block level vs. file level

Could someone give (or reference a source) that explains  the difference between block level and file level storage of data, in simplest possible terms?
yip459Asked:
Who is Participating?
 
Larry Struckmeyer MVPCommented:
Windows?  Windows Server 2003 and before did file backups with NT Backup.  Windows Server 2008 and after do block level backups with wbadmin, fronted by a wizard.  Both will allow you to restore one or more files, and since Server 2008 R2 you have the option of selecting files.  You can also exclude files and folders.  

NTbackup had this "incremental" or "differential" variations, which I won't attempt to explain here.  Wbadmin does something similiar, but it is invisable.  It compares the prior bits on the backup target with the current bits on the source and only copies the changed ones.  So "incremental" backups with Server 2008 and later are usually very fast and can be done several times during an average work day.  (Shadow Copies, another topic for another time.)
0
 
Guy Hengel [angelIII / a3]Billing EngineerCommented:
in short: 1 file is stored using 1 or more blocks (depending on the size).
when doing a incremental or differential backup, when a file has changed, you can do
* a full file backup (all the blocks of the file)
* a backup of just the blocks that have changed ...

this is a good backup "compression" method if you have large files which don't change all at once, but only partially.
0
 
Tony GiangrecoCommented:
Block level backup is normaly usined in a image backup where the entire partition is backed up as one file compared to a file backup where each file is backed up one at a time. Both have their pros and cons.

We use Backup Exec for all server backups and Windows Backup for workstations.

File backups are normally more flexible as you can restore a single file. Image backups normally only allow the entire partition restore. Frommy experience with apps like Ghost yers ago, they normally perform Image backups.
0
Ultimate Tool Kit for Technology Solution Provider

Broken down into practical pointers and step-by-step instructions, the IT Service Excellence Tool Kit delivers expert advice for technology solution providers. Get your free copy now.

 
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
When most people talk about file or block they do this in terms of storage.  File level is just that, it's accessed as file.  The protocol that is typically used is NFS/CIFS (SMB windows NTFS,etc.).  Normally access for file is a NAS type of device

Block is the underlying storage and is accessed via Fibre Channel, iSCSI, Fibre Channel over Ethernet, etc..  Block storage is typically accessed via direct storage such as  an volume from a disk array or a LUN from a SAN device.

What are you trying to implement or looking into?
0
 
yip459Author Commented:
Just trying to implement some NAS storage, it gives the option to utilize block level or file level , and I needed more infomation about it in order to decide: Thanks all, very informative and you have all helped.
0
 
Paul SolovyovskySenior IT AdvisorCommented:
file level means that it can do cifs or nfs.  block level means that it can create a iscsi lun that youc an attach to a server as a volume
0
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.