How to backup your Hyper-V enviroment – Part III

In part I we talked about the concepts and fundamentals of backing up a Hyper-V environment.
In Part II We talked about Microsoft DPM as a Hyper-V backup application.
In Part III wich is also the final part we’re going to talk about Veeam Backup & Recovery.

A few words about Veeam. The company’s first release of backup and replication was in 2008. The company itself was founded in 2006 and specializes in virtual environments. Originally just VMware and later on added support for Microsoft Hyper-V. Their latest version of Backup & Recovery is Version 7 wich was released last month and adds a lot of new features to the product.
Veeam supports backing up to nas, DAS , remote Windows or Linux servers & as of version 7 tape. There is also a cloud edition which supports backing up to Windows Azure and other popular public cloud solutions.

The main features of Veeam Backup & Replication are:

  • Forever incremental backups – After initial backup all future backups are incremental. This can be in one of two ways, either reverse incremental which produces a single full backup file at the end of each backup with separate files containing roll back chains or synthetic full which produces an individual incremental file at the end of the backup and according to a set schedule will run a synthetic backup job to combine all these files into a single backup file.
  • Compression & Dedupe – All backup Jobs are compressed and deduped to save backup disk space.
  • Item Level Recovery – Veeam Supports item level recovery of Files, Exchange 2010/2013 items & Sharepoint 2010/2013 items. Enterprise edition also includes options for restoring of Active Directory objects and Microsoft SQL server tables. All of this is based on your existing VM backup and does not require a separate application backup.
  • Archive copy Job – A job that will copy backed up VM’s from an existing backup to a new backup (optimally in a 2nd location) and also allow you to archive the VM’s on a weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly rotation.
  • Tape Support – A great option for archiving, copies disk based backup to tape.
  • Instant Recovery – Allows almost instant recovery of a failed VM. The VM is run directly from backup with the need to perform a full restore. After the initial restore the VM can be migrated from the backup repository to your production Storage/Disk.
  • VSS support for the guest VM (In Hyper-V scenario also for the host).

Apart from Backups, Veeam backup & Replication (as it name indicates) can also replicate VM’s. It basically replicates entire VM’s between hosts & storage allowing you to effectively create a DR environment. This functionality is similar to Hyper-V replica. I feel that Veeam provides a greater level of control, visibility and failover functions. You also have the option for item level restore from a replicated VM. Another nifty feature of replication is the ability to keep restore points. So if you say replicate a VM every 4 hours and keep 6 restore points you’ll have the options to roll back up to 24 hours with 4 hour intervals.

Veeam advantages:

  • Forever incremental backups.
  • Full VSS support
  • Built in replication
  • Disk to disk to tape backups
  • Instant recovery

Veeam disadvantages:

  • No support for physical machines.

On a personal note I can say that I find Veeam Backup & Replication to be an excellent product. I have been implementing it for a couple of years now and nearly all of my Hyper-V implementations include Veeam as the backup solution.

In these three post we’ve covered the fundamentals of backing up a virtual environment, what you need to look out for and why. we’ve also covered two backup applications which can be used to achieve these goals. there are of course other backup vendors out there.
I hope I’ve enlightened you on backing up your virtual environment.
Good luck and let’s hope your never required to restore 🙂

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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.

Veeam Backup & Replication 7 Released

Veeam

Great news! The new and highly anticipated version of Veeam Backup & Replication has just been released.

For those of you aren’t familiar, Veeam Backup & Replication is one of the leading backup applications for backing up, replicating and restoring Hyper-V.

I’ll be writing a full post next week regarding backing up of Hyper-V using Veeam.

For now some of the new features available in Veeam 7 Are:

  • Support for tape device as backup target
  • Support for Exchange 2013 and Sharepoint 2013 (Object level restore)
  • 1 Click Restore
  • Virtual Lab for replicas – Allows the use of existing replicas to set up a virtual lab or test environment
  • Wan Acceleration for fast backups over WAN
  • Backup From Storage Snapshots  – Allows the use of storage snapshots for customers with HP P4000 or 3par Storages
  • VM backup copy and archive – You can now choose specific VM’s to be copied out of a backup job and apply long-term retention policies to that particular VM

Some Other Cool Features (already in place from previous versions are:

  • Forever incremental Backups – After one full backup all future backups are incremental
  • Instant Recovery (Allows almost instant availability of a failed VM, The VM is run directly from Backup without the need to perform a full restore
  • File recovery from both Windows & Linux VM’s
  • Compressing and dedupe of backups
  • VM replication with multiple point in time restore points
  • Full VSS compatibility for consistent backups in Microsoft environments.

Stay tuned for my future post on using Veeam Backup & Replication.