This is a minor review of Veeam’s new Endpoint Backup from my testing/usage.
I’ve almost always used Windows Backup for all my Windows Servers [2003, 2008 R2, 2012 R2] backups. The best thing about Windows Backup is you have to create the recovery DVD [yes, but it’s reliable and works!] along with giving the server it’s own USB drive to backup to. Windows Backup 2008 and 2012 will do a great job of filling the drive and cleaning out old backups as needed, Windows 2003 needs help as you just overwrite the old .bck files. As long as you have the USB drive and the bootable DVD, your able to recover your Windows based system. Where this has issues is with writing to a shared drive [example: \\backup-server\server-name-backup\ ]. In Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10, you run into similar issues, and even where the Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and/or 10 will not clean up behind itself which means time for you to go in and manually delete backups.
I decided to give Veeam‘s Endpoint Backup a chance. It’s got the magical price we all love, $0.00 USD. The only catch, you must register on the website, and maybe this only happens to me, every time you download a copy or a new updated version, you will get a call from them trying to sell their products [caller id fixes this, but I can’t blame them for trying, and they are nice people to talk to]. The latest is version of Endpoint Backup is 126.96.36.199 at the time of this write up and is available on their website http://www.veeam.com .
Installation is a snap, just download the .zip file, decompress the .zip file to get the exe file and run/click the file. It takes a bit, but it will get done. If your missing .NET 3.5, you will have to download it using the “Programs and Features” . Not only does it download/require .NET 3.5, you will find it installs “Microsoft SQL Server 2012 express LocalDB” as well. I will talk about that later in the review.
Once Endpoint is done installing, it will search out a USB or DVD-RW/CD-RW drive so you can configure your backup media. Endpoint will show this screen.
Here’s where I found an issue. If you tell Endpoint to use a USB drive that is already formatted, while it will delete and reformat with a boot partition and a storage partition, it will be unbootable. You MUST delete all partitions on the USB drive first [it will then show up as a “External Drive” but no partitions]. You can delete all partitions by opening “Computer Management”, clicking on “Disk Management”, and right clicking on each partition on the USB drive to “Delete Volume…”.
When you give Endpoint a blank USB drive without any partitions, THEN it will write the proper boot block. I hope Endpoint will fix this but adding a text to warn you or allow you to overwrite the boot block on a preformatted USB drive [like you would get out of the box from Western Digital, Toshiba, Seagate, etc…] would be nice. So remember, until they fix this, make sure to remove all partitions from the USB drive and Endpoint will format a small bootable partition that will be your recovery drive.
If you do not want to use a USB drive and instead, your going to use a shared folder to backup to, create a ISO image. This is where Endpoint really shines. The ISO can be written to DVD/CD-ROM or can be used by VMware to boot your VM for recovery. This convenience is really nice and has yet to fail me. I even write the ISO to my backup share just to have a copy in case of emergency. The ISO it creates is anywhere from 300Mb to just under 600Mb, depending on drivers, network requirements, etc.
Once you have the recovery media setup, setting up backups is just a few clicks away:
From the main screen just click on “Configure Backup” and set it up to go to where ever you need it to. Endpoint has one really nice feature in that it will wait until a backup device is available, so it can wait until you plug in a USB drive or your back at the office/home to write to a file share. It can also write to a Veeam repository if your company has one. Another shining point is where you can set how many days to hold. This, based on your USB disk or file share space, will clean up the older backups for you. This one reason is why I tried Endpoint.
Recovery is as simple as running Endpoint or if your covering the system, booting up from the recovery ISO or device and picking what you want recovered. You can pick either file recovery or entire drive or entire system. For VMware, just point the VM to boot the ISO you created which you should have copied to a datastore right after creation for best disaster recovery and open the console.
Overall here’s what I like and dislike along with how important I feel each issue was:
- Easy to setup [Medium but Important for beginners]
- Can create multiple recovery items like ISO, DVD and USB bootable drives [Important]
- Automatically clean up/remove old backup files [Critical]
- Has File, Partition and Full recovery modes [Important]
- Meets/Beats what Windows Backup can do [Critical]
- Will wait for Backup Media to be present and then run backup automatically [Critical]
- Uses and understands VSS volume snapshots [Medium]
- Must use a USB drive without any paritions [Minor as my work around fixes this, but a pain for beginners]
- Uses Microsoft’s SQL. Takes up about +400Mb of physical memory [Medium, not happy with such a heavy SQL program taking up 1/2 Gb of RAM].
- Green panel on Windows and in Recovery Mode [very minor, I have a green car, I love kermit the frog… I did say “very minor, right”].
Wish list: Instead of Microsoft SQL, how about Postgresql? VMware went this direction to get away from Microsoft’s heavy SQL engine.
Bottom Line: Congrats to the Veeam Engineers and Programmers. You wrote a very nice backup program, works great on Windows Server both physical and virtual. Definitely better than Microsoft Backup for Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10. I’m now using Endpoint to backup many of my physical systems ranging from Windows Servers to Windows Desktops, and to do file backup/recover on Virtual Windows Servers. Endpoint writes backups fast and efficiently, especially on file shares. Overall, I’ve added Veeam’s Endpoint Backup to my stable of recommend programs for Companies I consult to. And Veeam, I know Endpoint Backup will drum up business for you, and that maybe the reason you released Endpoint for free, so thank you for making this available for everyone to use.
If you have questions or comments, you can reach me at NetworkX