Solved

Backup live Hyper-V Servers

Posted on 2009-05-08
9
1,279 Views
Last Modified: 2013-11-06
I have a number of virtual servers whose entire images I'd like to backup for disaster recovery purposes without having to take them offline.

Can someone tell me if this is possible to do? I'm thinking it might go something like:

1) Take snapshot of live server
2) Backup the .vhd file and other files....? (What files do I need?)
3) Remove the snapshot and merge the changes

All the Hyper-V related files are on the same volume.

I don't at this point want to use VSS and Windows Server Backup (for space reasons) since I think you have to back up the entire volume.

Thanks!


0
Comment
Question by:shofarslee
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • +1
9 Comments
 
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:ashwin_kumar525
Comment Utility
I don't think there is a way to backup the VMs without using VSS. You either go by third party softwares or windows native backup, they invoke VSS in the back ground.

As for the third party softwares, you can go for CA ARCserve backup 12.5 version. They are coming with good features for Hyper V backup. You need to have some of the free disk space for the snapshot file to be stored temporarily.

http://arcserve.com/
0
 
LVL 22

Accepted Solution

by:
mutahir earned 350 total points
Comment Utility
Having recently implemented Hyper-V, what I did was the following :

a) Once I created the guest OS in a fully functional server (without implementing AD inside it), installed applications and all, did a sysprep and called it base.vhd, sysprep it and shutdown.

Once the vm shutdown, I then simply copied Sysdisk.vhd to a external storage.

This way I can recover the OS in no time as it has a copy on the local server and on the external storage as well.

Secondly, you can implement Symantec Backup Exec with virtual agents to pull data off the VMs ; in the past I have used simple windows backup as well to pull data off the vm's when we didn't have the symantec backup exec agents.

You can simply copy the VHDs as well, and also the VM config files as well, so that when you re-implement the Hyper-V environment you can then point to the VM Config ; or if you dont want to copy the vm config you can simply attach the VHDs again and it works.
0
 
LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:mutahir
Comment Utility
0
 

Author Comment

by:shofarslee
Comment Utility
Two questions:

1) If I take a snapshot, what files do I need to backup (and which can I ignore) so that I can "wake up" the virtual server on another Hyper-V Host with mimimal configuration?

2) Also, if there is a database running on the server at the time of the snapshot, will the snapshot process preserve the integrity of the database in the vhd file?
0
Do You Know the 4 Main Threat Actor Types?

Do you know the main threat actor types? Most attackers fall into one of four categories, each with their own favored tactics, techniques, and procedures.

 
LVL 10

Assisted Solution

by:ashwin_kumar525
ashwin_kumar525 earned 150 total points
Comment Utility
1. All you need to backup is VHD and VM Config files. You need avhd when you want those snapshot state.

2. There is NO guarantee for the Database integrity but most of the times, it works fine. The reason being is the writer that is backing up the VHD is not designed to keep the Database integrity. I have done a restore of a VHD running test Exchange 2007 and it was working fine after the restore, so i cant say that it wont work at all.
0
 
LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:mutahir
Comment Utility
There is a whole Hyper-V snapshot FAQ at the following link :
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd560637.aspx
and this link has good info as well : http://blogs.msdn.com/virtual_pc_guy/archive/2008/01/16/managing-snapshots-with-hyper-v.aspx

No, because virtual machine snapshots are not the same as backups created by a Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) writer. We do not recommend using virtual machine snapshots as a permanent data or system recovery solution. Even though virtual machine snapshots provide a convenient way to store different points of system state, data, and configuration, there are some inherent risks of unintended data loss if they are not managed appropriately. A backup solution helps provide protection that is not provided by snapshots.

One reason that snapshots are not an acceptable substitute for a backup is that they do not protect against problems that may occur on the server running Hyper-V, such as a hardware malfunction on the physical computer or a software-related issue in the management operating system. Another reason is that applications that run in a virtual machine are not aware of the snapshot, and will not be able to adjust appropriately. For example, if you used a virtual machine snapshot to restore an Exchange server, the server would expect the same set of client connections that were present when the snapshot was taken.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd252619.aspx
Hope this helps
 
0
 

Author Comment

by:shofarslee
Comment Utility
Thanks for the various replies and links. In addition to your answers, here's some additional context as well as results from some more research:

1) The reason for using snapshots to do backups is NOT because I want to backup the snapshot. It is solely so that I can "freeze" the .vhd file so that it can be backed up safely.

Thus, by taking a snapshot, I get a .vhd file that is "static" and thus ready to be copied to my backup location.

2) The problem: once I have taken the Hyper-V snapshot and copied the .vhd file (and config files), there is no way to merge the snapshot back into the .vhd file unless I take it offline.

Therefore, the ultimate answer is that you can only backup the server online once using Hyper-V snapshots (the very first snapshot you take). After that, you must delete the snapshot and then shutdown or suspend the virtual server to force the merge of the snapshot (.avhd) data into the main .vhd file.

So, my final solution for backing up the .vhd files with minimal downtime (but not zero downtime) is this:
1) Take Hyper-V snapshot of virtual guest server
2) Copy the .vhd file to another location
3) Delete the snapshot
4) Shutdown virtual guest server to allow merge
5) Restart server virtual guest server

This requires downtime between steps 4 and 5. Otherwise, I would have to shut down the virtual server. Copy the .vhd, and then restart it - which would be much longer downtime.

Thanks
0
 

Author Comment

by:shofarslee
Comment Utility
0
 

Expert Comment

by:technologyone
Comment Utility
I know this question is closed but in case anyone else is searching for similar information, you really need to consider Data Protection Manager which is part of Microsoft System Center.  The price tag is not unbearable at all (about $500 per server) and the feature set is virtually (no pun intended) untouchable.

http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/en/us/data-protection-manager.aspx

0

Featured Post

Get up to 2TB FREE CLOUD per backup license!

An exclusive Black Friday offer just for Expert Exchange audience! Buy any of our top-rated backup solutions & get up to 2TB free cloud per system! Perform local & cloud backup in the same step, and restore instantly—anytime, anywhere. Grab this deal now before it disappears!

Join & Write a Comment

When working with Microsoft SCVMM (System Center Virtual Machine Manager) in a Hyper-V virtualization environment, we have run across scenarios in which the failed migration of a VM from one host to another may leave the VM in a failed state. Specif…
Introduction RemoteFX is already in use today, but you're probably not aware of it.  With the advent of Windows 2012 and Windows 8, RDP has gotten a whole lot better due to the fact that RDP now uses even more RemoteFX technologies to make desktop …
In this Micro Tutorial viewers will learn how to use Boot Corrector from Paragon Rescue Kit Free to identify and fix the boot problems of Windows 7/8/2012R2 etc. As an example is used Windows 2012R2 which lost its active partition flag (often happen…
In this Micro Tutorial viewers will learn how to restore single file or folder from Bare Metal backup image of their system. Tutorial shows how to restore files and folders from system backup. Often it is not needed to restore entire system when onl…

772 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question

Need Help in Real-Time?

Connect with top rated Experts

12 Experts available now in Live!

Get 1:1 Help Now