Strategy – A Greek word meaning “art of troop leader” or a high-level plan for achieving one’s goal. Isn’t it important and mandatory to chalk out strategies before investing in something important? Obviously. Why Strategy and what’s its need? To achieve efficiency, resiliency, effectiveness and at last the most important aspect – Success.
This, by all means, applies while choosing a data protection solution and an effective Backup strategy for best possible results. One of the few topics which have gained humongous attention in the field of enterprise data centers and having several businesses dependent on it is Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor. To ensure that your Hyper-V backup is potent and effective you have to make sure you select the right “Hyper-V backup strategy”. In this blog, I am going to explain few Hyper-V backup strategies you can utilize and implement so as to achieve what you call as a dream data protection plan.
Preferring Host – Level Backups above Backup Agents: Backing up your Virtual Machine data in Hyper-V environment can be approached in two distinct ways. Agent level Backup – the old fashioned technique for backing up your Virtual Machines. This method has become outdated with plenty of new techniques coming into the foray. That being said, this method has its own advantages as well as flaws, but the shortcomings seem to be more prevalent.So the other option ? Host – Level Backup – Why? Host Level backup in a Hyper-V environment offers you a consolidated approach for backing up your Virtual Machines. For a image based backup to be created, Vembu has the ability to communicate directly to the Hyper-V host for extracting the backups from its Virtual Machine. All this is done at Host Level.Again, why Image based backup? Image based backups have the ability to restore Virtual Machine in its original state by capturing the virtual hardware and settings without the need of reconfiguring it from the beginning.
Backup Agents take a back step while dealing with this option as they capture just the data and do not capture the hardware settings. Vembu provides Host level Hyper-V backup designed specifically for protecting the VM’s on Microsoft Hyper-V Servers. Understanding Importance of RPO and RTO The topic of RPO and RTO a frequently used term, pops up whenever you think of establishing a proper data protection plan. You must understand what RPO and RTO are exactly for understanding the importance it offers for an organization planning their recovery strategies. So what is RPO and RTO and what does it have to do with disaster recovery ? RPO alias Recovery Point Objective defines the amount of data loss a business can endure. It is the point in time to which systems and data can be recovered post a disaster.
Many organisation consider it as one of the key factors which plays a important role when drawing out their recovery strategy. RTO or Recovery Time Objective is the amount of downtime a business organization can endure for its survival and still have operations functioning ie. a stipulated time you set to overcome the disaster.
Vembu offers True 15-Minute RTO for Mission Critical VM Systems with Vembu VMBackup. Offline Backups vs Online Backups : For creating a backup in Hyper-V environment, two methods namely Offline Backups and Online Backups are used which utilise the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to take snapshots of backup copies regardless of its condition. What we have to understand is that the snapshots are just snapshots and not a backup copy. Offline Backups – A very inconsistent method of backing up your Virtual Machines, this method utilises the Microsoft Hyper-V VSS writer a windows technology to make sure that the Hyper-V Virtual Machine is in a state of Hibernation so that a proper image of the VM at that point of time can be created. Once the image is created, the VM will return to its previous state. If you notice, there will be few minutes wherein the VM cannot be reached. This is why this method is deemed inconsistent. Online Backups – This method of backing up your Virtual Machine is more advantageous as the VM will be active and can be reached anytime during the VSS process.
The biggest drawback with the previous method was with its inconsistency which doesn’t exist in this method and applications that need consistency such as databases will be benefitted. Hyper-V Snapshots are not backups : In our earlier blog regarding VM Snapshot vs Backup we have clearly stressed on the importance of understanding the difference between a VM Snapshot and a Backup. The same myth is being followed with regards to Hyper-V backup that snapshots or checkpoints as you call them are viewed as backups. Snapshots should not be depended upon as a source of backup because if any files (virtual) are corrupted your snapshot also has high probability of being corrupted too. Snapshots precisely should just be used for the purpose of rolling back or for other processes.
Including Encryption in your process : One of the important practices in Hyper-V backup strategy which most people tend to omit is including Encryption in your strategy too. It is mandatory that your backups are safe and secure. Encryption is done at two levels “at rest” and “in flight”. Encryption has evolved over the years and is a basic necessity now when any organisation plan to adopt a backup strategy.
Vembu offers end to end encryption and utilises built in AES-256 bit encryption for backing up your virtual machine’s data.
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