R1soft

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R1soft Overview

R1soft, also known as Idera, is an enterprise grade backup solution. You can use this on CentOS 6 or CentOS 7 servers, as well as many other distros. You can use R1soft to backup cPanel servers and even to backup MySQL databases without causing too much disruption.

R1soft Volumes

  • R1soft Volumes hold disk safes, which hold all of your precious dataz.

Configuration Options for R1soft Volumes

Identification for Volumes

You can identify R1soft volumes by specifying the values listed below.

  • Name: Could be a hostname or Account ID
  • Description: Could be whatever we want to add
  • Volume Path: Something like /data/UID

User Options for Volumes

  • Add a user to this volume. Looks like you can add multiple users if you want.

Group Options for Volumes

  • Add a group to this colume, looks like you can add multiple groups if you want.

Limit Options

  • Allow File Excludes: Check to allow for certain files / folders to be skipped and not backed up.
  • Allow Recovery Point Archiving: Enables archiving for all disk safes in the volume. This allows you to create archives

of hourly backups, daily, weekly, or monthly. If enabled you can specify retention limits.

  • Allow Control Panels: Enabling this allows the user to backup accounts like cPanel, etc.
  • Allow Database Backup: Allows for SQL, Exchange and MySQL backups
  • Replication Limit: Sets the minimum frequency of replication for all disk safes in the volume. If set to weekly then the hourly and daily replications will be restricted.

Data retention sets the limit for Recovery and Archive Points stored in all of the data safes on the volume. When the combined number of Recovery/Archive Points in all of the disk safes exceeds the limit that is set, the old Recovery. archive Points will be merged.

  • Recovery Point Limit: Specifies the max number of Recovery Points that can be stored in the disk safes on the Volume.
  • Archive Point Limit: Only available if "Allow recovery point archiveing" is enabled. Specifies the uper limit of archive points that can be stored in the disk safe on the volume.

Quotas

Quotas are set to limit the disk usage of the Volume. The limit is set for all Disk Safes in the Volume on the basis of space occupied by Disk Safes, size of deltas, or number of deltas.

  • Quota Type Options Include:
  • On Disk Size: Quota is based on the raw Disk file size of all Disk Safes and their files in the volume's folder.
  • Size of Deltas in Disk Safe: Quota is based on the some of the sizes after compression of the actual block level deltas in the Disk Safe file. The overhead of the Disk Safe and unused space in the file are NOT counted against quota.

Using "On Disk Size" will report more usage because even if data is removed from the disk safe, it will still report as being used until the old deltas are merged out, or the volume is vacuumed.


  • Quota Limits Include:
  • Soft Quota: The value in bytes or in deltas. This is a warning level where alerts are sent to users when they are close to reaching their effective limit.
  • Hard Quota: The value in bytes or in deltas. Hard quotas allow resources to be occupied by data. If this is reached, the system forbids generating new Recovery points. The replication is interrupted and fails.

Disk Safes

  • After the first backup is created each time another backup is performed it only store the differences since the last backup. The differences are called "Block-Level Deltas".
  • Each replication, or backup creates a point in time image of the device. This is also known as a recovery point. To map the block versions and recovery points the block deltas database is used, which is known as a Disk Safe.
  • The Disk Safe is used to keep track of the replicated information and to arrange this information and data.
  • A simpler definition would be: "A Disk Safe is a container that stores the data that is needed for a restore".
  • One or more Devices can be assigned to a single Disk Safe. To run a replication, you need to associate a Device with a Disk Safe, then associate a Data Protection Policy with that Disk Safe.
  • On a Physical Level, a Disk Safe is a directory that contains the following:
.db file
.db-journal file
.ebs file
A metadata folder

Disk Safe Properties

  • Identification: Unique name to distinguish the Disk Safe in a list and while defining properties.
  • Disk Safe Location: Location where the Disk Safe Directory is saved on disk.
  • Devices: All devices are automatically identified and added during a Disk Safe creation, however you can also manually add one or several hard drives, partitions and other volumes of a server as Devices.
  • Compression Type: Use of this helps to reduce the amount of disk used and transmission bandwidth
  • Encryption: If used, data turns into sipher text.
  • Deduplication: This helps to save disk space. The current data and the data being written are compared every time a backup is started.

Additional Properties for existing Disk Safes

  • Opened: You can backup to an open Disk Safe and browse the safe for recovery points
  • Closed: Prevents any tasks from running on the Disk Safe.


Archiving

  • Archiving is different than replication. In addition to regular backups you can choose to create archives on a monthly or yearly basis.
  • A policy determines if / when to create an archive. Archiving can be scheduled to run on a specific hour, day, week or month.
  • Archiving can also be done manually if you want.
  • An Archive Point is a copy of the most recent Recovery Point and it is used as a long term storage solution. You can still restore from, and view files that have been archived, you can also do a bare-metal restore if you wish.
  • Once an Archive Point is created, you can move this to any type of storage that you want.
  • When creating an Archiving Policy, you set a value for Archive Point Limit. After the amount of Archives reach this limit the oldest Archive is removed and replaced with new ones.

Configuring Manager Options

  • This is under the "Configuration" button in the Main Menu. Once there, click on "Manager Options".

Disk Usage Limits

  • Limit Disk Space Available to Backup Manager: This option defines how much free space is left. This is an effective limit defined in percents of the Device volume. If the limit is reached, then the system forbids generating new Recovery Points. The replication is interrupted and failed.
  • Warn When Disk Usage Exceeds: This is a warning level where users are informed they are close to reaching their effective limit. The level is also defined in percents of the Device volume. This limit is usually a value less then the Limit Disk Space Available to the Backup Manager.
  • Task Scheduler Options

Using the following options, you can change the Cron task limits. The following options allow you to set the maximum allowed number of tasks executing at the same time.

  • Max Simultaneous Generic Tasks - The maximum allowed number of concurrent genetic Tasks (a task that is neither a policy nor a restore). Default value is "2".
  • Max Simultaneous Disk Safe Tasks - The maximum allowed number of concurrent Tasks which refer to the Disk Safes: Policy, merge, and vacuum Tasks. Default value is "2".
  • Max Simultaneous Restore Tasks - The maximum allowed number of concurrent Restore Tasks. They include file, bare metal, and database restores. Default value is "2".

Backup Methods

Full Backup

  • A full backup copies all data from disk to backup medium every backup operation.

This method uses the most disk IO and space. It also uses the most network bandwidth.

Incremental Backup

  • An incremental backup works by taking a periodic full backup. Followed by one or more "incremental" backups which are the changes to files made since the last full or incremental backup run. Typically an incremental backup is scheduled so that one full backup is performed weekly for example on Monday every week and a daily incremental backup is run on the other 4 working days.
  • Restoring from an Incremental Backup requires a few steps.
  • 1) The latest Full Backup is restored
  • 2) Each Incremental backup is restored until the desired restore point is reached.
  • This method can help to save network bandwidth and can sometimes help to save disk IO when compared to a full backup. However the quote below points out that this is not always the case.
  • "Surprisingly often there is no savings usually on server Disk I/O. The reason is that backup applications must compute some kind of check sums or deltas in order to accurately determine changed files. In order to perform these deltas all files and all their data must be read from disk consuming massive precious Disk I/O resources that grow linearly with the size of the data set."
  • The biggest disadvantage with this approach is that large files always have their complete contents backed up as if the entire file has changed.

Differential Backup

  • Differential backup works by taking a Full Backup and then taking one or more "Differential" backups where each differential backup is the differences between the backup run and the original full backup. The advantage of differential backup is that only the full backup and a single differential are required to restore the state of files.
  • The dis-advantage of differential compared to incremental is that it requires more storage space as many changes or differences are duplicated in each differential backup run in a cumulative fashion. Typically a differential backup is scheduled so that one full backup is performed weekly for example on Monday every week and a daily differential backup is run on the other 4 working days.

Virtual Full Backup

  • The Virtual Full Backup method was pioneered by R1Soft and overcomes limitations of the other known backup methods.
  • The Virtual Full Method involves one initial Full backup called an Initial Replica. It is called an Initial Replica because it is performed only one time ever as long as the storage medium is not replaced. For example if the Virtual Full Backups are stored on a NAS device at \\myNAS\backups then there is only one Virtual Full Backup until a new storage location is used.
  • The Virtual Full Backup method requires that a database be used to store block deltas.
  • The important function of the block deltas database is to map what versions of blocks are allocated and used by particular recovery points. This facilitates the efficient retrieval of blocks belonging to a recovery point as well as the process of merging. Merging involves deleting a recovery point and deltas specific to that recovery point not needed by other recovery points that are not being deleted.
  • Every time a backup job is run a Synchronization is performed. During the synchronization process a point-in-time snapshot of the Disk Volume is created and Deltas are computed based on the last completed synchronization. The Deltas are block level and are usually computed at a level below the file system very close to the raw disk structure. These deltas represent the low level changes to the disk volume made since the last recovery point.
  • A Recovery Point appears like a Full backup to the user. That is only in appearance as each recovery point only contains block level Deltas or changes since the last Synchronization. The method for computing deltas can vary in implementation.
  • 'The impact of the Virtual Full Backups on performance is as little as possible since only the deltas between synchronizations are read form the live server Disk(s). And unlike the other methods Deltas are only ever stored one time in the backup storage medium.

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