How to backup your Hyper-V enviroment – Part II

In part I we talked about the concepts and fundamentals of backing up a Hyper-V environment.
In Part II we’re going to talk about Different software that can be used to achieve this.
Now obviously there are multiple vendors offering backup applications, I cant go over them and I’m going to stick with the two that I personally work with.

I will however mention that most traditional backup software has now evolved to support backing up of Hyper-V, however they seem to support less options and be less flexible as they try to back up hyper-V using the same guidelines that they’ve used for years for traditional backup and most of the time these guidelines just don’t fit. Another thing worth mentioning is that you can actually use windows 2012 built-in backup to back up Hyper-V. It does a reasonable job and is free. however it is of course limited and I wouldn’t use it in a clustered environment.

Now the two programs I’m going to focus on are:

  • Microsoft System Center DPM (Data Protection Manager)
  • Veeam Backup & Replication

Both these programs follow the guidelines that I outlined in my previous post regarding VSS and both have a degree of visibility into the VM including item level recovery of objects from with in the VM.

Lets start with DPM.

DPM is part of the System center package so if you have purchased System Center then you have DPM. Therefor anyone using SCVMM is also entitled to use DPM. DPM supports backing up of any Microsoft VSS Product with specific support for Hyper-V, Exchange, SQL & Sharepoint.
The first thing to note about DPM is that it supports backing up to tape or to DAS (or any other form of local disk like iscsi or fiber), backing up to a nas is not supported. In the upcoming 2012R2 version you will also be able to back up to Azure and VHD storage pool disks.
When you run your initial Hyper-V backup a full backup will be performed know as a “replica”. After the full backup is created all future backups will be incremental know as “express backups” This meeans that after your initial backup all backups are incremental and take a short time to run, this in turn allows you to run multiple backups during the day and not just a single backup during night hours. Now that you have a backup or backups of your VM’s you can of course perform restores. With DPM we have two restore options for VM’s. The first is a full restore of the VM. This is basically used if your VM was accidentally deleted or harmed so badly that you just want to restore a previous copy of it. The second option is file level restore. In this case DPM will show you the actual files from within the VM (provided that the VM is a windows based VM) and allow you the option to restore specific files from with in the VM.

Now although I said that DPM supports Exchange, Sharepoint and SQL you can not perform Application level restores of these services from a VM backup. So your basically going to have run a second backup that is not Hyper-V based (this will require an agent in the windows server VM) to backup your Exchange & SQL Databases.

DPM Advantages:

  • Part Of the System Center Package
  • Once full forever incremental Backups
  • Support for all VSS aware applications

DPM Disadvantages:

  • Application layer protection requires a separate backup
  • Limited choices for backup destination

In this post we’ve covered Microsoft System Center DPM in a Hyper-V environment. In part III I”ll explain the benefits of using Veeam Backup & Replication to protect your Hyper-V enviroment.

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One thought on “How to backup your Hyper-V enviroment – Part II

  1. Pingback: Gil Gross on Microsoft | How to backup your Hyper-V enviroment – Part III

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