Ideally when backing up and copying a VHD from a running VM you use your backup software, but you can also export the VM or copy the file manually.
Hyper-V checkpoints are a double-edged technology. Used appropriately, they can be a quick and simple solution to any number of problems. Used inappropriately, they can cause an entire deployment to be brought to a catastrophic halt. To make it worse, many people are not entirely clear on just what a checkpoint truly is. This guide is meant to help you correctly Implement Hyper-V Checkpoints.
Quite some time ago, we wrote a post about taking live backups in Hyper-V. Hyper-V Server 2012 R2 really changed the mechanics of backup. This post examines how those changes have affected live, or hot, backups. Until 2012 R2, backup was strictly based on VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) operations. Backup applications trigger VSS in the host. For standard backup operations of the file system, VSS responds by flushing buffers and pausing I/O. It also notifies any applications that had registered with VSS that a backup was about to occur, granting those applications the ability to perform any additional preparations necessary. One such application is Hyper-V. Hyper-V in these earlier versions would simply use the Integration Services, specifically the backup service, to notify the guest’s VSS of an impending backup operation. It would perform the same operations as VSS in the host by preparing its own operating system and… Read More»
For an introduction check out the article What is Hyper-V Replica and how does Replication Work. It explains what the benefits are of using it in a production environment as a disaster recovery technology. Hyper-V Replica Requirements To take advantage of the Hyper-V Replica, which is included as part of the Hyper-V server role, the following pre-requisites must be met: A Windows Server 2012 computer with Hyper-V Role enabled/installed. The hardware that supports the Hyper-V Role. Sufficient storage on both the Primary and Replica servers to host the files used by virtualized workloads. Network connectivity between the locations hosting the Primary and Replica servers Properly configured firewall rules to permit replication between the Primary and Replica sites For data to be transferred in encrypted formatted over the network, you are required to use HTTS which requires an X.509v3 certificate which supports mutual authentication. Hyper-V Replica Facts Change Tracking Module… Read More»
The Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) is tightly integrated with Windows XP and later versions of the Windows Operating Systems. Microsoft developers put together the efforts to design a centralized component which allows Windows applications (Windows Server Backup) and third party applications to initiate backup or restore requests for Hyper-V Virtual Machines with the help of Volume Shadow Copy Service.
Ah, the joys of encountering distinct technologies that share a name. There’s nothing at all confusing about that, is there? Today, we’ll look at the differences between Hyper-V’s snapshots and VSS’s snapshots. They do have more in common than just a name, but they have far more differences.
An earlier posting, “Backing Up Hyper-V Guests – Host-Based vs Guest-Based Methods”, discussed the differences between backing up virtual machines as though they were physical computers against utilizing software installed within Hyper-V’s parent partition to back up virtual machines as complete resources. When using the latter method, some backup software has the ability to coordinate with Hyper-v’s VSS writer to back up virtual machines without taking them offline. The considerations for enabling this to occur are examined in this article.
When is Application-Consistent Backup Vital? Not all situations require an application-consistent backup. Things such as file and print servers will be fine with crash-consistent and possibly inconsistent backups. If your application doesn’t provide a VSS writer, there might not even be a way to get an application-consistent backup of it while its containing machine is live. The most common need for application-consistent backups is the usage of database-backed applications. NOTE: This is the second blog post in a 2-series post. You can read the first post in this series here. When is Application-Consistent Backup Vital? Not all situations require an application-consistent backup. Things such as file and print servers will be fine with crash-consistent and possibly inconsistent backups. If your application doesn’t provide a VSS writer, there might not even be a way to get an application-consistent backup of it while its containing machine is live. The most common… Read More»
When designing any IT solution, many administrators often consider “Backup” to be little more than another box on a long list of items to check off. They verify that the software and hardware they’re using will handle the load, configure it to back up on a reasonable schedule, and forget about it. Some will take the extra step of restoring some data to an alternate location as a test. Hardly any go through the full exercise of simulating an actual catastrophe. Most of the time, this practice is completely harmless. Unfortunately, if disaster does strike, there are often more questions than answers. Planning ahead is critical, and that involves knowing what sort of backup you need and if your backup application can provide it. NOTE: This is the first blog post in a 2-series post. You can read the second post in this series here. Consistency Definitions To determine… Read More»
There are two ways to back up a virtual machine. One is to treat it as a traditional machine and back up using a locally installed software package or agent. The second method is to back up the virtual machine as an object from the perspective of the host computer. The traditional method is the most direct and the easiest to understand and implement. The second method requires specialized software that runs on the host and is more complicated. Both have their strengths and weaknesses.
A customer using Altaro Hyper-V Backup on a Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise SP 1 contacted us to report that his attempts to back up a Virtual Machine failed due to a VSS error.
A customer using Altaro Hyper-V Backup on Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise SP 1 contacted us because attempts to back up a virtual machine that had Small Business Server 2011 (SBS) installed were failing due to a VSS error. We began troubleshooting by collecting the Altaro Error Logs, Windows Application and System Event Logs, and a dump of the VSS Writers and Providers from the Hyper-V host.