Windows Backup Agent and in particular a quick walk through of the options licensed with the FREE edition. As a progression from the previous article I would like to cover the steps of creating the configuration for our first Full Backup.

As per screenshot below all we have to do is to choose the option on the Veeam icon in the Windows notification area and then Backup > Configure Backup.

In the Windows Backup Agent configuration wizard we can see from the left the options we can review for our backup. Starting from the Backup Mode we can decide the type of Backup we want to run. The first option is recommended and we also need to make sure we have the necessary storage mounted or attached to use as a target.

Alternatively it is possible to select the specific partitions individually. Another option is to take File level Backup. I would suggest this option only for smaller scopes (eg. folders or directories with sub-folders) where the content is changing very frequently.

domalab.com Windows Backup Agent Backup mode

In the case of the destination depending on storage type selected the wizard will add a new option on the left menu to provide the necessary information. This applies to the File Share name along with credentials or even the Veeam Backup Repository option.

The Backup Repository name with the required details like the DNS name or IP Address of the Veeam Backup Server and the credentials to access the Veeam Backup Repository are required.

The minimum version in order to access this feature on the Veeam Backup Server is version 9.5 update 2 and the Veeam Backup Server should be upgraded first.

domalab.com Windows Backup Agent configure backup destination

In this example we’ll use the Local storage as a target. Which means a backup of all partitions on the primary “disk 0” will be backed up onto a different drive. The first Backup will be a Full. All the subsequent ones will be created as Incremental.

From this page we can control the number of Backups to retain. By default Veeam uses 14 restore points. On the 15th backup the window will move. In theory it should delete the first Full Backup automatically. Of course Incremental Backups cannot be used if the full chain is not present or the base Full Backup they depend on is missing.

What Veeam Windows Backup Agent is doing is very clever: injects the oldest incremental to the pertinent Full and then deletes the oldest incremental. This way the Full Backup moves forward and the “oldest incremental” can still be restored along with the other incremental backups on the same chain.

In addition by clicking on Advanced we can also refine other settings on the backup chain and storage consumption.

domalab.com Windows Backup Agent local storage

As advanced options within the FREE edition of Windows Backup Agent from Veeam it is possible to create Active Full Backups. Let’s say for example we need to create weekly Full and daily Incremental. We can dictate on which days the Full backups will be created and the Windows Backup Agent will automatically update and reset the Backup chain from the previous week.

This is particularly useful for retention policies dealing with devices with low space storage available. In the Workstation and Server Edition it is also possible to create Synthetic Full Backups. I will cover them in a separate article.

domalab.com Windows Backup Agent advanced settings

In the case of storage we can specify the compression level together with Storage optimization. The higher level of compression the longer time it will take to complete the backup.

For the latter depending on the target location the Windows Backup Agent will use a different size of blocks to process being the ones for “Local Target” generally speaking the biggest ones to process. From this page we can also encrypt the backup files.

domalab.com Windows Backup Agent storage settings

At this point we can select the schedule by which the backups will be taken. The options are very easy to configure including an updated Power scheme as shown in the next picture reflecting the chosen options.

domalab.com Windows Backup Agent schedule settings

Let’s select Yes as desired to run the Backups during sleep mode.

domalab.com Windows Backup Agent power plan

At this point we are ready to review the settings before a final commit.

The picture below represents the first Full Backup running.

By clicking on each Backup it is possible to view more statistics as shown below.

And a final screenshot after the job completed in about 17 minutes to run a Full Backup with compression enabled. Pointing to an external USB 3.0 device as a target probably would have completed in less time.

All subsequent backups will be created as incremental as shown in the picture below. As a remainder the colours can also change to red or yellow indicating warnings. In this example I’m simply running out of space for the next Backup.

domalab.com Windows Backup Agent incremental backup

If we take a look at the windows explorer this is how it will look like with an initial *.vbk as a Full Backup followed by a number of *.vib as Incremental Backups.

The *.vbm is a metadata file that is updated at every backup occurrence and retains information about the Backup structure, the Restore points, Device information and other useful details.

This pretty much concludes the overview on how to configure the Veeam Agent for Windows Backup. In the next article we’ll cover the Restore scenarios.

About the author

Michele Domanico

Passionate about Virtualization, Storage, Data Availability and Software Defined Data Center technologies. The aim of Domalab.com is sharing with the Community the knowledge and experience gained with customers, industry leaders and like minded peers. Always open to constructive feedback and new challenges.

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