FTPS for file and folder recovery

x360Recover

Written By Tami Sutcliffe (Super Administrator)

Updated at November 4th, 2022

Overview

Improve the bulk data recovery experience 

One of the major pain points reported with x360Recover backups is the relative inefficiency of recovering data using the classic File Browser mechanism. 

File Browser was originally built to download a few document files, or a couple of virtual disk images. More efficient iSCSI connections were meant to be used for any bulk data recovery or bare metal restores (BMR). Unfortunately, this means File Browser isn't ideal as the primary means for cloud recovery of endpoints. 

To improve this experience, we introduced support for file and folder recovery over FTPS.

What is FTP? And what is FTPS?

  • FTP (File-Transfer-Protocol) predates the public internet and is actually older than the HTTP (Hyper-Text-Transport-Protocol) we are all familiar with in everyday web browsing. FTP is an internet protocol specifically designed for managing files on a remote server host. Most FTP clients look and act like the operating system file explorer which most users are familiar with.    
  • FTPS is essentially secure FTP. 
Note: Do not confuse FTPS with SSH File Transfer Protocol (SFTP.)  SFTP is a totally different protocol for transferring files based on SSH and is not related to FTP at all. x360Recover supports only FTPS.

What can FTP do?

FTP has attributes that make it superior to HTTP for managing remote file operations:

  • By default, FTP supports browsing and traversing a folder tree
  • FTP file transfers can be resumed when interrupted
  • FTP supports segmented multi-threaded file transfers for better performance
  • Native support for recursive download of entire folders

How to enable FTPS in x360Recover

a.)  Log in to your x360Recover vault or appliance and navigate to the details page of any protected system.

b.) Select a snapshot and click Mount or Export to stage recovery data that you wish to download.  

c.) Navigate to the Network Sharing page from the left menu.  

d.) Ensure that Enable FTPS is checked to enable this feature. (See example below.)

e.) Locate the user entry in the table.

  • On an appliance, the user will always be the client account this device is registered to
  • On a vault, the user might be any client account that has data replicated to it.   

Note: When no snapshots are mounted or exported, no FTPS user accounts will exist, and the list will be empty.  

f.)  Click Show Password to unhide the FTP user account password.  (See illustration above)

  • Once the FTPS server is enabled, a Users name and Password will be presented for access. 
  • Passwords are generated randomly, each time the user account is created when activating a snapshot for recovery.

Note: Whenever any snapshots are actively mounted or exported as virtual disks, the password is obscured by default for security. 

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How to install an FTP client

To use FTPS, you must first install an FTP client.

IMPORTANT:  By default, most FTP clients are NOT configured to preserve the original time stamp of files being transferred. If you need to preserve the original file system time stamp on files being downloaded for recovery, you must adjust the default settings for your FTP client. For instructions on how to do this, please see Enable FTP client timestamps.

Recommended FTP client: Cyberduck

We recommend using Cyberduck's FTP client, a freeware / shareware FTP client available for Windows and Mac.

You can download Cyberduck here: https://cyberduck.io/download/


Why Use Cyberduck?

Cyberduck is one of the few free FTP clients that supports segmented downloading

Using segmented downloads can improve download speed for large files by 2x or more vs single-threaded downloading of the file. 

Segmented downloads

Multi-threaded downloads
FTP supports a method of downloading a single file by segmenting that file into multiple pieces and then downloading all the pieces in parallel. This method is referred to as segmented downloading. Cyberduck is one of the few freely available FTP clients that supports segmented downloading.  

Most free FTP clients support downloading multiple files simultaneously. This is called multi-threaded downloading, which works when you are downloading entire directory folders (and lots of files) but doesn’t provide any benefit when you need to download one or two very large files (such as exported virtual disk images.)  

How to configure Cyberduck for x360Recover

STEP 1. Download and install Cyberduck from  https://cyberduck.io/download/



STEP 2. Before creating a connection,configure default settings to optimize Cyberduck for x360Recover.


2.1. Click Edit -> Preferences to open the Preferences menu.

 

2.2. Open the Transfers page and configure the following settings:


  • Transfer Files must be set to Open multiple connections
  • Downloads must have the Segmented downloads with multiple connections per file checked

2.3. From the Connection page:


Set default protocol to FTP-SSL (Explicit AUTH TLS)


Click the X in the upper right corner to exit the Preferences window



STEP 3. Create a Bookmark to your x360Recover Vault

3.1. From the Bookmark menu click New Bookmark

3.2. Enter a user-friendly name for the bookmark in the Nickname field. (For example, the host name of your vault)

3.3. In the Server field, enter the FQDN address of the vault. (for example:. rb-pmteam4.rb.atl.efscloud.net)

3.4. Under More Options, set Connection Mode field to Passive (PASV)

Since the username and password will change each time you perform a recovery for a client, we recommend that you leave the Username and Password fields blank. This will ensure that you will be prompted for credentials every time you connect.

3.5. Click X to close the Bookmark editor and return to the main window



STEP 4. Use the bookmark

4.1. To use the bookmark, double-click it.

4.2. Enter the Username and Password for the client you wish to connect to:

Note: You can retrieve the user credentials from the Network Sharing tab of the vault.

4.3. Click Show Password to unhide the password for the desired user:

4.4. Clear the Save Password checkbox to prevent saving the temporarily assigned password to the bookmark.

4.5. Click Login to proceed.



STEP 5. Connect and download

5.1. Once connected, expand either

  • ExportedVMs (for virtual disk files) or 
  • MountedVolumes (for file and folder recovery of mounted recovery points).

Continue expanding until you reach your target files or folders.

5.2. Double-click on the desired file or folder to begin downloading, or right-click for extended options

5.3. Monitor the download progress from the Transfers window

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Additional free FTP client options:


Filezilla

Filezilla is probably the best known free open-source FTP client.  Filezilla is full-featured, cross-platform, user-friendly, and has a large open-source community supporting and maintaining it. 

  • You can download Filezilla for Windows here.

How to work with files and folders in Filezilla

To make a connection to the server, complete the Host, Username, and Password fields at the top of the window 

You may leave Port blank and accept the default.

Click on Quickconnect to continue.

NOTE: The host should be the IP address or FQDN of your vault or appliance.

Hint:   All Axcient-hosted vaults have an FQDN address in the following form:

rb-<partner><instance number>.rb.<datacenter>.efscloud.net 

For example:

rb-pmteam4.rb.atl.efscloud.net


Navigate in Filezilla

Once connected, the local and remote file system data will be presented in the user interface.

  1. Local file system items are located in the window on the left
  2. Remote filesystem items are located in the window on the right.   
  3. Command and control status and results will be shown in the top window
  4. File transfer activity will be displayed in the bottom window.

After connection, the right window pane will display the folders available for the client who is currently logged in.

  • Exported virtual disk images will be located in the ExportedVMs folder
  • Mounted snapshots will be located in the MountedVolumes folder.  

The folder structure is the same as that presented in the classic File Browser via the web interface.  

To navigate folders in Filezilla:

  • Double click a folder to traverse into it. 
  • Double click the ‘..’ folder to move back up a level
  • Click directly on a folder tree location in the upper window to move to that filesystem location.
  • You can also click directly on the desired local filesystem location (where you wish to recover files or folders)
  • Double click a file (or right-click and select Download on any file or folder) to add to the queue and begin downloading.  

Set multiple simultaneous (concurrent) downloads in Filezilla

Filezilla supports multi-threaded downloads (which means multiple files can be downloaded simultaneously.) By default, two simultaneous downloads are allowed, but you can change this setting to suit your preferences.   

  • Click Edit -> Settings
  • Select Transfers
  • Edit the Maximum simultaneous transfers setting to allow more or less concurrent downloads.  

Note: Within this window, you may also set bandwidth throttling limitations for uploads or downloads .

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WinSCP

Another popular free open-source Windows client, WinSCP supports multiple protocols, including SSH, SFTP, FTPS, Google Cloud, and Amazon S3.  

  • You can download WinSCP here.

How to work with files and folders in WinSCP

To make a connection to the server:

  • Click New Site
  • Select FTP as the File protocol
  • Choose TLS/SSL Explicit encryption as the Encryption method
  • Enter the Host name.
  • Accept the default value for Port number.
  • Enter the User name.
  • Enter the Password.
  • Click Login at the bottom of the window to connect.

NOTE: The host should be the IP address or FQDN of your vault or appliance.

Hint:   All Axcient-hosted vaults have an FQDN address in the following form:

rb-<partner><instance number>.rb.<datacenter>.efscloud.net 

For example:

rb-pmteam4.rb.atl.efscloud.net


Navigate in WinSCP

Once connected, local and remote filesystem data will be presented within the user interface.   

  • Local filesystem items are located in the window on the left.
  • Remote filesystem items are located in the window on the right.  

After connection, the right window pane will display the folders available for the client who is currently logged in.

  • Exported virtual disk images will be located in the ExportedVMs folder
  • Mounted snapshots will be located in the MountedVolumes folder.  

The folder structure is the same as that presented in the classic File Browser via the web interface. 


To navigate folders in WinSCP:

  • Double click a folder to traverse into it. 
  • Double click the ‘..’ folder to move back up a level
  • Use the folder tree dropdown in the toolbar to move to another filesystem location
  • Navigate to a desired local filesystem location (where you wish to recover files or folders) by using the folder tree dropdown selector in the toolbar.
  • Double-click a file, click to select a file and press <F5>, or right-click and select Download on any file or folder to queue it and begin downloading

 Specify your Transfer settings and click OK to start the download.  


To queue up multiple files or folders for download in WInSCP

Check the Transfer in background checkbox. This will add the selected files to the queue. 

You may also 

(a) hold down the <CTRL> key

(b) click to select multiple files and then

(c) press <F5> to queue them for download.

Download progress will be displayed in a popup dialog.

If you are transferring multiple files in the background, the background transfers window pane will be displayed on the bottom of the application window.

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Other commercial FTP client options (that you have to pay for) include CuteFTP Pro and SmartFTP Pro.

 


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