Hyper-V Backup & Recovery Tips for Success!
Hyper-V backup & recovery can become complicated once you factor in host data, volumes, domains, disks, VSS writers, services and the resulting issues that can arise. To keep the backups of your virtual machines simple, we’ve put together a list of best practice Hyper-V backups.
This is to cover Hyper-V specifically within a backup strategy. We’ve recommend reading our blog post on backup strategy as well.
Select a backup solution that fully supports Hyper-V backup & recovery tasks
Microsoft best practice mentions backing up guest machines within a Hyper-V environment be performed using the Hyper-V VSS writer.
The majority of backup solutions available (such as Veeam and Altaro) on the market utilize VSS to take snapshots of guest machines.
It’s also a good idea to keep the selected backup solution up to date to make use of the latest functionality and avoid potential bugs which prevent backups from completing successfully.
By assuring you’re running a backup solution that incorporates Microsoft best practices as it’s core function – you’ll be covered from end to end when it comes to Hyper-V backup & recovery!
Enable Hyper-V Integration Services on all VM’s
As mentioned above, backup software uses a VSS snapshot to maintain a copy of data that has changed during the backup, so that all of the data in the backup reflects the data as it was at a single point in time – this is called crash-consistent. Application-consistent means a VSS-Aware application checks its own files in the VSS snapshot to make sure they are correct. This is critical, especially for applications like Exchange and SQL.
Without Hyper-V Integration Services installed, a guest will not be aware of a backup job running on the host. This means you’ll only get a crash-consistent backup of the guest. When you install the Hyper-V Integration Services on the host, and enable it on the guest, the host and guest VSS writers work together to create online, application-consistent backup of applications like Exchange and SQL, inside the Hyper-V guest.
Also check for updates to Hyper-V integration services regularly.
Try avoid using dynamic .vhd(x)s for VM’s
The types of disks you use can have an impact on your Hyper-V host server’s performance and data integrity, both of which are important for backups. For this reason, your Hyper-V host server should use fixed virtual disks. Pass-through disks add complexity and don’t allow VM snapshots or Hyper-V replica, and dynamic and differencing disks add a performance and space overhead. Fixed disks enable better performance and data integrity. This means a better overall experience with Hyper-V backup & recovery.
Create a VM recovery checklist
In the event that the VMs become unavailable; provide clear documentation listing step-by-step procedures on what to do. If something goes wrong, someone can refer to this checklist to get your VMs back up and running quickly. You could have situation-specific procedures which cover everything from a simple guest VM running out of space to a VM host server going down.
Perform regular test recoveries of your virtualization backups
Don’t wait for your Hyper-V environment to suffer a critical IT incident. It’s important that you verify that you can recover any backup immediately. Periodically test the entire backup restoration process.
Test My Backups are Hyper-V backup & recovery specialists
Specializing in Hyper-V backup & recovery; TestMyBackups understand the challenges of regularly completing test recoveries of data. We can help regulate this (and have done so) for anyone from a small business up to large enterprises.