Managing your HFS Spectrum Protect backups

We recommend that you read the following information before running your first Spectrum Protect backup.

Initial backup

Your initial backup of a machine newly registered to the HFS Spectrum Protect service should ideally be:

  • a manual, not a scheduled, backup.
  • a backup of local disk drives and partitions only, not of network or DVD drives.

Your initial manual backup may well be a full backup of your entire local filestore, depending on what you select in Spectrum Protect and on how much data there is to be sent.  With disk capacity in a typical personal computer ranging from 500GB upwards, and with that of departmental and college servers being many times larger, this can mean that your initial backup requirements are very large.

Network transfer rates vary, with approximate maximum speeds of 30GB/hour on a 100Mb network and 300GB/hour on a 1Gb network, but such a speed can be reduced greatly by other factors such as other traffic on your local network and the speed of your machine's disks.  Please try to estimate and allow sufficient time for this initial backup to complete while you are in attendance.  We require servers to have a connection speed of at least 1Gb.

If you select the whole of your machine for backup, by default Spectrum Protect will back up all the files, though some files and folders are excluded from backup.  You can exclude further files, folders and drives from backup so that Spectrum Protect does not back them up.

 

Subsequent backups

If your first backup did not result in all your data being sent to the Spectrum Protect servers, because it was cut off when the daily session time limit was reached, then the second backup will pick up from the point at which the earlier session was stopped.  If you have a very large amount of data to send, you may need to continue in this manner for several days before your initial backup is completed.

Subsequent sessions will only back up files which are new or have changed since the last time, because Spectrum Protect backups work on the principle of incremental forever.

The server and the client (user) machine compare lists of which files are on the client and which are already backed up to the Spectrum Protect servers, to allow a full reconciliation to take place.  The server passes full details of the client's filestore to the client and the client compares this with the current filestore, then any new or changed files are backed up.  A file is considered to have changed if any one of a series of properties have changed: size, permissions, owner, modification date/time.  The client tells the server which files have been deleted since the last backup, the server then marks the backup copies for deletion.  For details on how long these are kept for, please see our FAQ item How long do you keep data for?

If you selected only certain files, folders or drives during your manual backups, please note that your selection will not be saved by Spectrum Protect for future manual or scheduled backup sessions.  If you wish for certain items not to be included in your scheduled backups, please see our section on how to exclude files and folders from backup.

Once your initial backup is completed, subsequent backups can be performed manually, but our recommendation is to use the automated scheduled backup facilities and to supplement these with manual backups when required.  The exception to this is for remote machines that always back up over VPN.  As you have to make a VPN connection in order to back up these need to be backed up manually.

Running manual backups

Manual backups can be made with the backup client or from the command line interface.

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