Jump to content
RESET Forums (homeservershow.com)

Hyper-V backup, failover, DR?


eagle63
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hey guys, for those of you running Hyper-V I'm curious to hear what (if any) strategies you have in place for backups, failover, disaster recovery, etc, etc. Here's what I'm doing:

 

I'm running the bare-metal Hyper-V with WHS as well as 2 other VM's on it. I've got 2 500GB drives in a RAID-1 configuration which hold my virtual hard drives, as well as the Hyper-V OS itself. (my WHS storage drives are not virtualized) The theory being that if one of my system drives fails, I can quickly switch to the other one because it's mirrored. (I can be back up and running relatively quickly) I also try to run an export on each of my VM's monthly to an offsite machine for disaster recovery. Clearly, once a month is not enough but I'm not sure how else to do a full backup of my VM's.

 

Anyone else doing similar things? Is there a better way to do automated exports or backups of the VM's? Normally I wouldn't be quite so concerned, but I've recently started using windows media center and am storing all my recordings on the WHS, so if it goes down (or the Hyper-V host hardware/software goes down) then suddenly I've got a problem on my hands. I'm just trying to plan ahead to minimize downtime should something happen.

 

Looking forward to any feedback!

 

-eagle63

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest no-control

I use a mirror for all of my VM's. then I do a bi-weekly backup of my data drives in the WHS VM and those go offsite. Include snapshots of the VM's on the offsite as well.

Edited by no-control
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks guys, I'm a little confused about snapshots however. Everything I've read seems to suggest that snapshots really aren't intended for backups, but rather to roll a VM back in time a bit for testing purposes. In fact, I think I read this directly on Microsoft's technet site. Is this true? Are "exports" the only reliable/supported method for doing VM backups? (and if so, is there any way to automate exports?)

Edited by eagle63
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The snapshots are not a substitute for backups but rather a means to quickly restore a server to a previous state. If you have a copy of the images/snapshots offsite, you can replicate your setups with little or no problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The snapshots are not a substitute for backups but rather a means to quickly restore a server to a previous state. If you have a copy of the images/snapshots offsite, you can replicate your setups with little or no problem.

I'm still a little confused on the difference then, so let me ask the question a different way: Does a snapshot require a running, intact VM? (I'm assuming yes...) So in other words, I couldn't use a snapshot to rebuild a VM if I had a total server meltdown. In that case, I would need a full export to restore a VM. But if I was about to do some experimenting on one of my VM's, a snapshot would let me roll-back to that point in case my experimenting screwed some stuff up.

 

If I'm correct in those assumptions, then I guess I see why snapshots are kind of useless. So that brings me back to the question of, "is there any way to automatically backup my VM's without manually shutting them down and doing an export"? I'll do a little research on my own for that, but if anyone knows of any solutions let me know! thnx,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest no-control

Snapshots are of the VM's only. In a total meltdown (whatever that means) I would assume that the host OS or Hypervisor would also be trashed. So you would need to restore the OS first. With everything running on a RAID 1 mirror and offsite backups of your important data including the VMs, vhd, and snapshot files. I don't know what size nuclear blast we're talking about where you couldn't restore using some combo of those 3 methods.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When you create the VM, a parent folder is created so if you backup those folders where the VM's are located you can always restore to that point in time. I've never done it with ESX but I know with VM Workstation & Server the program is smart enough to recognize if a folder containing a VM was recovered/copied to a location. You wil get a prompt asking was this VM moved or copied.

 

If I were to use a virtual server with any dedicated storage such as WHS, that storage would be external/deciated and "passed thru" to the OS. The OS is just the brains and with 2011, OS recoveries are much easier in my opinion.

 

The platform as it stand now is either plain vanilla for the home user or rather advanced for the enthusiasts. There's not much middle ground anymore unless you stick with V1 and I'm glad I have about 15 copies of the OS.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Snapshots are of the VM's only. In a total meltdown (whatever that means) I would assume that the host OS or Hypervisor would also be trashed. So you would need to restore the OS first. With everything running on a RAID 1 mirror and offsite backups of your important data including the VMs, vhd, and snapshot files. I don't know what size nuclear blast we're talking about where you couldn't restore using some combo of those 3 methods.

Yes I'm referring to the VM's. Re-installing the Hyper-V OS is not that big of a deal. I guess what I'm asking is, can I restore a VM using nothing but a snapshot? Or is a snapshot only useful when combined with either a full export or an intact VM? To put it another way, if my machine melted down and I needed to restore all my VM's from scratch, if I'd only been making snapshots I'm out of luck right? Though if I had a full export PLUS snapshots I could restore the VM's back to the latest snapshot??

 

When you create the VM, a parent folder is created so if you backup those folders where the VM's are located you can always restore to that point in time.

 

Maybe I'm wrong here, but my understanding is that manually copying the VM folders off of the filesystem is not what you want to do as there are a few XML config files (in a separate location) that you need to cleanly restore a VM. This is why you are supposed to use the export feature.

Edited by eagle63
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have only moved the folders with VM Workstation and the only prompt I received was one asking if the files were moved or copied. I have a VM of Version 1 that I use for testing and have multiple copies of the source files.

 

Again, what kind of nuclear meltdown are we talking about?

 

If you image the parent server, a VHD image file (assuming a Windows 2008 platform) will be available to restore the parent server from. Step 1 accomplished. Create the VM and do the same thing. If the server crashes, then so be it, I can rebuild it either with the VHD image I created up front and when combined with the image from the VM servers, disaster recovery is not that big if a deal, more of an inconvenience.

 

Once again, In my opinion, if you are going to use VM's do not include data drives in the initial build. Build the server, patch it, test access, and then add data storage in the form of either internal RAID arrays that are passed thru from the host or external storage, again being passed thru. You can also use independent singular drives for storage. Build the server with 160 gigs as required and then add storage. If the server dies, the data will, in most likely be safe.

 

That's why we backup...just to be safe. Right now I can think of 4 different ways for me to get to data that is important to me and I still get skiddish and paranoid about data retention.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...