x360Recover Agent Release Information
Targeted release starting August 15 2022
x360Recover agent 2.35 is a maintenance release. The focus of this release is to remediate backup failures by addressing known issues and enhance logging of VSS failures to facilitate troubleshooting. This release also enhances Smart Recovery to improve system bootability in some edge cases.
- Improved logging where disk IO read errors occur to provide more human-readable cases
- Improved logging when VSS snapshots are deleted during backups to help make cases more human readable
- Smart Recovery support for the system boot volume on extended disks partition is provided
- Smart Recovery support for the system boot partition on a separate disk from Windows / C is available
- Smart recovery support for booting systems protected by DESLock encryption has been added
- Set auto-configuration of Shadow Storage space to disabled by default
- Fixed agent excluding data files with names that look like UUID values by default
- Fixed rare edge case where some NTFS special files might not be backing up consistently
- Fixed issue with Recover Analysis Tool crashing if connection is broken by a firewall
Shadow storage remediation
By far, the largest causes of failed backups are either (a) failure to create a VSS snapshot or (b) deletion of the VSS snapshot by Windows during the backup.
- A significant number of backups are failed simply because Volume Shadow copy Services is configured with a restrictive limit on the amount of storage space it is allowed to use, even when plenty of free space remains on the volume.
The Volume Shadow copy Service is the core feature that allows capturing an image ("snapshot") of a system frozen in time during a backup.
- It operates by first quiescing disk write operations, then returning a bitmap of the ‘frozen’ filesystem for the backup engine to process.
- While ‘frozen’, new data is written into free space allocated by the VSS engine, outside the in-use areas reported to the backup engine.
- The longer VSS snapshots remain active, the more ‘free’ space is silently consumed on the filesystem.
- If VSS runs out of available free space (either because it has not been allowed to expand beyond a set limit, or because the drive is genuinely out of space),Windows will automatically revoke snapshots, from oldest to newest, to free space available for file operations.
We've found during escalations that a substantial number of backups are failing simply because VSS settings have been configured to restrict available shadow storage space.
This is wholly unnecessary, as Windows automatically manages shadow storage space and always gives precedence to live filesystem writes over shadow storage.
Agent 2.34 automatically reconfigured shadow storage limits to UNLIMITED when a backup failed due to lack of shadow storage space.
Note: Due to reported issues with this option from some partners, Agent 2.35+ will disable this feature by default.
What is the xCloud Analysis Tool?
The xCloud Analysis Tool is our next generation replacement for the Replibit Analysis Tool.
Rewritten completely in C++, the xCloud Analysis Tool collects log files and configuration information about:
- installed Axcient x360Recover components
- system event log information
- system configuration details
- installed software
The xCloud Analysis Tool can optionally upload the collected details directly to an open support ticket to assist our support team in troubleshooting your backup related problems.
What is Smart Recovery?
Smart Recovery is our next-generation recovery mechanism, designed to make virtualizing and recovering your protected systems as bulletproof as possible.
Smart Recovery collects instance-specific details of your protected system physical disks, partitions, and volumes, and then provides the platform to return exactly matching virtual disk images during a recovery.
Disk signatures, volume uuid’s, even dynamic disk configurations, are retuned exactly like the original protected system disks.
Smart Recovery is available
- when virtualizing a protected system
- during AutoVerify boot VM checks
- when exporting disks via iSCSI
It is the recommended mechanism when performing a recovery.
Note: Smart Recovery is not yet available when performing disk exports from a vault or appliance.
If you need a virtual disk export using Smart Recovery, perform a virtual disk export using Recovery Center (with or without a local cache.) Recovery Center can attach directly to an appliance for local recovery beginning with appliance version 10.18.0
Auto Update Best Practices
We recommend that Enable Auto Update is enabled on the Settings -> Update Manager page on each of your x360Recover devices.
We also recommend that you enable Auto-Enable Remote Assist When Upgrading so that remote access will be available to our development team should something go wrong with your upgrade.
This will ensure that your x360Recover devices are updated with the latest software enhancements in a timely fashion, and that the x360Recover Support team will have a short window of time to access and repair any troublesome devices without requiring user intervention.