The Client PC backup functionality in Windows Server 2012 Essentials and Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials was designed to store the backup images of the Client PCs on a locally attached drive to the server itself. It does this as it needs to always ensure it has access to the drive given that at times, a network drive might be unavailable.
Several people in the community have asked however if it’s possible to store these backups on a network drive. Whilst this is not supported by Microsoft, there is a way to do it.
If you connect an iSCSI target to your Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials machine, it then appears to be a local hard drive. You can then use the wizards in Windows Server 2012 R2 to relocate the client PC backups folders to that new iSCSI target which achieves the same result. I’ve done some limited testing of this myself and it does work.
Be careful however of a couple of things.
- Microsoft do not support this configuration – therefore if there’s a problem with it due to the use of an iSCSI target, you might get told “we won’t fix it”, which is fair enough.
- Client PC backup is a VERY network intensive feature as it aims to use intelligence to determine which sectors need to be transferred and then send them as fast as possible to the server. If you are doing this then the traffic between the client PC and the server will be pushing the network hard. Storing your backups on a network location, if it’s on the same physical network, will therefore add to the congestion of traffic and ultimately slow down the overall backup of the client PC, not to mention any other applications you might be running at the time.
So – can you store them on a network drive? Yes – but you’ve been warned
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