Please note what been in TinkerTry's tagline, since January 2013:
TinkerTry IT @ home Efficient virtualization, storage, backup, and more...
So it's rather theme-appropriate for me to be happy to share that
is now generally available, download
I've had a few days to really give this code a workout, and so far, so good. So very good. It's rare such a solid product comes along.
Yeah, this from a guy who has used (and abused) Windows Home Server line of products since late 2007, right up through today's Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials. About 6TB of data spread across 12 PCs I back up daily.
Why not just use Windows Backup? Well, when you look at the largely hidden native backup abilities built in to Windows 7/8/8.1, it falters most often when trying to determine if daily backups are working, and when trying to create recovery media that'll both see the network and successfully restore, every time.
So think of Veeam's offering as a pretty skin that:
- schedules daily backups
- shows status at a glance
- show details are a double-click away
(well beyond what Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials shows)
- creates that friendly (WinPE-based) recovery media for you
(a $10 USB 3.0 Flash Drive will do nicely)
- let's you quickly and easily restore single files, multiple files, folders, or entire drives
- is FREE, and is intended to stay free
(a carrot on the stick to try Veeam's enterprise offerings, and/or their Free NFR of Veeam Availability Suite v8 for VCPs and vExperts)
- flexible scheduling
- tuning of backup priority (throttling)
- let's you choose from the following backup targets:
This would typically be a large capacity USB 3.0 3.5" hard drive, with about $250 getting you a 6TB model. Local storage targets makes for very fast backups and restores, but are not so great if it's a mobile laptop that likes freedom. So next, we have the...
Yes, it'll handle a network share. Any old network share. Which means, wait for it...
(Network Attached Storage)
...any NAS vendor's device can now do Windows bare metal backup and restore, FREE!
As long as it can present Windows compatible shares (SMB/CFIS), your NAS can be your backup target, and your restore source. Yes, that means Linux-based NASs too.
Let that sink in. Full backups of your ENTIRE system, along with full restores of your ENTIRE system, using a NAS that you might already have. Drobo, Synology, QNAP, Wester Digital, Buffalo, whatever. NAS brand agnostic. In my case, I simply leave a Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials running as a VM on my efficient vZilla. But it could just as well be a Windows 8.1 VM, with a big drive and a folder that's shared. You could also use your existing Drive Bender, StableBit or other seamless drive pooling software. Who knows, maybe Storage Spaces will be fast enough in Windows 10 and Windows Server vNext (aka Windows Server 10).
If you're a home virtualization lab enthusiast, perhaps you've chosen Veeam Backup & Replication v8. That seems to be a pretty slick way to go about it. One centralized data store for all your VM backups and your physical machine backups. Testing this piece is not available to me yet, while we all wait for the next V8 point release that also includes full vSphere 6.0 support, expected by end of April.
Lenovo T60 Laptop
Running Windows 8.1 on a 128GB SSD.
I've done a complete install, backup, and bare-metal restore from backup on this 128GB SSD equipped 8 year old laptop, and recorded the whole thing, see video below this article.
Lenovo W520 Laptop
Running Windows 8.1 on a 1GB Samsung 840 EVO mSATA SSD, and a 1TB spinny D: drive.
No issues noted.
Lenovo W510 Laptop
Running Windows 7 on a 128GB SSD.
No issues, installed without a hitch, backing up over Hamachi VPN connection to my home now.
Lenovo W500 Laptop
Running Windows 7 on an SSD.
No issues, installed without a hitch, testing of backups pending.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Tablet/Laptop - yZilla
Running Windows 8.1 with UEFI and SSD.
Intel Core i7 running VMware ESXi 6.0 - vZilla
Running a Windows 8.1 UEFI VM on a VMFS SATA3 SSD datastore (thin provisioned)
Backed up to a Windows 8.1 W520 laptop running a SATA3 SSD
Took 14 minutes to complete first backup of base OS, second differential backup, 5 minutes (while 2 other backups were in progress).
Well, there is no de-duplication, but this compromise also speeds up backups and restores. And for most users, there is no centralized backup console when backing up to a network share, but I've found you can see the last date/time stamps on the files, then figure out which backups haven't been working from there. Not ideal, but not a big deal either, perhaps a utility to do this might fill that gap. Or use Veeam Backup & Replication UI to monitor backups, as described here. The theme in the Veeam blog entries and forum posts is that there are no plans to grow this to an enterprise product, and no plans to ever charge for it. Thus, requests to make it fancier or more full featured tend get shot down. Fair enough.
Also, Windows 10 Build 10041 (beta) isn't supported for now, the installer stops you.* Hardly a big deal, it is beta after all. Note that earlier Endpoint betas worked fine with earlier Windows 10 builds. Based on Veeam's track record, I would guess this will be resolved within weeks of Windows 10 arrival this summer.
Linux isn't supported at all, sorry Ubuntu fans. But let's remember, this is a tool that seems to be intended to help IT pros get some of their time back by backing up the typical systems your friends and family have. And that's Windows 7 or Windows 8. If they're still XP, well, got nothing to say there.
Finally, admittedly, you don't get live phone support, but I never had live support with Microsoft's server products either.
With Endpoint, there's a built-in mechanism for opening up service tickets easily inside the product, which auto-uploads the diagnostic bundle too. This process triggers a ticket assignment and email support. Of course, you can also use the very active Veeam forum to see if you can get an answer there. When there's a problem, Veeam tends to be very transparent about it.
While the software has now as now gone GA, and I've begun pretty extensive testing already (above), it's important to also note that I also did I've also done about a dozen backups and 4 restores throughout the beta period. It's all gone quite well, and each successful test gained my trust more and more. No failed restores of single files, folders, or entire computers. Handles modern UEFI gear like the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (that I briefly had for testing), no issues there either. Can do many concurrent operations (multiple machine backups or restores at once).
The future of keeping my extended family's systems humming along smoothly is looking much brighter now. If their laptops are plugged in night, the Veeam-scheduled-task wakes the system up, does it's daily incremental backup, then the laptop goes right back to sleep again, generally all happening in under 20 minutes. That's far more efficient than leaving them running 24x7, and less intrusive than backing up while in use. Think of this as a personal backup cloud, with much faster complete system recovery than any remote cloud offering.
Also a nice perk that you can backup server variants of Windows Server 2008 R2 or later, despite making no claims this is an enterprise product. A rare capability for an end user product, which is very handy in a home lab.
Time will tell if Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE continues to run smoothly, diligently doing unattended daily backups on those dozen or so PCs in my extended family. Particularly interesting will be those that aren't under my roof (using Hamachi VPN for connectivity).
If you'd like to see a full installation (which doesn't really need instructions), creation of boot media, and an actual bare metal laptop restore, check out this comprehensive 15 minute TinkerTry walk through video:
- Feature and performance comparison between Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials and Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE
Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE, thoughts? (HomeServerShow forums)
Concerned about Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Express LocalDB runtime resource usage? Read this thread.
- Veeam Community Forums - Veeam Endpoint Backup has this announcement
[RELEASE] Current version is 184.108.40.2064 (Apr 14, 2015):
System Requirements, Known Issues, Installation and Upgrade > Release Notes
All user guides, manuals and other documentation in multiple formats > Veeam Help Center
Click F1 in any product window to be taken to the corresponding page of the Online Help.
In the Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE product announcement:
Complete and Easy-to-Use, Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE Is Veeam’s Gift to the IT Pro Community; Joins the Company’s Large Family of Free Tools
Baar, Switzerland – April 14, 2015:
Endpoint backup has long been a tedious task that everyone knows they should be doing. Today, IT professionals now have a simple and free solution for backing up endpoints, which has long been a major data protection headache. Veeam® has released a new free tool that requires no additional software or purchases. Veeam Endpoint Backup™ FREE is a gift to the IT community, joining the Veeam family of free tools that also includes Veeam Backup™ Free Edition, Veeam ONE™ Free Edition and Veeam Task Manager for Hyper-V. Veeam has a history of providing stand-alone free tools to the IT community that solve real challenges, beginning with FastSCP™, Veeam’s very first product, originally released in October 2006.
Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE provides a simple solution for backing up Windows-based desktops and laptops.
I used Veeam FastSCP for years while doing VMware consulting on the road, as it greatly reduced the wait time for uploading my customer's ISO files to the newly-created VMware VMFS datastores. When I noticed it initially had issues running as-is under 64 bit Vista (because of the 64 bits, not because of the Vista ;-), the Veeam support community actually responded with a fix. Much more elegant than MSI installer editing (a hack). This was a positive, memorable first experience with Veeam. Openness about issues is what defines Veeam, including the recent VMware CBT (Changed Block Tracking) issue, and Anton Gostev's legendary weekly newsletter.
Another thing to think about, and that's security. You may choose to encrypt you drives, and your backups. Also note, if CryptoLocker were to strike your home's network, the place where all your administered PCs back up to, a network share could also be vulnerable. It would seem that using a "Veeam Backup & Recovery repository" as your backup target would be a good way to reduce this vulnerability. That said, if you're not eligible for a Free NFR of Veeam Availability Suite v8 for VCPs and vExperts, this backup target would not be a free capability for you.
For me, I'm still on the fence about using v8 to back up my VMs, versus something simpler to configure like NAKIVO Backup & Replication 5.5 released, NFR available to VCP and vExperts through Mar 31 2015. Yes, you could just use Endpoint to backup your VMware and Hyper-V VMs too. Such a per-VM use case has advantages and disadvantages. Watch this space, as vSphere 6.0 is still only a month old, with Veeam's v8 compatibility expected to arrive by end of April.
*Well, I don't give up that easily. It appears I've found a way to get Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE installed on Windows 10 build 10049. Testing of this UNSUPPORTED by Veeam method is underway. Before publishing how I did it, I'm doing some testing first.
Daily backups continue to go well. I will admit that it's better to do the first backup while the PC I'm backing up is on a local, gigabit connection, but once the backup is seeded with a full backup, automatic daily differential backups of the remote PC, over Hamachi VPN, work just fine.
If your're wondering where Veeam is headed with VEB, it's Labtech integration. Yes, VEB remains free. To me, this seems to signal an increased commitment to the product. Get these weekly newsletters by signing up for Veeam Community Forums. Here's an excerpt from the latest newsletter below.
Date: June 28, 2015 at 7:27:03 PM EDT
Subject: Veeam Community Forums Digest for tinkererguy [Jun 22 - Jun 28, 2015]
Veeam Community Forums Digest June 22 - June 28, 2015
THE WORD FROM GOSTEV
IMPORTANT: Possible data corruption when using Veeam Endpoint Backup (VEB) for backup of server workloads! While enhancing server applications backup and recovery in the upcoming VEB 1.1 release, we have identified an issue that may result in unrecoverable restore points created. Essentially, due to the lack of advanced application awareness in the current VEB version, in some scenarios our Changed Block Tracking (CBT) engine is not able to detect that application database files have changed since last backup, thus not performing a scan of their content for changed data blocks to include in the incremental backup. As the result, not every incremental backup will be recoverable. Potentially affected are server applications such as Microsoft Exchange or SQL Server. The issue is resolved in VEB 1.1 with the application-specific logic in our CBT engine, and we are back porting this code to make it available as a hot fix for v1. Meanwhile, you can always create a restore point that will be guaranteed to contain server applications in recoverable state by performing "ad-hoc" backup manually, since this one does not leverage CBT.
The main reason for our focus on server workloads is the upcoming LabTech integration, which is essentially a paid version of VEB with separate SKUs for desktops and servers (at a different price points) that you will be able to purchase through LabTech. To preemptively answer the likely question - standalone Veeam Endpoint Backup will still remain FREE, and moreover both free and paid versions will use the same code and the single installer. This also means that all the new features we are adding to the product in the upcoming release (such as much requested volume shrink for restoring to a smaller disk) will all be available in the free version as well. Essentially, the paid version adds centralized management (through the LabTech framework), a few cool LabTech-specific features (such as remote Bare Metal Restore), and is fully supported by Veeam Technical Support on standard SLAs for paid products.
Here is one interesting fact around building backup repositories out of commodity servers. At the low end, the best bet is to go with one of many 12 LFF industry standard chassis that most server vendors offer. For example, HP ProLiant DL380 Gen9 (please do not consider this as a promotion, just something I had handy). However, what is not immediately obvious – was not to me at least – is that this type of chassis actually has more than 12 LFF bays which you can see on the picture. There is also an option to install up to 3 more LFF as the rear kit (aka "3LFF Rear SAS/SATA Kit"), giving you as many as 15 LFF total in an industry standard 2U box. Although in case of Veeam specifically, I recommend going with 2SFF rear kit instead for an SSD RAID mirror, and using that for OS and Veeam. Why SSD? Simply because there is no better place to host vPower NFS cache, WAN accelerator cache and guest file system index.
Disclosure: Veeam has been an advertiser on many virtualization sites for years now, and Veeam is currently running a BuySellAds-purchased advertisement along the top of TinkerTry as well. All TinkerTry advertisement goes through third party BuySellAds. None of my articles are sponsored posts, and note that there are currently no affiliate links for Veeam Endpoint Backup FREE, or any of their other products. TinkerTry.com, LLC is not a Veeam Pro Partner. There are no commissions for any Veeam products folks buy after reading one of my articles.