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					Best Practices for
Hyper-V Backups

Greg Shields, MVP
Senior Partner
Concentrated Technology
About the speaker
 Over 15 years of Windows experience.
   ● Administrator – Managed environments ranging from a few dozen to
     many thousands of users…
   ● Consultant – Hands-on and Strategic…
   ● Speaker – TechMentor, Tech Ed, Windows Connections, MMS,
     VMworld, ISACA, others…
   ● Analyst/Author – Fourteen books and counting…
   ● Columnist – TechNet Magazine, Redmond Magazine,
     Windows IT Pro Magazine, TechTarget Online, others…
   ● All-around good guy…
Honesty Moment: This Isn’t Fun.
 Hyper-V backups are not as trivial as they might seem.
   ●   Hyper-V host requires backup
   ●   Virtual machines require backup
   ●   Files inside VMs require backup
   ●   System State requires backup

 Bad decisions mean Hyper-V backups might not back
  up with the granularity you might need.
   ●   “I need to grab a file off a VM.”
   ●   “I need to restore a SQL database or a database row in a VM.”
   ●   “I need to recover an individual email from Exchange.”
   ●   “I need to bring back a VM from a specific point in time.”
Your Steps in Constructing the Right Solution
1. Determine what you want to backup.
   ● Files and folders?
   ● Applications?
   ● Entire virtual machines?
2. Determine from where you want to backup.
   ● Virtualization introduces “perspective” with backups.
3. Determine how you want to backup.
   ● Understanding backups means understanding VSS.
4. Determine with what will you backup.
   ● Native tools?
   ● Third-party solutions?
Step 1: What do you want to backup?
 Virtualization adds to the number of objects that could
  potentially be backed up.
   ●   Files                           Files and Folders
   ●   Folders
   ●   Application objects               Applications
   ●   Applications
   ●   Operating systems
                                      Operating System
   ●   Virtual machines
   ●   Virtual host
   ●   Virtual cluster                    Hypervisor

                                         Virtual Host

Hyper-V is Unique: The vSphere Architecture
Hyper-V is Unique: The Hyper-V Architecture
Step 2: From Where do you want to backup?
Perspective Drives Backup Agent Location

                               Agent in the
                             Primary Partition
Perspective Drives Backup Agent Location

      Agent inside the
      Virtual Machine
Perspective Drives Backup Agent Location

          Agent within the
           Storage Layer
Perspective Drives Backup Agent Location

           Cluster Aware
Some Perspectives Can’t Deliver

 Greater granularity with some perspectives.
 Less granularity with others.

 Less backup/restore effort with some perspectives.
 More backup/restore effort with others.

 Some perspectives can’t deliver on
                         what you want to backup.
Step 3: How do you want to backup?

 Backing up just files and folders is easy.

 Everything else requires the assistance of the Microsoft
  Volume Shadow Copy Service, VSS.
   ● Originally used to create volume snapshots for user self-service
     restores. Remember the “Previous Versions” client?
   ● Now a major component of all application-aware backups.
VSS Enables the How
 VSS is a Windows service that interacts with installed
   ● …to inform applications that a backup is about to occur.
   ● …to report when the backup is complete.
   ● …to instruct applications to perform post-backup tasks such as
     truncating logs and cleanup activities.

 The first job of VSS is quiescence.
   ● Quiescence = “quieting”.
   ● Coordinates backup jobs with applications to ensure successful
     backups without data corruption.
 The second job of VSS is coordination.
   ● Between applications, their data, and backup activities.
   ● Between backups and storage.
VSS Enables the How
 VSS is used when transactional-based applications
  installed to Windows servers require backups.
   ● Exchange, SQL, AD, Oracle, others…
 Virtual machines are a kind of transactional-based
   ● Virtual machines require quiescence for proper backup.
   ● Think of VHD files like little transactional databases.
   ● If anything changes in that database while you’re backing it up, you’ll
     end up with corruption.
   ● Things are constantly changing in VDK files!
VSS’ Three Components, Single Server

                VSS Writer                                 VSS Requestor
Microsoft Exchange
                                                                 Backup Application
    SQL Server               Volume Shadow
      Oracle                  Copy Service
 Active Directory

                              VSS Provider
                                             Operating System
                                              Storage Array

                               Disk Volume
VSS’ Three Components, Hyper-V
                Virtual Machine

                    VSS Writer
 Microsoft Exchange

                    VSS Writer                                  VSS Requestor
                                                                       Windows Server
   Hyper-V Writer
                                  Volume Shadow                           Backup
                                   Copy Service

                                   VSS Provider
                                                  Operating System
                                                   Storage Array

                                    Disk Volume
Disk Types Impact Backups
 Hyper-V can support many different types of disks.
  Different types require different backup approaches.
   ●   Fixed-size VHDs
   ●   Dynamically expanding VHDs
   ●   Passthrough Disks
   ●   iSCSI Direct Disks
Step 4: With what do you want to backup?
 Your options abound…
  ● Windows Server Backup
  ● Everything Else
Windows Server Backup, a Minimal Solution
 Windows Server Backup is Microsoft’s native solution
  for backing up Windows Server 2008/R2 and Hyper-V.
   ●   Disk-to-disk backup solution.
   ●   Designed for small environments, limited uses.
   ●   Single-server focus.
   ●   Disk Volume focus.

   ● No direct restorability for VMs.
   ● No direct restorability for files.
   ● No direct restorability for application objects.
VM Backup via Windows Server Backup
 Register the Hyper-V VSS Writer with WSB.
   ● Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
   ● Locate the following registry key:
       − HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows
   ● Right-click CurrentVersion, point to New, and then click Key.
   ● Type WindowsServerBackup, and then press ENTER.
   ● Right-click WindowsServerBackup, point to New, and then click Key.
   ● Type Application Support, and then press ENTER.
   ● Right-click Application Support, point to New, and then click Key.
   ● Type {66841CD4-6DED-4F4B-8F17-FD23F8DDC3DE}, and then press
   ● Right-click {66841CD4-6DED-4F4B-8F17-FD23F8DDC3DE}, point to New,
     and then click String Value.
   ● Type Application Identifier, and then press ENTER.
   ● Right-click Application Identifier, and then click Modify.
   ● In the Value data box, type Hyper-V, and then click OK.
   ● On the File menu, click Exit.
VM Backup via Windows Server Backup
DEMO: Windows Server Backup
WSB’s Idiosyncrasies
 WSB must back up all volumes hosting VM files.
   ● If VM configuration files are on the D: volume…
   ● …and the VHD files are on the E: volume…
   ● …then you must back up both the D: and E: volumes.
 WSB can either dedicate a drive to backups, or it will
  overwrite old data with each backup.

 WSB cannot restore individual VMs.
 Cluster Shared Volumes cannot be backed up by WSB.
 VMs that contain two or more snapshots will not be
  automatically restored.
   ● Requires manual intervention.
VSS’ Idiosyncrasies
 Disk types impact backups!
   ●   Passthrough disks cannot be backed up by the Hyper-V VSS writer.
   ●   iSCSI Direct LUNs cannot be backed up by the Hyper-V VSS writer.
   ●   iSCSI LUNs attached to the primary partition can be backed up.
   ●   VMs that contain dynamic disks must be backed up offline.

 Saved State backups will cause periods of downtime.
   ● Saved State backups occur when VMs don’t meet VSS requirements.
      − Missing Integration Services
      − Running OSs that lack VSS support
   ● Saved State downtime occurs during VSS snapshot creation.

Third Party Solutions, or,
                “What WSB Got Wrong”
 Boy, they sure didn’t make it easy.

   ●   Granular backup and restore.
   ●   Minutes of RTO, not “from yesterday”.
   ●   Changed block tracking
   ●   Deduplication, and compression.
   ●   Consolidation of perspectives.
        − One solution for restoring files, folders, application objects,
          and virtual machines.
        − One solution for backing up data, irrespective of disk type,
          connection, or location.

   ● Dead simplicity.
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