Guide to Bare Metal Restore, Backup, & Recovery

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The term bare metal means a computer with no operating system, no partitions, and no installed software applications. It is the bare hardware and disk. In some instances, it may contain the basic input/output system (BIOS).

Once the server is set up and configured, the implementation of a data backup and disaster recovery plan becomes critical. Recovering and restoring data hinges on having a proper backup. 

A bare metal backup, as discussed later, produces a replica of the following:

  • Disk partitions.
  • Operating system.
  • Installed software application.
  • User settings.
  • Data.

This guide defines bare metal restore, backup, and recovery and their use cases.

What is a Bare Metal Restore?

A bare metal restore is the process of using a system image backup of your server to restore everything in the event of data loss or corruption. The server image includes the operating system and all data, including disk partitions, installed software applications, and user settings. With a bare metal restore, data restoration occurs without the need to do any preparation steps.

The term bare metal restore or bare metal recovery is often abbreviated as BMR and can be used interchangeably for both a restore and a recovery.

Bare metal restores are faster and more reliable because they do not require special preparation or steps to restore the server. While a BMR does not require the preparation most restore processes require, there are necessary components before you can start restoring data such as: 

  • Created disk partitions.
  • An installed operating system.
  • Patches and updates to the system.
  • Added drivers.
  • Installed software applications.
  • System configurations.

Liquid Web’s Acronis Cyber Backup solutions create bare metal backups for cloud and dedicated servers and store them off of the server, so they are safe and secure until they are needed. In addition, Liquid Web offers several storage location options, including Liquid Web cloud storage or Acronis cloud storage. 

Use Cases for Bare Metal Restore

The use cases for a bare metal restore include speed and ease when you need your server put back just like it was at the time of the backup. Reasons for needing a bare metal restore include: 

  • A catastrophic failure that takes out hardware or a storage disk.
  • File system corruption.
  • A failed operating system update.
  • An update or upgrade process that crashed.
  • A ransomware attack or virus infection.

A bare metal restore is the fastest and most assured way to get everything restored and back to a point where it is working again.

There are times when you may not have hours to diagnose and troubleshoot the scope of an issue and repair it. It can be very stressful when clients ask when things will be back to normal. A bare metal restore is the best option available to get things back to a working condition as it was at the time of the backup.

A bare metal restore is faster at getting a down server to a known-good state. Consider that the BMR is a one-step restore process that includes everything necessary to restore the system. Then, as a separate process before the restoration begins, it confirms all critical elements’ validity.

All of those steps must happen before restoring any data, and the new operating system and configurations will not be the same with other restore processes. Bare metal restores eliminate the potential for making mistakes while under the stress of getting things back online. You can rest assured that every facet of the system is the same as the backup because they are a point-in-time snapshot of the whole server and include everything as it was when the backup was made.

What is Bare Metal Backup?

A bare metal backup is a system image backup that includes everything on the disks and is used for full system restores or recoveries. For example, Acronis uses this to complete a bare metal restore.

Use Cases for Bare Metal Backup

The use cases for bare metal backup include restoring the system to a known-good state, particularly helpful before significant changes or upgrades. 

A bare metal backup saves changes on the server at regularly scheduled intervals. By keeping the changes regularly, you have more data to use as recovery points should they be needed. These recovery points allow restoration of accidentally deleted files or folders, database restoration to a known good state, and eliminate stress during a critical event by assuring you have a one-step process to get the whole server back to work quickly.

Liquid Web’s Acronis Cyber Backups perform a bare metal restore of the complete server or individual files and folders, as well as databases or disks. Once fully established, the default retention period for backups is one month, four weeks, and seven days. Depending on your storage quota size, you can modify the default settings to retain additional months, weeks, or days of backups or define more frequent backups for critical files or databases. 

Having regular backups over an extended period offers the assurance that you are ready when the time comes to restore or recover the whole or a portion of the server.

What is Bare Metal Recovery?

Bare metal recovery is the process of recovering a server and all contents to the state it was in at a specific date and time based on the availability of a bare metal backup recovery point and similar hardware. While bare metal backups can be recovered to another machine and in some scenarios to dissimilar hardware, it is best to recover to the same or nearly identical hardware to avoid the potential for boot failures due to differences in critical hardware components.

This concept mainly applies to bare metal recovery from a cloud to a dedicated server or from a dedicated server to another dedicated server where hardware is significantly different. Bare metal recovery from one cloud server to another should not have issues as both are virtualized.

Use Cases for Bare Metal Recovery

Bare metal recovery can create a new server from a bare metal backup for an existing server. This recovery is handy if your old server hardware is no longer available or has failed. Your configuration needs to get up and running on a replacement server as quickly as possible.

The bare metal recovery process also takes a fully configured server image and restores it to another server for faster deployment of multiple servers with the same configuration.

Wrapping Up

Bare metal backup, restore, and recovery gives you peace of mind and known protection from hardware failures and corruption, ransomware, and viruses. In addition, you can quickly use a bare metal backup to restore or recover a configuration to a duplicate or the same server. 

Bare metal recovery brings the server back to a specific point in time and makes the resulting server precisely the way it was right down to the last detail. Bare metal backups created before significant changes or updates give you the option to quickly go back without having to uninstall or reconfigure a system.

Liquid Web Acronis Cyber Backup is a bare metal solution to back up, restore, and recover your server. Are you ready to take the next step and add an Acronis Cyber Backup plan for your server? Get more information on features and options and answers to specific questions by contacting our sales team. They will make sure you have a solution tailored to your particular needs.

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About the Author: Ross Chesley

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