Cloudberry Lab continues to hone their Backup tool to better suit the needs of Windows systems administrators. Learn what's new and what's changed in CloudBerry Backup 5.2.

Latest posts by Timothy Warner (see all)

CloudBerry Lab is one of the leading independent software vendors (ISVs) that help systems administrators manage cloud-based resources without having to understand the low-level application programming interfaces (APIs) involved.

Instead of using the Azure or Amazon Web Services web portals, PowerShell, or the REST APIs, you can use the simple CloudBerry Backup GUI to manage Azure blob storage or AWS S3 storage accounts.

In today's review, I'll cover the new features in CloudBerry Backup 5.3. Because so little time elapsed between 5.2 and 5.3, I'll roll in the 5.2 new features as well. Before we get into the new features themselves, let's spend just a moment understanding what CloudBerry Backup is.

CloudBerry Backup quick start ^

In a nutshell, CloudBerry Backup is a Windows desktop application with which you can perform bare-metal and/or file-based backups and restores of your infrastructure systems to the public cloud.

The public cloud piece is elemental; you'll use a public cloud storage account for all your backup jobs. Take a look at the following interface screenshot to get an idea as to how many providers are supported by this product.

CloudBerry Backup supports many cloud storage providers

CloudBerry Backup supports many cloud storage providers

Depending upon the specific CloudBerry Backup edition, you can perform the following and many other backup and restore scenarios:

  • Back up and restore to Hyper-V and VMware
  • SQL Server and Exchange Server backup and restore
  • Add 256-bit AES encryption to your backup archives

v. 5.2 new feature: better Azure VM restore ^

In previous versions, restoring a system image backup to an Azure VM required that you first download the backup bits from your cloud account to your local workstation, and then re-upload to the Azure cloud.

Fortunately, Cloudberry Labs addressed this weakness in v. 5.2. You can now restore a cloud-based backup directly to a new Azure VM; this process saves not minutes but hours in the system recovery process. I show you a relevant screen capture in the next screenshot.

Restoring a VM backup to a new Azure VM

Restoring a VM backup to a new Azure VM

v. 5.2 new feature: resumable backup ^

It was always befuddling to me why past CloudBerry Backup versions didn't have the ability to pause and resume backup jobs. The good news for us is that v. 5.2 added that ability, as shown in the following interface screenshot.

We can finally pause and resume backup jobs.

v. 5.2 new feature: synthetic full backup ^

The idea here is that you can perform scheduled full backups to the AWS S3 cloud 20 times faster than you did before. From what I understand, CloudBerry Backup leverages some lesser-known features of the S3 API to reuse existing S3 backup data when storing new, incoming full backups.

Besides the speed increase, you'll be transferring less data from on-prem to the cloud when you perform your full backups. As logic probably informs you, you need at least one "base" complete full backup in S3 before you can enable synthetic backup in your job properties, as shown here:

Enabling synthetic backup for S3 backup jobs

Enabling synthetic backup for S3 backup jobs

Consider the following two potential "gotchas" with CloudBerry Backup synthetic full backups:

  • This feature is supported only by AWS S3
  • Amazon will charge you $0.01 per GB for the retrieval for the unchanged blocks during subsequent full backups

v. 5.2 new feature: Microsoft Exchange item-level restore ^

Businesses who continue to rely upon on-premises Microsoft Exchange organizations most often have a requirement for item-level restores. This feature is finally available in CloudBerry Backup, albeit with a puzzling limitation: as of v. 5.3, Exchange item-level restore is available only for Exchange Server 2010!

v. 5.2 new feature: forced full backup ^

A weakness in older CloudBerry Backup versions was its inconsistent policy regarding backup encryption. For example, you might decide to change your backup encryption parameters over a particular backup job's lifecycle. When you're called upon to perform a data restore, you may be prompted to recall an old encryption passphrase. Whoops!

In v. 5.2, you'll be prompted (forced, really) to upload a new baseline full backup if you change the encryption properties for a backup job. I show you the dialog box in the next screenshot:

CloudBerry forcing a new full backup

CloudBerry forcing a new full backup

v. 5.3 new feature: AWS Snowball support ^

Amazon Web Services Snowball provides a way for you to bypass long (and potentially expensive) Internet file transfers and instead to ship AWS your large-scale data sets on a Snowball JBOD appliance through the mail.

As of v. 5.3, CloudBerry Backup enables you to run backup jobs using a Snowball appliance as a backup target. Here's an appropriate screen capture from the Create Backup Image Based/System State Plan Wizard:

AWS Snowball support

AWS Snowball support

CloudBerry Backup 5.3 also added the much-needed ability to include NTFS permissions to a Snowball backup job.

As a parenthetical note, CloudBerry Backup 5.3 also supports the recent changes Amazon made to their Glacier data retrieval options. As you might know, Glacier provides a long-term "cold storage" backup target for archival data; you're charged whenever you need to pull data out of Glacier.

v. 5.3 new feature: tweak to backup plan retention policy ^

Previously, CloudBerry Backup allowed you to delete backed-up file versions based only on the file's last modified date. As you can see in the following image, you can now delete versions based on a backup date.

New retention policy option

New retention policy option

Wrap-up ^

CloudBerry licenses its backup product per computer as a one-time fee; you receive one year or renewable support with your initial purchase.

The pricing depends on which specific edition you want. For example, the Windows Server edition sells for $119.99 and covers the bare-metal and System State backup and restore scenarios. The Ultimate edition sells for $299.99 and includes all features, including SQL Server and Exchange Server backup and restore.

Honestly, I've gotten a lot of mileage out of the CloudBerry Explorer tools in both the AWS and Azure clouds, and can't speak highly enough about them. Everything I've seen in CloudBerry Backup gives me the confidence to make a positive recommendation of them to you.

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