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davecla
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Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by davecla »

Hello Team Veeam,

Is there anyway to delete files / folders from within backups - leaving the rest of the backup intact?

Have semi frequent need for remove selected information from backups (court ordered).

Any ideas?

Ideally it could be actioned programmatically and I could get a dev to wrap some code around to automate the process.

thanks
Dave

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Re: Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by Gostev »

Hi, Dave.

Basically, you can exclude files and folders during backup, but not after backup has been created (since it's an image-level, and not a file-level backup).

Best you can do is "ugly workarounds". One way to achieve this would be to spin up each restore point that you want to keep with Instant VM Recovery, delete the required files from the running system, and make another backup of this instantly recovered VM (for example, with VeeamZIP). All of this can be done programmatically. Once you're done creating the restore new backups, you should simply delete all the original backups.

I will take a note of this use case for the future versions (zeroing out content of selected files in all restore points). In theory, it should be doable - but it is not an easy feature to implement for sure. Also, the whole process will probably still require a very long time to complete (as we would need to mount each and every restore point) - but, at least it will be fully automated.

Thanks!

chrisdearden
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Re: Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by chrisdearden »

I suppose its the opposite of "legal hold" - more of a "legal purge"

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Re: Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by Jekit »

Hello
Do you have news about this request ?
Our servers host data from multiple clients.
We would like to delete a specific folder (example: SERVER / DISK / Client / XXX)
Is there a Veeam tool or partner product to help us automate this?
Jeremy

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Re: Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by foggy »

Hi Jeremy, you cannot delete any data from the backup files. But could you please elaborate on your request - is the "right to be forgotten"-related by any chance?

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Re: Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by pesos »

We are in the same boat as the OP - facing a legal issue where documents were disclosed in error to our legal team and now need to be purged from our systems entirely. Any update on this kind of functionality?

Thank you.

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Re: Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by Gostev »

No updates John. There has been very few requests for this functionality in the past years, as you can see from the dates of posts this thread. Thanks!

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Re: Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by pesos »

Good to know. Definitely something to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to use per-vm backup files!

Thanks!

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[MERGED] Selectively removing files from backups

Post by it2018 »

Is there any feature, or planned feature to be able to selectively delete files/folders from a backup or backup chain.
Occasionally the need arises due to client contract requirements that we remove all data after the project completion.

We're currently moving to using Veeam, and with our current software we would have to exclude the folder at the start then create a new job specifically for that. Does Veeam have any way of deleting from the backups rather than having to do this exclude/separate job method?

I appreciate it's a slightly odd requirement to want to delete from backups though I would think possibly more common with GDPR rules these days.

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[MERGED] Re: Selectively removing files from backups

Post by wishr »

Hi Chris,

You can modify your job and exclude certain folders/files/file types from a job at any point, but not from the existing backups.

I've moved your post to an existing thread covering the same topic - please take a look.

Regards,
Fedor

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Re: Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by cookiejc »

HI, I Just wanted to ask the same question really and found this thread. We work in government and use Veeam, with various government rules around data handling and the newish GDPR regulations, being able to remove individual files from existing backups would be a key requirement when we re assess our backup solution. I imagine every organization will face this issue. What do you do if a right to be forgotten request requires you to delete individual files from backup relating to an individual?

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Re: Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by Gostev » 1 person likes this post

Hello, backups themselves cannot be modified due to being image-level. However, even with file-level backups, attempting to remove individual records from within application database files on the binary level will corrupt the database - while removing the entire database file is rarely an option.

However, GDPR does not require removing data from backups either. And in fact, there are other existing regulations which require backups to be immutable. Otherwise, for example, criminals would be able to just erase the history of their crimes by requesting to remove their name from all records including ones associated with money laundering, making further investigations impossible.

What a GDPR's right to be forgotten requires is that personal data is not restored from backups back to the production environment, where it will become the part of production workflows like marketing emails. For this, we provide Staged Restore functionality to make required modifications to the backups, removing sensitive data from files and application databases before restoring the modified state to the production environment.

Here's a good video about GDPR > https://www.veeam.com/videos/general-da ... 11236.html

cookiejc
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Re: Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by cookiejc »

That's useful information thanks for responding

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Re: Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by Steven Bricklayer »

Any update about that request?

We have needs from clients to be able to delete all the database and data we have about them.

The staged restore solution is very complicated for such a basic need.

It means we will need to create one machine per client?

Thanks

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Re: Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by foggy »

Hi Steven, could you please elaborate on the actual requirement? As stated above, there's no requirement to remove data from all backups. If we're talking about Staged Restore, then you are able to perform it for several VMs within a single restore session. Thanks!

Steven Bricklayer
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Re: Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by Steven Bricklayer »

Hello,

Exemple :

I've a MS SQL server, hosting 5 databases.

I've a retention policy of 10 years.

3 years after I need to delete ONE of the database, from all our backup.

How am I supposed to do it?

Thanks

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Re: Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by soncscy » 3 people like this post

Hi Steven,

I think you just need to rethink your backup strategy as it's inconsistent with the obligations you've opened yourself up to with clients.

Image level backups are all or nothing, as you can see, and for sure I hope that no such feature to delete data from an Image level backup at a whim is ever implemented. It's a nightmare for the regulations I have that require that the image level backups be unalterable in such a matter. It's why we chose image level backups instead of traditional Guest-Level Backups.

You want DB level backups here, not Image level backups, and I don't see a lot value trying to get Image level backups to do that sort of thing as the focus is completely different. It's like trying to pound in a screw with a hammer -- surely you can do it if you hit the thing hard enough, but you're going to end up causing a lot of needless destruction, when you could just go and buy a screwdriver.

If I were you, I'd simply do the following:

1. Script periodic native SQL backups of your client databases to dedicated directories on the SQL server
2. Set up some Veeam job to backup, and only include those directories in the backup (lots of options for this)

I'm not sure you get the Veeam application restore options this way, but you get your granular deletes.

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Re: Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by gairys » 1 person likes this post

I actually have a specific need for this, with a very specific example. We run an on-premise Exchange server for a few researchers who work with government contracts. Sometimes these researchers "forget" to use the approved methods of file sharing and send an email with a sensitive document to a colleague at another organization. In this case, we are required to go into the Exchange server and remove all traces of the sensitive document, work with the receiving organization to purge their copy as well, then locate and purge all traces of the document from our backups.

For years we have been using physical servers for our Exchange environment and DPM for backups. Our DPM admin has a way to mount the archives and remove the data and provide evidence that the data has been removed. Recently we have been discussing moving our Exchange servers to Hyper-V, and we use Veeam BnR for all Hyper-V and VMware backups. Not having this feature throws a wrench in our process if we can't purge specific data because we would have to purge the entire backup.

We have worked around this in the past by using multiple databases and breaking out each into it's own backup job to minimize the amount we need to purge. Being able to mount and purge would help tremendously in our environment.

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Re: Delete files, folders from within Backups

Post by soncscy »

Gairy,

Can you share the regulation that governs this and its actual text? This is mostly for my own curiosity since every once in a blue moon I get a requirement from clients we're on-boarding with similar conditions, and every time we've asked for the actual regulatory text, either silence or it turned out to be a misunderstanding.

For the regulatory items my team deals with, backups are usually handled differently with the requirement for purging such breaches/sensitive items, as for example, if you have a regulatory requirement to purge data but also to have immutable data, these requirements are naturally at odds. Or suppose an item is declared "must be purged" but the server is on 200 different tapes somewhere in a vault in a mountain? Is it really required to retrieve and delete all of these tapes as they have "must be purged" data? I don't have a ton of faith in tech regulatory bodies, but surely they at least considered how messy and expensive this would be.

The Staged Restore feature of Veeam is something we've successfully used; basically, we maintain a scripting tool that on boot, checks a database we keep for "must never be recovered data", and runs a bunch of checks for such data on servers considered "sensitive", i.e., they might contain the data.

The script + the db to maintain are trivial to write up, and by restricting who has restore access and monitoring all restore activity, we satisfy the requirements readily.

This is why I'm curious on the specific regulation as almost always I see claims like this, but rarely does the actual regulation require such behavior. I'm not saying you aren't being accurate, I more just want to know what org actually requires this. If it's truly something you need, then from my point of view it's the same as I responded above: image level backups are not suitable for this requirement, you need to dump the EDBs periodically. A long as you have the logs as well, you should still be able to do the required manual deletion and still utilize Veeam to do the restores. But it just means you need to not use image level backups and instead do database dumps.

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