Backup for Files - Scenario: Multiple Service Plans with ShadowProtect Standalone

Written By Tami Sutcliffe (Super Administrator)

Updated at March 31st, 2021


How to approach the configuration of a single server with both volume and file based backups without a BDR appliance?


  • Existing guide for mixing Select and Basic service plans can be found here:
    • Axcient r - Basic/Select Guide
    • The guide's approach is with respect to archiving somewhat static data at a lower cost rate than more active data. This write up takes that general 
      approach and expands it to cover an example utilizing ShadowProtect Volume-based backups and File-based backups along with a few points to consider in how and where to configure the software and storage.
    • For instructions on how to configure multiple profiles in the Axcient backup software, see the above guide Step 2 on page 1.
  • For reference, the general Axcient ShadowProtect guide can be found here:
  • Additional information can be found in the web portal's Partner Center, found under the Support menu after logging in to the web backup portal.

Example Environment:

  • 1 SBS Server
    • C volume (OS) - intended for volume-based backup protection
    • D volume (Exchange, SQL data) - intended for volume-based backup protection
    • E volume (File data) - intended for file-based backup protection
  • 1 NAS (non-Windows) machine for storing ShadowProtect images.

Web Portal Service Plan Considerations:

  1. Basic plans have limited versioning, little to no open file support, and moderate per-GB pricing.
  2. Select plans have unlimited versioning, full open file support, and higher per-GB pricing.
  3. ShadowProtect plans ("ShadowProtect BDR" for Axcient appliances or "ShadowProtect Standalone" for everything else) don't expressly have open file support limitations but are restricted to a certain set of file types (see below), and have fairly low per-GB pricing.

Note: There are possibly additional considerations with respect to account fees, local-only storage fees, included credits, etc which are better to discuss with Accounting or your Account Manager to properly strategize and get the most accurate information.

Note: ShadowProtect plan allowed extensions include: spk, spf, md5, spi, txt, log, spwb, xsp, html, tmp, zip

Configuration Considerations:

  • In general, many global options found in the Axcient software under the Options panel can also be found under the Folder panel properties on a per-policy (or even per-rule) basis.
  • Key options involve in this scenario are mainly relating to open file support.
    1. Globally this is controlled via Options panel > Backup tab > Open File Backup section > Volume Shadow Copy Mode. The default is Auto. For ShadowProtect backups this is often set to Off.
    2. This can be controlled in a folder-specific manner via Folders panel > select the folder entry > Properties > (might have to pick All Backup Destinations if Remote + Local Disk and/or Local Network server are configured) > (should be on Properties tab) > Open File Backup section > Disable Open File Backup. A fresh install will typically have this set to Inherited: No, assuming the global option is still Auto. You can explicitly set this to Yes, if you wanted to leave the global option enabled for some reason.
      • Note: Our ShadowProtect BDR appliances are configured with global Open File Support enabled and VolumeImages folder-specific Open File Support disabled.
  • Also, a global-only setting (same location as Volume Shadow Copy Mode) is Volume Shadow Copy Provider. The default is blank. The most common setting used is *=Microsoft but click the label for more information. This is not important for the ShadowProtect profile if the Mode is set to off.

Note: These options (global and folder-specific) are unique to each configured profile. In fact, the only "common" area to the profiles configured in the software is the System Status panel and the list of log entries. Everything else is distinct to each profile.

Installation and Configuration:

Assuming the most optimal environment, the resulting volume layout, storage locations, and service plan usage would be as follows:

Account and Environment:

  • Web Portal to have single customer record with two parent accounts:
    1. One ShadowProtect Standalone account with associated ShadowProtect agent license, optionally this could be Basic.
      • While Select is an option, it is not cost-effective or technically-useful and does not give any advantages over using a Basic account for ShadowProtect files.
    2. One Select account
      • This account is intended for the E volume file-backup.  If this data is not requiring open-file support and needs no more than 30 days worth of version retention, then a Basic service plan would suffice.  If the data on the "E volume" is database or requires more than 30 days worth of version or deleted retention then it needs to be a Select service plan.
  • Server to have 4 volumes
    1. C volume with ShadowProtect agent installed
    2. D volume 
    3. E volume
    4. F volume (size 50 GB or so)

Software Installation:

  1. ShadowProtect agent gets installed in a standard manner on the C volume, in this example it should include the ShadowProtect console. Not really need the VirtualBoot plugin since you won't generally virtualize the server on itself.
  2. ImageManager can be installed to the C volume, or it could optionally be installed to wherever the Axcient software is installed.
  3. The file-backup software (Axcient) will default to the C volume; however, for ShadowProtect usage, it is advised to install it to the "largest" volume, or volume with the most space. A more optimal installation location would be a separate volume which would be around 50-100GB, certainly no less than 20GB. At issue is a "fingerprints" file which is involved in maintaining and tracking the Axcient backup, and it can get rather large (at least a few GB), especially when handling ShadowProtect files.

For Axcient installation, if F volume isn't an option, then E volume is best since not protected by ShadowProtect, but available free space is primary concern so if D has the most free space it might be more appropriate to install Axcient on D even with ShadowProtect running. Otherwise, best option is to have and install Axcient to the F volume.

Software Configuration:

  1. Configure Axcient software's primary profile as appropriate to capture and send the ShadowProtect images offsite (see the configuration guide links at the beginning of this article).
    • Turn Axcient software's global Volume Shadow Copy Mode to Off.
    • Set schedule appropriately with respect to ShadowProtect agent jobs and ImageManager: typically ImageManager to run at 12:05 am and Axcient to run 1:05 am or later depending on consolidation timing.
  2. Configure a secondary Axcient profile as appropriate for the contents of E (the non-ShadowProtect protected file data) using the Select account.
    • For instructions on how to configure multiple profiles in the Axcient backup software, see the Step 2 on page 1 of the Basic Select Guide:
    • Leave Axcient software's global Volume Shadow Copy Mode to Off.
    • Set Axcient software's global Volume Shadow Copy Provider to *=Microsoft to help minimize conflicts with the StorageCraft Shadow Copy Provider.

Note: Consider or watch the behavior of this profile's backup scheduling and performance in relation to the scheduling and performance of the ShadowProtect agent. They should be focused on backing up different volumes, but VSS can be tricky and Exchange limits VSS copies to a single instance at a time.