Why Choosing a Dedicated Hyper-V Backup Product is a perfect choice (Part 2)

by [Published on 7 Jan. 2015 / Last Updated on 7 Jan. 2015]

The first part of this article series highlighted several reasons for not considering Windows Server Backup tool as a replacement for an enterprise backup solution. In the Part II of this article series, we continue to look at other possible reasons as to why choosing a dedicated Hyper-V Backup product is a perfect choice.

If you would like to be notified when Nirmal Sharma releases the next part in this article series please sign up to our VirtualizationAdmin.com Real-Time Article Update newsletter.

If you would like to read the first part in this article series please go to Why Choosing a Dedicated Hyper-V Backup Product is a perfect choice (Part 1).

Flexible Management Tool and Scheduling of Daily and Monthly backups

Third party backup products such as Altaro Hyper-V Backup and Veem ship with a central management tool which is capable of managing backup copies on multiple Hyper-V servers remotely. It also provides various backup options. Many IT organizations have a strategy in place in which backups for critical IT components, including virtual machines are scheduled in a timely manner. While Windows Server Backup tool can only schedule daily backups, a third party Hyper-V backup product allows you to schedule daily and monthly backup jobs on local or remote Hyper-V servers from a single management console.

Allows Backup copies to kept up to date at an Off-site Location

As part of the IT processes, every organization ensures that the backup copies are stored at an off-site location and these backup copies are kept up to date. These off-site backup copies help you recover your environment in case of any disaster takes place at the production site. As a manual process, you store the backup copies to an external media and then copy these backup copies to an off-site location. Think of keeping these backup copies up to date manually for hundreds of virtual machines at an offsite location. Windows Server Backup does not support taking backup to an off-site location automatically. A dedicated Hyper-V backup product can provide “Seeding to Off-site location” feature in which backup copies can be saved to an off-site location automatically. In “Seeding to Off-site location” process, only changed contents are backed up to off-site locations. Altaro Hyper-V Backup provides this feature and implementation of “Seeding to Off-site location” feature is very easy.

Ability to generate Email Notifications on Backup Failures

Backup failure must be noticed as quickly as possible. Whether you are a business owner or an IT administrator, you would always want to be informed of any failures with any IT components. Although you implement a monitoring solution which helps in monitoring the IT services running in the production environment, but notifications of successful/failure backups can be received only if you have implemented a notification mechanism. Although you can design scripts to receive email notifications when Windows Server Backup tool fails to back up a virtual machine, but it requires a lot of scripting work. A dedicated Hyper-V backup product provides the ability to receive email/SMS notifications not only for failed backups but also for other notifications such as successful backups, backups in which one or more files were skipped, and completed restore operations. Since most of the third party Hyper-V backup products provide notification features, it reduces the overall administrative overhead in configuring the notifications when you have hundreds of virtual machines running in your production environment.

Managing and Deleting backup copies which are no longer needed

For obvious reasons you do not want to keep the old backup copies. You would always want to delete the old backup copies so there is enough storage space available for storing the new backup copies. Before you delete a backup copy, you would also want to explore the contents of backup copy to ensure there is no important data in it. In case a backup product does not provide the automatic management of old backup copies, it becomes difficult to manage old backup copies when you have multiple backup copies for each virtual machine. Undoubtedly, Windows Server Backup Tool can automatically delete the oldest backup copies in case the backup drive is full, but a dedicated Hyper-V backup product provides the complete management of old backup copies. There are several third party Hyper-V backup products available which provide the features to manage the old backup copies which includes

  • Ability to schedule the deletion of old backup copies automatically.
  • Take automatic actions to delete the older backup copies based on the retention policy you configure for each or all virtual machines.
  • Allows you to view the contents of the backup copies before you can delete them.

Ability to Maintain Several Backup copies of a Virtual Machine

There are several reasons to maintain the multiple copies of a backup. One of the reasons is that it allows you to revert back the configuration of virtual machine to a point-in-time. Another reason is that the business services can be restored as quickly as possible from a backup copy of your choice. Although Windows Server Backup tool provides the ability to maintain the several backup copies of a virtual machine, but old backup copies are deleted automatically to free up some space for current backup operations. A third party Hyper-V backup product keeps the multiple copies unless you delete them.

Ability to Explore contents of the Backup Copies before Restoring

As an IT administrator, when it comes to restore a backup copy in the production environment, you will always have these questions. Am I restoring the correct backup copy? Can I restore from a backup copy which is restorable? Although Windows Server Backup tool provides you the list of backup copies available before a restore operation can be triggered, but it does not really help you explore the contents of the backup copy to ensure you are restoring the correct backup copy. In case you restore an unwanted backup copy, it might cause unnecessary delays in restoring the business services. A dedicated Hyper-V backup product can help you explore the contents of the backup copy before restoring the backup. It can also help you see the list of backup copies which can be restored successfully.

Ability to see Charts & Statistics and Reporting

Many third party backup products have a chart and statistics feature to quickly help you understand the overall status of your virtual machine backups including space used by backup copies, remaining free space, percentage of space allocated to each backup folder and many more. When you open the backup management tool, it shows you the information in a nice chart. Using reporting feature of a third party backup product, you can know how many virtual machines have been backed up successfully and how many virtual machines have failed.

Conclusion

The first and second part of this article series focused on the reasons for implementing a dedicated Hyper-V backup product instead of relying on native backup mechanism tools such as Windows Server Backup. So far we covered why not use Windows Server Backup for backing up and restoring virtual machines running on Hyper-V. If you need to see how many backups are completed, how many backups failed, remaining space on the volumes where backup copies are stored, and current backups in progress, a dedicated Hyper-V backup is what you need. In the final part of this article series, we will address the common reasons for not considering Hyper-V Replica as a replacement for a third party Hyper-V backup product.

If you would like to be notified when Nirmal Sharma releases the next part in this article series please sign up to our VirtualizationAdmin.com Real-Time Article Update newsletter.

If you would like to read the first part in this article series please go to Why Choosing a Dedicated Hyper-V Backup Product is a perfect choice (Part 1).

See Also


The Author — Nirmal Sharma

Nirmal Sharma avatar

Nirmal Sharma is a MCSEx3, MCITP, and was awarded Microsoft MVP in Directory Services. In his spare time, he likes to help others and share some of his knowledge by writing tips and articles for various online communities. Nirmal can also be found contributing to PowerShell based Dynamic Packs for ADHealthProf.ITDynamicPacks.Net solutions.

Advertisement

Featured Links