Veeam Backup & Replication – Full System Restore

The restore procedure for Veeam Backup & Replication v5 is really very simple, if you have suffered a system crash… as long as you have the correct files in place.

I recently had this issue, I had Veeam Backup & Replication v5 installed on a virtual machine using the inbuilt SQL Server 2005 Express edition.  The backups are stored locally on a separate disk but we do not backup the server as this would cause even larger backups.
This server had some monthly Windows patches applied to it which, unfortunately, caused the Operating System to crash.  After a while of attempting to recover the server, I decided to perform a rebuild of the server.  This is the process I followed.

The files that are required to recover the server are as follows:
Operating System Installation Files
Veeam Backup & Replication Installation Files
Veeam Backup & Replication License File
VeeamBackup.mdf database file
VeeamBackup.LDF database log file

Looking down the requirements, you may think start to think that these are just standard items until you reach the requirement for the database files.  With the Veeam installation to a SQL Server 2005 Express instance on the server, then the database files are stored on the C: drive with the SQL Server files… this then becomes a problem if the C: drive of the server is unable to boot.

Database File Recovery
The simplest recovery method for the database files is actually to, temporarily, add the old server C: drive to another virtual machine.  This will then appear in the virtual machine as another drive.  You can then browse through the files on the drive to find the VeeamBackup.mdf and VeeamBackup.LDF files.  Once you have found the files, make a note of the files location and then copy the files to another location on the virtual machine where the disk is mounted.
Once you are happy that the files have been copied across as expected then go and remove the previously added disk file from the virtual machine to return it back to normal.

System Recovery
Create a new virtual machine as you normally would and install the Operating System with the installation files.  Perform any additional tasks that would normally be performed when building a new virtual machine in your environment, for example, joining the machine to your domain, install Antivirus software etc.

Once the Operating system has been installed, begin the installation of the Veeam Software from the installation files using the License file when requested.  When asked about whether you wish to point to an existing database or install a new instance of SQL Server 2005 Express, select the option to install a new instance of SQL Server 2005 Express, we will use the old database later in our procedure.

Database Recovery
The next step is to replace the database files that have just been created during the installation procedure of the Veeam software.  To be able to gain access to the database files, there are a couple of actions that need to be performed.  The first task is to download the SQL Server 2005 Express Management Studio software from Microsoft, once you have downloaded this, perform an installation of the software.  Whilst your file is downloading, go into the Windows Services area of the system and stop all Veeam services.
With the SQL Server 2005 Express Management Studio installed, start up the application.  Log onto the local SQL instance.  Browse through to the VeeamBackup database.  Right mouse click on the database and then click ‘Detach’.  You will now be asked to confirm, make sure that all of the tick boxes on the confirmation screen are ticked, this will close down all current connections etc, and then accept the detach function.  The database will now vanish from the list of databases.
Browse to the location where the VeeamBackup files are stored and then rename the files.
Browse to the virtual machine where the original VeeamBackup files were copied to, and copy them into the location when you just renamed the new database files.
Go back into the SQL Server 2005 Express Management Studio, right mouse click on the databases entry and then click ‘Attach’.  Browse for the VeeamBackup.mdf file that you just copied onto the system.  Accept the defaults to attach the database to the SQL Server.

Final Steps
You are now at the point that you can start up the Veeam services again.  Once this is done, you can start up the Veeam console again.  Please note that you will not be able to perform any backups at this point, this is due to the passwords for the vCenter servers will not exist on the new server.  Right mouse click on the first vCenter server and then click ‘Edit’.  You should see a tab for authentication, simply re-enter the password for the assigned user account and then click OK to accept.  Repeat this process for any additional vCenter servers you have in your environment.  You should now be able to go ahead and perform a test backup using the new Veeam installation.

About the Author


I have been in IT for the past 15 years and using virtualisation technologies for around the past 8 years. I started, as quite a lot of people do, working with PCs after playing with such iconic systems like the ZX81, ZX Spectrum and then progressing through 386s, 486s, Pentiums etc. After being headhunted at sixth form to work for a small company based around Hertfordshire, UK. I began working with small businesses and gaining a lot of hardware experience. Three years later, after helping to increase the size of the business, I needed to gain exposure to a larger environment to progress my own career. I joined a large manufacturing company around Electronic Test and Measurement which progressed my skills onto more PC work, hardware work and then onto Server Operating Systems. I progressed again onto a consultancy company based in Reading, UK. Initially working as an engineer performing hardware / software installations for larger companies contracted out to the consultancy company, I moved up into a Consultant position continuing my travel across the UK assisting and providing solutions to companies. I finally moved on again to my current position, working back in Hertfordshire, UK. Again working for a large manufacturing company, this time with over 50,000 users worldwide. I am responsible for the datacenter hardware, the storage environment, the vmware environment and also implementing their new Citrix XenApp farm. My days are busy but also productive, its a friendly environment and in my four years of being with the company, I have seen many changes in technology and infrastructure in use within the company. About the site I started this site as I had been thinking of having more of a presence on the web for a while. On a daily basis, I perform tasks and use tools that others may not use or may not think to do and therefore I thought that I would share some of these experiences and tips with others to help with their day to day work. Currently, my main focus of work is around VMware and Veeam Backup & Replication but hopefully as my tasks progress, I’ll be able to share useful bits of information about other areas of IT as well.

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