Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Can't suspend backups with wbadmin

Did you know that Windows Server 2008 and later include a new wbadmin.exe that replaces ntbackup.exe.

Thank goodness, right? Because ntbackup.exe fostered the creation of a whole backup software industry based on its inadequacy as a backup tool.

Having used wbadmin.exe, I have to say, I was initially impressed with Microsoft's renewed commitment to bringing universal OS and server features that should be part of the OS back under the auspices of the OS designer.

The fact that basic backup had to be outsourced to a 3rd party software vendor was silly in the first place. Linux for example includes LVM2 to do snapshotting already, and so many adequate backup tools like rsync, rsnapshot, dd readily available.

I'll go into wbamin in another post but for the time being I wanted to point out that while testing other backup software it's impossible to suspend wbadmin from doing its thing.

Even in the CLI, you simply can't pause backups. Look in the Task Scheduler, and you'll find no mention that wbadmin is even set to run at all!

In fact the only way to preemptively cancel Windows Server Backup is to delete the entire backup schedule, at which point your previous backups are kept until you go to start the schedule again and Windows will format and delete your accumulated backups on the fixed disk you have been using! Talk about unintuitive and dangerous!

So basically you can't suspend backups at all with wbadmin. Your only option if you don't want to lose your backup history is to wait until the scheduled job start, and issue 'wbadmin stop job' at the CLI, and you must remember to do this shortly after every scheduled backup starts!

Here are some pointers to MS:
  • Include webadmin in the Task Scheduler
  • Allow suspension of backup plan in the GUI or at least CLI
    • and as an extension, don't delete the previous backups and require running the backup wizard from scratch again
  • Warn the user with a taskbar warning or something when backup is suspended

And for you, faithful sysadmin, keep on your toes, make sure wbadmin has got your back.