How to manage backup Storage

Storage is a target destination used by the program to save backups of mailboxes and restore their content from to a chosen target location. This article describes how to create, manage and archive Storages. You will also learn here how to monitor the status of Storages.

This article comprises the following sections:

Creating backup Storage

There are two ways to create Storage:

  • Go to the Storages view in the Administration Panel and click New (Fig. 1.). Alternatively, you can also use Backup - Icon 2. icon in the Storages section within the Dashboard view (Fig. 2.) to go directly to the Storages view.
Backup - create a new storage
Fig. 1. Opening the Storage management window via the Storages view.
Backup - storages card
Fig. 2. Opening the Storage management window via the Dashboard view.
  • Go to the Jobs view in the Administration Panel and click New. In the backup job wizard, go to the Target storage step and click New (Fig. 1.).
Backup - create storage from a job
Fig. 3. Opening the Storage management window via the backup job wizard.

Both above mentioned actions open a wizard window (Fig. 4.) which will guide you through the four steps of configuring a new storage:

  • Choosing a local resource that will be used as Storage for saving backups,
  • Configuring storage retention,
  • Setting storage password,
  • Saving the recovery key of your Storage.
Backup - New Storage Wizard
Fig. 4. New Storage wizard window.

To create a folder or choose an existing folder that will be used as Storage, click Browse. In the folder picker window, choose a folder on your local machine or create a new folder via the Make new folder button (Fig. 5.).

Backup - Choosing a storage folder.
Fig. 5. Choosing / creating a folder for Storage.

Once you choose the folder path, create a Display name for your Storage. The display name of Storage will be automatically created once you pick a folder (the name mirrors the name of a chosen folder). You can, however, customize the name by typing it yourself in the field provided.

In the second step you will be asked to configure Storage retention policy. This feature takes care of a potential problem of big organizations or simply users with large mailboxes, i.e. situations in which storages grow indefinitely as more and more data is backed-up and versioned and lots of old and outdated items are unnecessarily kept. Storage retention policy allows setting up auto-purging of versions of items older than user-defined retention period. Admins can customize how many days items' versions will be kept in the storage.

Info

Items age is calculated based on the date when they were created in the storage (backed up) and not on their original date of creation in mailboxes.

You can also filter items types. Let us say, you want to keep backups of all contacts forever but you only need to keep emails for 6 months. In that case you would configure the retention policy for around 180 days and select only Emails checkbox in the wizard. Retention policy can be applied to special folders, as well. Please note that this, however, will be done regardless of the items type. Let us say, you configured your retention policy to be applied to everything except for notes items. If you choose to enable it for Deleted items folder (as in Fig. 6.) this will include notes-kind of items kept in Deleted items folder, but not notes in normal folders.

Backup - retention policy on storage
Fig. 6. Example of storage retention configuration in storage wizard window.

Important

After creating a storage, you will be prompted for create an appropriate Archive Job, in a case you have enabled the retention policy. The Archive Job allows you to move your data from storage to desired location, before the retention policy remove your data. 

The following feature is optional but greatly improves the security of your backups. In this section of the wizard, you enable the password protection of StorageIf you do this, users operating the program will need to provide the password prior to viewing the contents of backups and restoring them from a particular Storage. The password will also be necessary to edit backups from the existing Storages. However, all other functionalities of the program such as controlling the jobs' status or creating new jobs will be available without the password. Note that without the password, you will also be able to view the mailboxes names which backups were saved to Storages.

Info

The password is created per Storage.

To enable the password protection, mark the radio button and provide the password twice (Fig. 7.).

Backup - storage protected
Fig. 7. Enabling the password protection of Storage.

Important

If you decide to protect Storages with passwords, you will have to provide the passwords each time you restart the Administration Panel of the program to view, edit or restore backups from the chosen Storages. In turn, the key is not required if you work with password protected Storages in the same session of the Administration Panel.

Next, you can save the recovery key of your Storage. By default, backups saved to Storages are encrypted automatically. That is why, we recommend saving the recovery key in your local resources for potential recovery. In the case a Storage gets corrupted or it is password protected and you lose the password, we will be able to recover the Storage along its content for you using this key.

To store the key, click Save and choose the local path where the key will be saved (Fig. 8.).

Backup - Saving the recovery key.
Fig. 8. Saving the recovery key.

Info

Note that encryption keys are created automatically per Storage and cannot be customized. If one of your Storages gets corrupted or you lose a Storage password, contact our Customer support team and provide the corresponding recovery key to recover backups from this Storage.

Once your Storage is defined, click OK. A newly created Storage will be available for use (Fig. 9.).

Backup - storage list
Fig. 9. A new Storage created and available for use.

Warning

If the retention policy is enabled, but the corresponding Archive Job is not present or is set to be started manually, you will encounter a warning message along with link to proper configuration page. Those warnings are displayed at the bottom part of the right pane.

Managing existing backup Storage

Each Storage defined in the program can be managed via the Storages view in the Administration Panel. This view enables:

To mount the existing Storage to the program, click Add existing. In the folder picker window that opens, search through the list of local resources, pick the chosen folder from the list and click OK (Fig. 10.).

Backup - add existing storage
Fig. 10. Mounting the existing Storage to the program.

To edit existing Storage, click Edit. If a chosen Storage is password protected, enter the key and click OK (Fig. 11.).

Backup - editing protected storage
Fig. 11. Editing existing Storage.

After that you will be taken to the Storage configuration wizard.

To remove Storage that is already mounted, highlight it on the list and click Remove (Fig. 12.). Note that this action only unmounts the Storage and does not remove it from its location. It can be mounted anew at any point using the procedure described above. To remove the Storage from your local resources, you need to delete it manually.

Backup - remove storage
Fig. 12. Removing mounted Storage from the program.

Warning

A storage cannot be removed if it is assigned to a job. You need to unassign the storage from all associated jobs prior to using the Remove option. Otherwise, you will encounter a window containing a list of jobs using this storage. On the other hand, if you manually remove the Storage folder from the local resources without removing it from the program beforehand, both the job using this Storage folder and the Storage itself will show errors.

Archiving backup Storage

If you wish to archive your Storages, for example because you need to keep backed up data safe in cold storage on external drive you can use the built-in Archive feature. Archiving in CodeTwo Backup works as Jobs so you can configure them by clicking New, Archive storage in Jobs tab.

Backup - New Archive Job
Fig. 13. Starting new Archive Job.

Alternatively, you can go to Storages tab and either select a desired Storage and click on Archive button in the top menu or right click on the desired Storage and choose Archive option from the context menu.

Backup - Archive Job from Storage
Fig. 14. Starting new Archive Job from Storages tab.

In any case, Archive job wizard will be started. Similarly to other wizards in CodeTwo Backup, in first steps Job's name have to be chosen, source Storage selected, target location of the Archive provided etc. Note that contrary to Storage locations, Archives can be kept on removable or network drives.

Backup - Archive in Network
Fig. 15. Choosing network path as archive location.

Just like in Backup Jobs, Archive Jobs feature Retention Policy as well. It is however, slightly different. An archive is treated a as whole i.e. there is no item type filtering nor defining items age. The process is similar to taking a snapshot of a virtual machine: every time when Storage is archived, a separate archive containing the whole Storage state at the time of Archiving Job start is created. There are only two options available for this feature: setting how many previous Archives should be kept and what to do if there is no disk space.

Backup - Archive Retention
Fig. 16. Configuring archive Retention Policy.

In the next step of the wizard you can configure Job Scheduler. As the name suggests you can define when the Job will start. In the case you decide to opt-out, Archive Job will never start on its own and will have to be started manually.

Backup - Archive Scheduler
Fig. 17. Configuring archive Scheduler.

Again, similarly to other Job wizards in CodeTwo Backup, in next steps you will be asked to protect access to the Archive with a password, save a recovery key and review Job configuration. Once clicked Finish you are done with Archive Job configuration.

Warning

Archive Job cannot be safely stopped and resumed. Once started it must finish on its own, if forced-stopped the archive will be considered as corrupted.

Archiving backup Storage to PST file

Along with Archive Job, CodeTwo Backup features PST Archive Job option. This is a special type of Archive that is there to allow archiving current state of Storages for particular mailboxes in PST format. As the Job name suggests, it will export data to PST files - a data file format native to all versions of Microsoft Outlook. Once Storage is Archived to a PST file, you can import it to MS Outlook. 

Info

Archiving to a PST file is one-way operation. PST archives can be imported to MS Outlook but not to CodeTwo Backup. Consider using PST Archive feature only if you specifically need to import such archives to Outlook. For safe Backup Storage archiving use only standard Archive Job.

Configuring PST Archive Job is almost identical to standard Archive Job (see above). The wizard will guide you through all necessary steps, including configuring Archive Retention Policy and PST Archive Job Scheduler (See above how it works in standard Archive Jobs).

There are however, two important differences from standard Archive Job:

  • PST Archive Job creates separate PST files for each mailbox, that is as expected. So when in Source storage step of the wizard, you not only need to choose a Storage from which data will be archived, but also limit archiving to selected mailboxes from within this particular Storage. You can opt to archive all mailboxes from the Storage if you like.
Backup - PST Archive Source
Fig. 18. PST Archive Job source configuration.
  • PST archives are not encrypted. This is because PST archives are not CodeTwo developed file formats but well known Microsoft Outlook standard that does not implement proper encryption. The only option available to protect PST files on their own is to enable PST file format defined password protection. You can do that in CodeTwo Backup wizard, but be aware that PST file format password protection is considered weak and easily hackable. Moreover, PST files allow only short password phrases (up to 15 characters) and no national nor special characters.
Backup - protect PST file
Fig. 19. PST Archive Job password configuration.

Importing archived Storages

Archives saved using standard Archive Job can be imported back to CodeTwo Backup using Import option. Even though this is rather one-time operation it is also configured as a Job. You can open its wizard either from Jobs tab (New, Import archived storage...) or from Storages tab (Import archive in the top menu bar).

Fig. 20. Starting Import archived storage Job.

A short four steps wizard will guide you through necessary Job configuration. Since importing is one-off operation, there is no scheduler available for it.

Info

Note that archives are always imported to new Storages. It is not possible to import archived data to existing Storages. This is to avoid potential problems with overwriting or duplicating items.

Warning

It is not possible to import data from PST files to CodeTwo Backup. Those are designed to be imported to Outlook only.

Monitoring Storages

As Storages are constantly in use by running jobs, the program lets you check their status using three areas in the Administration Panel. Each of these areas includes essential information such as the configuration of Storages, associated jobs, the Storages' status:

  • The Storages section in the Dashboard view (Fig. 21.) - the information included here shows the names of Storages and available memory.
Backup - Storages status in dashboard view big.
Fig. 21. The status of Storages in the Dashboard view.
  • The Good news and Bad news in the Dashboard view (Fig. 22.) - alerts can be customized via the dedicated window and show, for example available space once reaching the defined value, successful program activation, Storages' failures (e.g. when they are removed from the local resources but are not unmounted from the program) etc.
Backup - Good news
Fig. 22. Example of an alert in the Dashboard view.

Learn more about what information may be displayed as an alert

  • The Storages view (Fig. 23.) - you can find here information such as Storages' names, paths to Storages on local resources, Storages' status, current size of the stored data in a particular Storage, number of jobs connected and jobs' names that use a particular Storage.
Backup - storage list
Fig. 23. The status of Storage in the Storages view.

Warning

If the retention policy is enabled, but the corresponding Archive Job is not present or is set to be started manually, you will encounter a warning message along with link to proper configuration page. Those warnings are displayed at the bottom part of the right pane.

See also

Storages - this article describes what Storage is and how it is used by the program.

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