Windows Server 2003's built-in Windows Backup application hasn't changed much from Windows 2000, which is to say you still need a third-party backup application if you want to manage backups on more than a couple of servers.
Figure 14.10 shows one of Windows Backup's most important features: the capability to back up the server's system state. The system state includes the server's Registry and, on a domain controller, a copy of the Active Directory database. Even if you're not worried about managing backups on your other servers, you must make a backup copy of the system state on your domain controllers; otherwise, you won't have any recovery options in the event of a total Active Directory failure, accidental deletion of an Active Directory object, and so forth.
Popular alternatives to Windows Backup include Veritas's BackupExec (www.veritas.com) and Computer Associates' BrightStor (www.ca.com). Both provide support for managing backups on multiple servers, utilizing robotic tape drives that hold multiple backup tapes, support for magneto-optical backup devices, and so forth. Windows Backup, on the other hand, supports only directly attached single-tape devices or backups to a file. Windows Backup supports only backing up the local server or network file shares; you cannot back up the all-important system state of a remote server.
For a quick tutorial on Windows Backup, visit www.samspublishing.com and enter this book's ISBN number (no hyphens or parentheses) in the Search field; then click the book's cover image to access the book details page. Click the Web Resources link in the More Information section, and locate article ID# A011401.
One important feature that's unique to Windows Backup is Automated System Recovery, Windows's built-in last-resort recovery system.