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Backing up Virtual Machines in Hyper-V

Posted on 2013-11-22
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Last Modified: 2014-11-12
Hi,
 
 If I have several virtual machines on Hyper-V (Windows Server 2012) for example,  XP, Win7, Win Svr 2008, SBS2011. If I like to back up each virtual machine, should I attach one external USB Hard Drive for each VM and set up Backup Schedule on each VM?

Thanks.
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Question by:sglee
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7 Comments
 
LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:Mahesh
ID: 39670995
Yes you can backup Hyper-v 2012 individual VMs on external drive with predefined schedule

Only the fact is I am not sure the reliability of USB HDD in terms of it read write capacity and strudyness

instead you can add server class HDD, might be in Raid-1 or raid-5 configuration depending upon your server disk availability for backup
OR you can attach SAN FC as disk volume on Hyper-V server and backup your VMs on that volume
This will ensure reliable and better performance for backup
http://workinghardinit.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/windows-server-backup-benefits-from-improvements-in-windows-server-2012/
http://virtualizationreview.com/blogs/virtual-insider/2013/02/back-up-hyper-v-vms.aspx

Mahesh
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Accepted Solution

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Svet Paperov earned 315 total points
ID: 39671377
It depends on the purpose of the backup, what you would be asked to restore, and your budget. In most cases, you would have a mixed solution:

- Backing up on the host level for disaster recovery (host and all virtual machines) and
- Backing up on some of the virtual machines for restoring data inside of the VM without restoring the whole VM.  

Even if you have host level backup only, it is possible to restore a file from inside the VM but you need to restore the whole VM first and attach the VHD disk. However some enterprise class backup solutions (not the included Windows Backup) allow recovering from inside of the VM without restoring the whole VM.

Another consideration when you do a host level backup: client OS, like Windows XP, Windows 7 (except for Enterprise edition) and Linux-based OS do not support VSS and the VMs will be put in Saved state before backing them up.

About the backup tools:

- Windows Server Backup and the command-line based wbadmin are free tools part of Windows Server 2008 and later
- WSBackup allows backing up to a locally attached device – a USB disk, or an iSCSI target – and it can perform incremental backups
- Wbadmin can be scheduled via Task Scheduler to back up on network share. However, it does full backups only.
- There same unexpressive tools like BakcupAssist, for example, that add a GUI to wbadmin allowing more flexible schedules
- And then, there are the enterprise class backup solutions from CA, Symantec, Veeam, etc.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 39671437
Thanks for the information.

If I schedule Windows Server Backup on Windows 2012 and back up everyday, will it backup all the virtual machines every day incrementally? If that is the case, then the server backup will save every single changes made to all the VMs daily on the backup drive. In other word, I don't need to backup each VM to respective external USB drive. Am I assuming right?
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Expert Comment

by:Svet Paperov
ID: 39671442
That's correct.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 39671453
Then I won't bother backing up each individual VMs and use Windows Server backup on W2012.
In terms of restoring then, I should be able to select a specific date during restore process and restore specific files/folders off certain virtual machine?
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LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:Svet Paperov
ID: 39671563
Yes, but by specific files, it means the whole VHD/VHDX.

If you need a file inside of the VM you will have to restore the VHD file to a different location and open it on the host or attach it to a VM to extract the file.

Backing up with Windows Backup on the host level is for disaster recovery, when you need to recover a VM in full, for example. If you have a VM running a file server, on the other hand, it will be more efficient to implement a backup from inside the VM so you would be able to restore files without restoring the whole VHD first.

As I sad in my first post, there are enterprise class solutions that allow restoring an individual file from inside the VM without restoring the whole VHD first but Windows Backup lacks that capability.
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Author Comment

by:sglee
ID: 39671762
Thanks for the information and I appreciate it. As you suggested, I will do Windows server backup for disaster situations like server  hardware failure and raid corruption... etc. For file/folder recovery, I will still do Windows backup within VMs as I see fit.
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