|Part 1 — Backup to a cloud provider with Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows
Part 2 — Restore from a cloud provider with Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows
In my previous blog, we walked through Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows configurations and ways it provides for backing up data on travelers’ laptops to a cloud provider. Now should you need to recover your data, let’s see how to do it and which options you have with Veeam Agent.
Restoring files and volumes from a cloud backup
Now that we have a full backup in the cloud, we are able to restore individual files along with volumes to our workstation using the Veeam Agent console. To restore individual files, simply open the Veeam Agent console, click on whichever restore point you intend on using, and select the “Restore files” icon. Should you have a need, you can also restore entire volumes from the cloud using the “Restore volume” icon.
Restoring volumes directly from the Agent console can be useful for imaging a secondary or attached drive; however, if the boot volume is in need of restore, we must rely on the Veeam bootable media we created earlier. At its core, Veeam bootable media is nothing but a stripped-down Windows image that includes a number of useful utilities outside of the Veeam functionality.
After booting into the Veeam Recovery Media, we are greeted with the main menu, and can select three options: Bare Metal Recovery, Windows Recovery Environment, and Tools (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Veeam Recovery Media main menu
Bare Metal Recovery is how we’ll be restoring our volume from the cloud. Windows Recovery Environment allows you to boot into a live version of Windows for use in recovery, but requires a valid Windows image to do so. Tools contains a number of useful utilities that may come in handy during restores.
The following tools are available in the Recovery Media:
- Command Prompt – Just as you’d expect, this opens a Windows command prompt to run any native Windows commands that would be necessary.
- Memory Diagnostic – A diagnostic utility for testing system memory.
- Reset Password – A password reset utility to edit the Windows SAM file and reset local user account passwords.
- Startup Repair – Windows startup repair utility.
- Load Driver – Utility used to load storage or networking drivers should they be needed.
- Export logs – Utility to export logs from the recovery appliance debug to attached storage.
As we can see, there are several incredibly useful utilities included with this bootable media, which makes it even more valuable to carry in your laptop bag.
Now, let’s assume this workstation had a failed hard drive. The new drive has already been replaced, and we’ve booted into our recovery USB media. Restoring the volume is easy, first we’ll head back to the main menu, and select “Bare Metal Restore.” We’re then asked where our backups are located. Since our backups exist in the cloud, we’ll select “Network storage.” Next, we’re asked what type of network storage. In our case, we select “Veeam Cloud Connect Repository.” You can also edit network settings using the “Configure network settings” icon to ensure you have access to the internet. After proceeding and entering the cloud gateway address of our cloud provider, we’ll need to enter the same credentials we initially used to configure our backups. These can be reset by the cloud provider if necessary, but it’s wise to keep them on hand to prevent any delays in the restore (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Credentials
Next, we’ll be shown any available agent backups in the cloud repository that were created under this specific subtenant account (or a tenant account depending on the user account type and credentials provided). As you can see, in our example, the backup is encrypted. We’ll need to attempt to expand the backup and enter the encryption password before being able to proceed (Figure 3). Unlike Cloud Connect credentials, this password cannot be changed by your service provider, and it’s critical that this encryption password is kept secure. Should this password go missing, there is little that can be done to recover the data inside (hence the nature of encryption).
Figure 3. Choose the backup
After we’ve entered our backup encryption file and continue to the next screen, we’re asked to choose which restore point we will restore from. Generally, in this instance we’ll be choosing the latest restore point, but in the event we’re restoring from a crypto virus incident we may have to choose an older point (Figure 4).
Figure 4. Restore point
Finally, we’re asked to select the restore mode. In our case, we have a small workstation with a blank hard drive so we’ll be restoring the entire computer, but notice the two other options available:
- Restore System Volume – This option should be used if there is a problem with the workstation’s bootable partition, and we only want Veeam to restore the bootable system volume. This is the fastest way to restore a machine, especially if the workstation has a system volume and a data volume. In such an event, we’ll restore the system volume to get the workstation up and running as soon as possible so our user can work, then perform individual file restores or a full volume restore of the data volume using the Veeam Agent console.
- Manual Restore – “For Advanced Users only” should there be a need to manually edit the partition table of the target disk. There are a number of use cases for this option, namely restoring to smaller or larger drives and adjusting partitions manually.
After selecting “Entire computer,” we simply enter the summary tab and proceed with the restore. Depending on the size of the image and your bandwidth, this could take quite a bit of time, so it’s best to ensure the workstation is plugged in and has a reliable internet connection.
With our workstation fully restored, we’re now able to remove the bootable media, and our user can continue working as normal in record time. In the past, this same user may have needed to purchase a brand-new machine, remove the inevitable bloatware, re-install all of their applications, and finally download all of their files through the cloud. Since we’re using Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows however, the entire process comes down to replacing a hard drive, booting from the recovery media, and restoring the backup. Our “road warrior” can now continue on with their travels relatively un-impacted by the loss of a critical workstation component.