SolarWinds Backup Help

Seed backup in Backup Manager

Backing up a large volume of new data can take time if a user's Internet connection is slow. For such cases Backup Manager users have the seeding option. It works both for initial and non-initial backups.

Seed backup is a self-service operation. End users can perform it all by themselves without the involvement of their service provider.

Terms

  • Seed backup
    1. Any backup session performed while a device is in the seeding mode.
    2. The process of uploading backup data to the cloud in bulk. Seed backups are performed to a temporary storage medium and then transferred to the cloud from a machine with a high-speed Internet connection (see the scheme below). Also called seeding.
  • Seed data transfer scheme
  • Seeding path - a path to a folder on a temporary storage medium (required by the Backup Manager). This is where a seeding folder is created.
  • Seeding folder - a directory that is created automatically for seed backup purposes. It contains backup files in a compressed and encrypted format, ready for cloud storage. The folder is titled using the name of the backup device it belongs to.
  • Seeding mode - the mode that starts as soon as seeding is enabled and ends when a user clicks Complete seeding. In the seeding mode, all backups are performed to the seeding folder (rather than directly to the cloud).
  • Post-seeding mode - the mode that starts when a user clicks Complete seeding and ends shortly after seed data is uploaded to the cloud. While in the post-seeding mode, regular cloud backups are available but it is not possible to restore data that has been backed up since the seeding mode started.
Seeding workflow

Options available in the seeding mode:

Option What ii does Available Location
Run seeding Starts a seed backup session (can be used multiple times) In the seeding mode "Backup" tab
Disable seeding Disables the seeding mode (subsequent backups will be performed to the cloud) In the seeding mode until the first backup is performed Notification ribbon (all tabs)
Complete seeding

Sets to Backup Manager to the post-seeding mode

 

In the seeding mode after the first backup is performed Notification ribbon (all tabs)

Requirements

Source machine requirements

The source machine on which the seed folder is created can function on Windows, macOS or Linux (view list of supported versions).

Temporary storage medium requirements

Seeding can be performed to any of the following storage media:

  • A removable storage device (a USB drive or hard disk).
  • A network share or network-attached storage device (NAS). Some prep steps are required on Windows.

The removable storage device must operate on a standard file system. A non-standard file system such as HFS can make seeding data unreadable (you will get a warning if this is the case). The following file systems are recommended for removable drives:

  • Windows: exFAT, NTFS
  • Mac: exFAT
  • Linux: exFAT, NTFS

Host machine requirements

The host machine from which you transfer the seeding data to the cloud must run on Windows.

It is possible to upload multiple devices' seed backups at the same time if the host machine's disk and internet can handle the increased load.

Preparatory setup (optional)

If you plan to use the LocalSpeedVault with the device, consider enabling the feature prior to starting your initial seed. This will help prevent data seeded to the cloud from later having to be downloaded and synchronized to the LocalSpeedVault.

Care must be taken when transferring the seeding folder to the cloud (see step 3 of the instructions). Some users specify a path to the LocalSpeedVault directory instead, which results in errors.

If in doubt, you can differentiate the LocalSpeedVault from the seeding directory by its name. Both of them are titled using the device name, but the LocalSpeedVault directory also has an ID attached. To avoid confusion, configure unique paths such as these:

  • x:\localspeedvault\ and y:\seed\ (local)
  • \\server\backup\speedvault and \\server\backup\seed\ (network)

Instructions

Step 1. Set seeding path

Connect a temporary storage medium to the computer that has data for backup. Then identify and copy the full path to the root of the storage medium or a directory on it. This will be used as the seeding path in the Preferences > Seeding section of Backup Manager.

Step 2. Enable seeding

  1. In the Backup Manager, click Preferences > Seeding. Paste the seeding path to the Seeding path field, and then enable seeding.
  1. Open the Backup tab. Click Run seeding.
  2. When the initial seeding session is completed, click Run seeding again to back up more data (if necessary). You can run a second backup, modify selections, or even add additional data sources.
  3. When all necessary data has been backed up, click Complete seeding on the notification ribbon.

Once completed, you will find a new folder on the removable drive (located in the directory specified in Preferences > Seeding). This is the seeding folder. It has the same name as the backup device on which seeding has been done (for example "sony-vaio-hdqtrs").

When seeding is enabled on the device, the Backup manager cancels any backup operations currently in-progress and prevents additional backup or restore jobs from running (including scheduled backups) until the device is switched to post-seeding mode.

Step 3. Transfer seeding folder to storage

Finally, transfer the offline files created by seeding to the cloud.

A good thing is that while the data is on its way, the backup client stays functional. You can continue backing up changed data to the cloud and to the LocalSpeedVault. Data recovery options while in the seeding and post-seeding modes are temporarily limited though.

  1. Connect the removable drive to a Windows computer with a high-speed Internet connection.
  2. Download the Server Tool utility. You can get an installer from the Downloads module in the Backup Management Console or from the Additional downloads section of solarwindsmsp.com.

    The process name for the Server Tool utility is servertool.exe

  3. Unpack the archive you have downloaded.
  4. Start Command Prompt from the Server Tool directory and run the following command:
ServerTool.exe seeds.upload -path <path_to_seed_load_folder> -threadscount <number_of_threads>
  • <path_to_seed_load_folder> is the path to the seed load folder
  • <number_of_threads> is the number of upload threads

Here is an example:

C:\Users\Administrator\Downloads\mxb-st-windows-x64>ServerTool.exe seeds.upload -path F:\Seed\sony-vaio-hdqtrs -threadscount 6

If the path to the folder contains spaces, double quotation marks are necessary (for example "F:\Seed backup\sony-vaio-hdqtrs").

If you would like to send us your USB drive containing a large volume of data for seeding, you will need to contact the sales department and specify the device name for the upload:

After the upload completes and the data is processed on the server, the Backup Manager will exit the seeding mode. The data transferred to the cloud using the seed loading feature will soon become available for recovery.

Troubleshooting

If missing or corrupt data is identified on the seed drive, you may receive an error message offering you to invalidate the missing data. This is done by adding the -invalidate-missing-data parameter to the seeds.upload command.

C:\Users\Administrator\Downloads\mxb-st-windows-x64>ServerTool.exe seeds.upload -path F:\Seed\sony-vaio-hdqtrs -threadscount 6 -invalidate-missing-data

Missing data invalidation is a destructive operation and should only be done if you understand why the data is missing and the risks that can occur. Consulting technical support is recommended.

If a seed upload or download is interrupted and restarted, the seed will pick up where it left off after a scan is ran of the data.