Desktop Backups (February 12, 2020)

Robert Plamondon -

Introduction

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Workspot desktop backup/restore flow

Starting with Control R12.0, Workspot supports periodic backups of persistent Azure desktops. Desktops can be backed up daily, weekly, or monthly. An optional retention backup is made at a longer interval: weekly, every two weeks, monthly, or every two months.

Individual desktops can be restored from their backups.

This optional feature is not enabled by default: contact Workspot for more information.

Summary: How Backups Work

  • A backup is a complete disk image of the desktop. Recovery restores the entire desktop. Partial recovery is not supported.
  • Only Azure persistent desktop pools can be backed up. (Non-persistent desktops are intended to be interchangeable, leaving no use case for backups. To put it another way, for a non-persistent pool, the template is the backup.)
  • Backups create a single Primary Backup on a periodic schedule and an optional Retention Backup on a longer schedule. Thus, each desktop has a maximum of two backups.
  • There are licensed limits for the number of desktops that can be backed up. Primary and Retention Backups can have different limits (the limit for Retention Backups will be zero if you don’t require them).
  • Backups are controlled by Backup Policies.
  • To enable backups on a desktop pool, you first create a Backup Policy, then edit the pool to assign the Backup Policy to it (or create a new pool that specifies a Backup Policy from the beginning).
  • If a backup operation fails, the previous backup is kept. Only a successful backup replaces the old backup.
  • Currently, backups cannot be started manually or on a desktop-by-desktop basis, but only on a schedule that includes an entire pool.
  • Desktops are restored from their Primary or Retention Backups manually in Control, one desktop at a time.
  • Currently, Backup Policies cannot be edited. Instead, you create a new Backup Policy and assign it to your desktop pool in place of the old one.
  • Deleting or unassigning a Backup Policy deletes all the backups that it created.
  • Backup Policies cannot be deleted when they are still in use by a pool. Instead, create and assign the new Backup Policy, then delete the old one.
  • Backup images are currently stored in the same region as the desktop pool.

Is the Backup Option Enabled?

Since backups are an optional feature, it’s useful to know how to check to see if the feature is available.

As with all the procedures in this document, we assume that you have already logged into Workspot Control with full Administrator privileges.

  • Go to “Policies > Add a New Policy.”
  • Click the “Policy Type” pull-down menu. If “Backup” is on the list, the backup option is enabled for your Workspot account.

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Creating a Backup Policy

  • Go to “Policies > Add a New Policy.”
  • Click the “Policy Type” pull-down menu. Select “Backup.” The page will alter to show backup options.

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  • Fill in the fields as described below:
    • Fill in a name for the policy.
    • Choose a time for the backups to start in 24-hour HH:MM format. Note the time zone for the backups when selecting this.
    • Select the frequency of Primary Backups (Daily, Weekly, Monthly).

      For weekly backups, choose the day of the week for the backup. For monthly backups, choose the day of the month.
    • If you also want to use Retention Backups, select the frequency of these. Otherwise, leave “Retention” at its default of “—Select Retention –“. Retention Backups must be less frequent than Primary Backups.
    • Click “Add Policy.”

Adding a Backup Policy to a Desktop Pool

Once you have a Backup Policy, it can be applied to the Azure persistent desktop pool of your choice—if you have enough Primary and Retention Backup licenses to accommodate all the desktops in the pool.

  • Go to “Resources > VDI Pools > poolname > Actions > Edit.”
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page, to the “Backup Policy” entry.
    • If there is no such entry, either you’ve selected a non-persistent pool or backups aren’t enabled on your account.
  • From the pull-down “Backup Policy” menu, select a backup policy. The default, “-- Select --” means “None.”

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  • Click “Save.”
  • You will see either an error message, typically reporting that you don’t have enough backup licenses to apply the policy, or you will be taken back to the “VDI Pools” page.
  • Click poolname to see the status of your pool. It should now have a “Backups” tab. The summary above the tabs should list the Backup Policy as well.

    Until the first backup is created, the “Backups” tab will say “No data available.” Afterwards it will be populated as expected.

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Editing or Disabling Backups on a Pool

Editing or Switching Backup Policies

Editing Backup Policies is not supported. Instead, create a new policy, then edit your desktop pool to select the new policy.

Switching from one Backup Policy to another will delete all the existing backups for the desktop pool. After clicking “Save” on the Edit Desktop Pool page, you will see the “Confirm Update Pool Details” popup, which reminds you of this. Click “Yes, Update.”

Disabling Backups

This is the same as switching Backup Policies, but you change the “Backup Policy” to “—Select —“, which means “None.” With backups disabled, all existing backups for the pool will be deleted.

You will see confirmation popup: “Confirm Update Pool Details.” Click “Yes, Update.”

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Restoring from Backups

Restoring from backups is done on a desktop-by-desktop basis. From “Resources > VDI Pools > poolname > desktopname > Action,” select “Restore Backup.”

You will be presented with the “Restore Machin/Disk” popup, which lists all the images available: the current (live) image, the Primary Backup, the Restoration Backup (if available), and the pool’s template image. Select one of these and click “Submit.”

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You will be taken to the “Manage Virtual Desktops” page and your desktop’s status will be shown as “Restoring Disk.” Eventually its status will return to “Ready.” The restored desktop will still belong to its user.

Backups are paused for this desktop until you resume them manually, to prevent backups from being overwritten while you are still working on the problem.

Resuming Backups.

Once you have satisfied with the restored desktop, resume backups via “Resources > VDI Pools > poolname > desktopname > Backups > Actions > Restart Scheduled Backups.”

Failed Backups

If a backup fails, it is retried. After three tries, the backup is abandoned until next time. The partial backup (if any) from the failed attempt is discarded and the most recent successful backup is retained.

Failed backups can be retried manually if desired, via “Resources > VDI Pools > poolname > desktopname > Backups > Manually Initiate Backups.”

Backup Status

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On the “Resources > VDI Pools > poolname” page, the “Backups” tab gives status information about every desktop in the pool for which a backup has been attempted at least once.

The backup status is one of:

  • Backing Up
  • Backup Failed
  • Backup Successful
  • Restoring Disk
  • Restoring Failed
  • Restored Disk

For large pools, you can filter the list of desktops to display only desktops with the selected status.

Backups and the Events Log

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Backup-related administrative actions are shown in the event log.

 

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