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Automating backups of Server 2012 with Hyper V

Posted on 2014-03-24
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I am about to jump into the world of Virtual environments. I have allot to learn.

I want to automate daily image backups on a new Windows 2012 Server - Standard Edition.

I might, in the near future (when I become more familiar with it), implement the Hyper V (VM'S) inherent in the new system. Microsoft allows you the ability to create two VM'S - hosted on the original 2012 Standard Server. Will 'Symantec System Recovery 2013 - Server Edition' backup closed/or opened Hyper V VM'S, as well as the host it resides on (Microsoft 2012 Standard Server)?

I guess my question is, do you backup the data within a VM while performing an image of the original host system?

 
I will also be attempting to run 'Symantec System Recovery 2013 - Desktop edition'. I run into the same problem. My client is running VM ware and Virtual desktop on a Windows 7 Pro system. Will this product be able to backup virtual machines?
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Question by:GeeMoon
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11 Comments
 
LVL 42

Accepted Solution

by:
Adam Brown earned 2000 total points
ID: 39951649
Any backup software should be able to perform VM backups as long as Volume Shadow Services (VSS) is enabled. VSS allows access to files that are in use, and most backup software utilizes it. If you run a backup on a VM host, you will get the raw VHD and XML configuration files for all the VMs that are running on the host in your backup, so you can conceivably restore a backup of the VM files and have a fully restored server right then and there. But you can also run the backup software in the VMs themselves to back up the OS of the VM itself, rather than the whole VM. Just depends on how you want to run restores.
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Author Comment

by:GeeMoon
ID: 39951715
Thank you for the quick response acbrown2010.

I don't seem to be getting a straight answer from Symantec, Carbonite, CDW, etc.

So, If I run my imaging software (Symantec System Recovery - Server Edition) on my 2012 server, it will backup the whole system, including any VM'S ,open or closed, provided I have VSS enabled correct? I don't have to purchase a special type of virtual backup software, above and beyond my main host backups?

If I understand a VM correctly, isn't it basically just a file that sits on the host drive, that contains the OS, Applications and all the generated data for a particular virtual machine. I am thinking   I can generate what ever I want inside the VM, close it, and grab a copy of that VM file that would be included on the daily automated image backups.
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LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:Adam Brown
ID: 39951727
You should be able to, yes, though it may be a good idea to run a script that shuts down the VMs prior to backup. As long as you have the VHD file for the VM and the XML files that define the hardware abstraction layer for the VM, you can restore a VM on any Hyper-V server without issues. Both of those should be covered with a full backup of the Host server.

And yeah, VMs are just a Virtual Disk file, but there are some additional files that are used to define the HAL for the VM (basically it is a config file that contains the hardware addressing needed by the OS to run properly).
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LVL 42

Expert Comment

by:Adam Brown
ID: 39951732
Also, FYI, you do need to be a little careful when restoring a VM in an Active Directory environment. If you restore a VM that is really old, it will typically have lost the secure channel configuration needed to communicate with AD and will need to be re-added to the domain before it will work properly, so be careful with how you handle restoration of Host based VM backups. Also, if the Host server runs any OS before 2012, Hyper-V doesn't support restoration of VMs that are Domain Controllers. 2012 has some functionality to allow restoration of Virtual Machine based DCs, but 2008's version of Hyper-V will cause some major problems when restoring a DC VM.
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Expert Comment

by:Mohammed Khawaja
ID: 39952053
If you are looking for a solution, look at Microsoft Data Protection software (MDP) as it can perform backups of hosts and VMs.
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Expert Comment

by:Mohammed Khawaja
ID: 39952060
Oops, it is called DPM.
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Author Comment

by:GeeMoon
ID: 39955933
Thank you for all the valuable input....

Just waiting on some info from Symantec to add to the discussion.

I will get back ASAP
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Author Comment

by:GeeMoon
ID: 39972836
Symantec is more concerned about the licensing of the product. They state if you are running a host and two VM'S, you'll need to install SSR (the backup software) seperately on all entities. So the above would require 3 licenses installed on each VM and host.
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Author Comment

by:GeeMoon
ID: 39972850
Sounds like, to be safe, If I use a VM, in the future, I probably should run a separate automated backup within the VM. I just have to coordinate the backup schedule between host and VM.
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Author Closing Comment

by:GeeMoon
ID: 39987435
Thank you for your quick response acbrown2010
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Expert Comment

by:DutchUSA1
ID: 40071328
We are using Altaro Hyper-V Backup and it's working great!
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