Anyway here's how I discovered this - I was futzing with the WHS web server files today as I migrated my websites from a virtualized Linux box over to IIS on the home server. I modified a silly .html file, saved too quickly, and then decided I wanted the original back. So I went to grab an old version out of my latest NTbackup. As I attempted to index the .bkf file and restore the document I wanted, I'm greeted by the above. So no love there. Really, all I want is for the semi-important stuff to be "off-box", ideally a local image, since my really critical stuff is already off-site using a remote backup service. At this point it doesn't look likely that we can replicate the PC backups off the box, but I'm not too worried about those either.
So until something better comes along, you can actually still use NTBackup if you want, you just can't back up the fancy logical volume in WHS (which makes up most of the D: drive). What you can back up is C:\, SystemState, and then your WHS shares over the network (i.e. you would add \\ server\users) to your backup selections. Could you do a bare-metal restore from this? Ehm, probably not. But's it's something I'd try, and maybe some day I will. In the meantime, it allows you to use a familiar, reliable backup tool to offload important and critical files to another device or elsewhere on your home network.
So is this enough? If your critical data is covered, then yeah, I think so. You could avoid ALL of the issues above I suppose and run WHS inside Virtual Server or Hyper-V, but then I think you lose one really nice thing that WHS lets you do - use cobbled-together hardware you already had laying around the house. The way the logical volume system works, its designed for that, with disk drives that WILL fail in mind. I've had two drives fail in mine in the last year, and in both cases the process to replace them was pretty painless. Your mileage will definitely vary.
- At one time this went without saying, but then we got lazy because recovery software started doing it for us. Make sure your destination volumes (VHDs in this case) are big enough to accept your recovered volumes. This article came in handy.
- The HAL is going to be different. Once you successfully recover the ShadowProtect images into VHDs, you'll need to grab HAL.DLL and NTOSKRNL.EXE from the original installation media, or alternately, another (ideally similar) VM running under Virtual Server 2005.
- ShadowProtect's HIR feature helps you out by trying to neuter your driver configuration so that you can restore to any hardware. But you have to return the favor and make sure you don't do anything exotic right off the bat. When configuring your VM initially under Virtual Server 2005, use IDE disks until you get things up and running (and the VM additions installed). Then you can bring down the VM and switch to good old SCSI drivers.
You can see a bit of my progression towards the points above here, on the StorageCraft forums:
If I had to do it all again, would I use ShadowProtect? Its a solid maybe. I've actually had an easier time just using NTBackup.