With the increasing emphasis on data availability, the Windows Server 2003 Shadow Copy Service is expected to play an important role in corporations that deploy Windows Server 2003. Volume Shadow Copy (this article uses the terms "shadow copy" and "snapshot" interchangeably) is both an infrastructure as well as a feature.
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The infrastructure benefits storage array vendors, providing them with a reliable way of defining a point-in-time where they may implement a snapshot in their hardware.
The feature, for the benefit of system administrators, is a fully functional snapshot using a copy-on-write software driver provided by Microsoft as part of the server operating system. Snapshots can play an important role in backing up data, disaster recovery and populating a secondary server with live data.
Snapshots using a copy-on-write technique require some location where the snapshot metadata and copied data can reside. This location is referred to as a "diff area" short for difference area. As the name implies, Volume Shadow Copy Service creates a snapshot on a per volume basis for NTFS volumes.
Here are eight important guidelines to consider when implementing the Volume Shadow Copy Service:
About the author:
Dilip C. Naik has more than fourteen years of experience in various roles at Microsoft, including software engineer, program manager, and technical evangelist. His contributions include writing CIFS/SMB code, CIFS-related RFCs, code and documentation for the Windows NT Installable File System Kit, as well as Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and performance/management (including storage management) features for the Windows platform. Dilip has also represented Microsoft on a number of industry standards organizations.
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