13 File-Level Recovery

N2WS supports file-level recovery. N2WS performs a backup on the volume and instance level and specializes in the instant recovery of volumes and complete instances. However, in many cases, a user may want to access specific files and folders rather than recovering an entire volume.

N2WS also provides the ability to locate the same item across a chain of consecutive snapshots during a single recovery session.

AWS allows item-level recovery for individual files from S3 and EFS. After reviewing this section, see the sections below for target-specific considerations.

In previous versions of N2WS, you could recover a volume, attach it to an instance, mount it, and then access the data from within that instance. After completing the restore, assuming the volume is no longer needed, the user needed to unmount, detach and delete the volume. N2WS now automates this entire process.

To Explore the directory tree structure and select files or directories for recovery, the disk on the target backup must have an OS. If there is no OS on the disk, Explore will not work and a File Level Recovery Session will not open.

In the Backup Monitor, select an instance or volume backup and then select Recover. In the Recover screen, select Explore in the Instances or Independent Volumes tab. When selecting Recover Volumes Only, Explore is available in the Volume Recovery screen.

If there is more than 1 backup available to view, the File Level Recovery dialog opens showing the number of backups.

  1. To view an instance across a chain of snapshots, select the number of available backups to view.

  2. To view the latest backup only, leave the value at the default of 1.

  3. Select Start Session.

  • Only the number of available snapshots is presented, regardless of the number of generations.

  • There is a limit of 72 volumes in a File Level Recovery Session.

N2WS will open the Initializing File Level Recovery message.

Select Open Session for an Explorer-like view of the entire instance or a specific volume, folder, or files. Loading the session may take a few seconds. If the Initializing File Level Recovery message closes before you can select Open Session, in the left pane, select the File Level Recovery Sessions tab, select the active session, and then select Explore.

You will be able to browse, search for files, and download files and folders. Use the left and right arrows in the left corner to move between folders.

Files in an Explore volume may actually be soft links (symbolic links) to other files. Trying to access this type of file may result in an error. However, the file is accessible via its real path. For example, root/folder2/file2 is a soft link to root/folder1/file1, where /root/folder1/file1 is the real path.

Select any file or folder and then select Download. Folders are downloaded as uncompressed zip files.

To perform these operations, N2WS needs to be able to use AWS credentials belonging to the N2WS server instance account, with sufficient permissions to create and attach volumes. By default, N2WS will use the same credentials used to initially configure the instance, but they can be modified using the General Settings screen.

File-level recovery requires N2WS to recover volumes in the background and attach them to a ‘worker’ launched for the operation. The worker will be launched in the same account and region as the snapshots being explored, using a pre-defined worker configuration. See section 22 to configure a ‘worker’ instance in the region that the snapshots exist.

The worker will communicate with the N2WS server over both HTTPS and SSH. Verify that your configuration allows such communication.

After you complete the recovery operation, select Close for all the resources to be cleaned up and to save costs. Even if you just close the tab, N2WS will detect the redundant resources and clean them up, but it is recommended that you use Close. Sessions can be closed from the File Level Recovery Sessions tab also.

13.1 Limitations

There are a few limitations:

  • File-level recovery is supported only for file system types Ext2, Ext3, Ext4, NTFS, EFS, XFS, Btrfs.

  • If several XFS volumes have the same UUID, they cannot be mounted.

  • Explore works only on the supported file systems listed above. Attempting to Explore a volume of a non-supported file system will fail.

  • Explore works only on simple volumes and Logical Volume Management (LVM). LVM is supported with file-level restore on Linux, as well as for Windows dynamic disks. Additionally, disks defined with Microsoft Storage Spaces are not supported.

  • To Explore snapshots taken in a different region than where the N2WS server is, it is required to configure a ‘worker’ instance in the region that the snapshots exist. See section 22.

13.2 File Level Recovery from S3

  1. In the Backup Monitor, select a backup Stored in S3 and then select Recover. The Recover screen opens.

  2. Select Recover Volumes Only to list the available volumes.

  3. Select a volume and then select Explore Volumes.

  4. In the Initializing File Level Recovery message, select Open Session. Loading the session may take a few seconds. If the Initializing File Level Recovery message closes before you can select Open Session, in the left pane, select the File Level Recovery Sessions tab, select the active session, and then select Explore.

  5. In the File Level Recovery Session window, navigate to the desired folder. See section 13.

  6. Select the folders or snapshots to recover and select Download.

  7. To close an active session, in the File Level Recovery Sessions tab, select the active session and then select Close.

13.3 File-Level Recovery from EFS

You can restore up to 5 items in your EFS to the directory in the source file system.

To restore EFS at the item level:

  1. In the Backup Monitor, select a snapshot, and then select Recover.

  2. In the EFS Restore Type column, select File/Directory Restore.

  3. At the left, select the right arrow (>) to open the item recovery path input box.

  4. In the Paths for Files/Directories to Recover box, enter a forward slash (/) and the name of the path. See further limitations on the pathname in the Warning box below.

  5. Select New to add up to 5 recovery paths.

When defining a recovery path:

  • AWS Backup restores a specific file or directory. You must specify the path relative to the mount point. For example, if the file system is mounted to /user/home/myname/efs and the file path is user/home/myname/efs/file1, enter /file1.

  • A forward slash (/) is required at the beginning of the path.

  • Paths should be unique. If not, the 'This path already exists' error message will appear.

  • Paths are case sensitive.

  • Wildcards and regex strings are not supported.