Windows Device Driver Requirements for Bare Metal Restore (BMR)

Windows Device Driver Requirements for Bare Metal Restore (BMR)

Article: 100026233
Last Published: 2015-06-22
Ratings: 0 3
Product(s): NetBackup


This article describes Windows device driver support needed for Shared Resource Trees (SRT) on BMR.


The BMR Option to NetBackup makes use of Microsoft licensed WinPE images for its Fast Restore activity.
For BMR 7.0 through 7.5, the version used is WinPE 2.1, which has a code base of Windows 2008 .
For BMR 7.6, the version is WinPE 3.0, which is based on Windows 2008R2.
For BMR 7.6.1, the version is WinPE 5.0, which is based on Windows 2012.
For BMR 7.7 through 8.0, the vrsion is WinPE 5.1, which is based on Windows 2012 R2.

When performing a Fast Restore SRT based recovery of a BMR client, the initialized WinPE OS environment will load into its kernel space all drivers that are compatible with the OS which it (the SRT) is based on for all devices that normal Plug and Play actions have discovered. It is important to also note that all such device drivers must themselves be compatible with the stated WinPE environments. Some NIC and MSD adapters whose device drivers install and load without a problem on a regularly installed Windows client may fail to load properly into a WinPE image.  It is the responsibility of the OEM vendors themselves to provide compatible WinPE drivers. If such a driver set is not publicly available from the OEM vendor, BMR restores that make use the given adapters as not possible.

For an SRT at the 7.0 through 7.5 release levels, the driver sets must be compatible (loadable) with Windows 2008 and WinPE version 2.1. This does not include driver sets that are specific to Windows 2003/2003R2 or Windows 2008R2.

For an SRT at release 7.6, the device drivers must be compatible (loadable) with Windows 2008R2 and WinPE 3.0.  This is a major change from previous releases.

For an SRT at release 7.6.1, the device drivers must be compatible (loadable) with Windows 2012 and WinPE 5.0.  This is a major change from previous releases.

For an SRT at release 7.7.x and 8.0, the device drivers must be compatible (loadable) with Windows 2012 and WinPE 5.1 This is a major change from previous releases.

Note:  The SRT "wim" files for WinPE 5.0 and higher are NOT released as part of the NetBackup 7.6.1 or higher  distribution. The base WinPE SDK files must be downloaded from Microsoft directly. See the appropriate  Release Notes and  BMR Administration Guide for details.

Although the native Windows 2012/2012R2 OS distributions are only released as 64 bit versions, a 32 bit WinPE 5.0 version is available. This can cause problems for device driver support beyond those versions that are natively included in the 32 bit WinPE 5.0 image. OEM versions at 32 bit architecture may not be available. For those circumstances, it may be possible to use 32 bit driver versions from Windows 2008 R2 OS releases or from installed drivers found in a 32 bit NBU 7.6.0.X (WinPE 3.0) SRT. This procedure has been verified for the Broadcom NetXtreme II 1Gb NIC adapters. If problems still exist on NBU/BMR 7.6.1.X (WinPE 5.0) 32 bit SRT instances, restore the client using a properly loaded NBU/BMR SRT version.

 When performing a server initiated backup of a Windows based client using a policy where the BMR feature is enabled, normal NBU processing causes "bmrsavecfg" to run on the client prior to the actual file level backup. As part of that activity, copies of OEM driver sets that exist on the client are collected and returned to the BMR Master Server.  This activity is for NIC (network) and MSD (disk drive) adapters only.  The driver sets are for those adapters alone, as installed on the client, and for the specific OS release of the client. If the driver found is a "Windows native driver" that is provided in the install media, the adapter information is noted in the configuration but no driver files are captured.

As part of the BMR configuration import process, BMR stores these driver copies in the BMRDB for later use by any restoring client of the same OS release. When making changes to a restore configuration in the "Discovered Devices/Drivers" section, only driver packages of the same OS as the restoring client are displayed for use.

When a new Shared Resource Tree (SRT) is created, it will only contain those drivers sets that are marked as "Windows Native Drivers" to BMR.  For device drivers that are beyond this level, BMR must insert copies into the SRT so that they can be used as part of the restore process.

New device driver insertion into an SRT is performed when a Prepare To Restore operation is initiated for a given client and where a network based SRT is specified. Network based SRT information is kept on the Boot Server's file system and can be modified.  Specifying a media (CD) based SRT will not perform any of these activities as BMR has no functionality to modify existing ISO images.

The basic process flow is as follows:

1. The "discovered devices and drivers" section of the restore configuration is parsed for content. In the 'drivers to be used for restore" section the specified OEM driver set is displayed for usage and must correspond to the driver support needed for restoring to the target hardware. If the driver in use is a Windows native  driver, it is not displayed.

2. For each driver set found in this section BMR will look into the BMRDB to find what it considers the best driver set it has in place regardless of the source of the driver set. The source of the driver set can be as imported when the client was configured into BMR, the import of another client's configuration that used a later version of that driver set, or a driver set that was manually inserted using the Device Driver Wizard section of the Boot Server Assistant.

The "best" driver set is found making use the driver version number and release date of the driver set, as noted in the BMRDB. It is important to note that the OS version of the driver set does not automatically exclude it from insertion into an SRT. As an example, some versions of driver sets imported from a Windows 2003 client may have Windows 2008 compatible system files and an appropriate Windows 2008 load stanza.  However, if no Windows 2008 specific version of the driver set exists in the BMRDB, the existing Windows 2003 version will be considered as the "best" option to use.

3.  This driver information is compared against the installed driver set information already in place in the specified SRT.
    a.  If no driver set is present, a new driver set is inserted into the SRT.
    b.  If the BMRDB version of the driver set is "better" than the existing drive set, it is updated in place.
    c.  If (a)  or (b) above is not performed, the driver set and SRT is left untouched.

4. If any driver update activity occurred with the SRT as part of the Prepare To Restore actions, a new media based (ISO file) SRT needs to be created in order to reflect the changes made.

The driver sets saved in the BMRDB can be displayed in one of two fashions.

1. Using the Administration Console, choose the Bare Metal Restore Management node. Then choose "Resources" and then "Packages".

2.  From a CLI on the Master Server, you can run the command "bmrs -o list -res Package". This command exists in the "bin" directory of the NetBackup install directory.

NetBackup/BMR 7.0 - 7.5:
If a Windows 2008 compatible driver set is not displayed as part of this activity, one must be manually inserted into the BMRDB.  This activity is performed using the Device Driver Wizard option of the Boot Server Assistant process.  When performing this action on a 7.0 GA Boot Server, specify the version to be "Windows Vista". For version 7.0.1 and later and all 7.1 or later releases, choose "Windows 2008" as the version. This process can insert both 32 and 64 bit driver versions into the BMRDB.  Ensure you specify the correct OS architecture as well.

NetBackup/BMR 7.6:
If a Windows 2008R2 compatible driver set is not displayed as part of this activity, one must be manually inserted into the BMRDB.  This activity is performed using the Device Driver Wizard option of the Boot Server Assistant process.

NetBackup/BMR 7.6.1:
If a Windows 20012 compatible driver set is not displayed as part of this activity, one must be manually inserted into the BMRDB.  This activity is performed using the Device Driver Wizard option of the Boot Server Assistant process.

It is important to emphasize that the device driver support present in the SRT is for the use of the WinPE OS environment only and not for installation on a restored client.  Device driver changes seen by BMR at restore time as part of its Dissimilar System Restore (DSR) activity are initiated by BMR downloading the noted driver set, which is specific to the OS level of the backup image and specified in the restore configuration, directly from the BMRDB on the Master Server, not from the SRT. Also, for some older hardware systems and adapters, a device driver at the required OS level may not be available for insertion into the SRT and the BMRDB.  As such, when using BMR to do a recovery ensure that the target hardware and adapters are supported on the OS that is the basis of the SRT.

UPDATE Note:  The following network device drivers are not compatible with WinPE 2.1 and will not load on a recovery client.  There are no compatible driver sets published by the OEM vendors. These driver sets make use of a virtual bus environment that is not compatible with the WinPE image used by BMR.

Broadcom NetXtreme II model BCM57810

An alternate WinPE 2.1 compatible NIC adapter must be part of the recovery hardware in order to restore the client using BMR.

For version 7.6, the updated WinPE 3.0 image has native support for the Broadcom NetXtreme II family of NIC adapters with the lone exception of the BCM57810 model, which was released after the WInPE image was created.  NIC support requires two driver sets to be installed:
        bxnd.inf & bxnd60a.sys files
        evbd.inf & eevbda.sys files



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