With some¬†incredulity, I just read a story on TechCentral.ie¬† where Veeam says that:
“44% of IT directors say they avoid using virtualisation for mission-critical workloads because of concerns about backup and recovery. At the same time, only 68% of virtual servers are, on average, backed up, according to the study of 500 IT directors across Europe and the US”.
That’s pretty damned amazing.¬† Why do I say that?¬† Because I know one MS partner here in Ireland sells Hyper-V because it makes backups easier and more reliable.
Hyper-V features a volume shadow snapshot service (VSS) provider.¬† This allows compatible backup solutions (there’s plenty out there) to safely backup VM’s at the host level.¬† This means that backing up a VM, its system state, its applications, and its data is a simple backup of a few files (it’s a bit more complicated than that under the hood).¬† From the admins perspective, it’s just like backing up a few Word documents on a file server.¬†
Here’s the cool bit.¬† When a Hyper-V VM is quiesced, the VSS providers within the VM also start up.¬† Any file services, Exchange services, SQL, and so on, are all put into a safe state to allow a backup to take place with no service interruption.¬† Everything is backed up in a safe, consistent, and reliable manner.¬† The result is that the organisation has a backup of the entire VM that can be restored very quickly.
Now compare being able to backup a VM by restoring a few files comapred to doing a complete restoration of a physical server when some 2-5 year old piece of tin dies.¬† You won’t get identical hardware and will have lots of fun restoring it.
BTW, if a physical piece of tin suddenly dies in a Hyper-V cluster then the VM just fails over to another host and starts working there.¬† There’s no comparison in the physical world.¬† Sure you can cluster there but it’ll cost you a whole lot more than a virtualisation cluster and be a lot more complicated.
Sounds good?¬† It gets better.¬† Backing up a Hyper-V cluster at the host level is actually not a good idea (sounds odd that something good starts with something bad, eh?).¬† This is because a CSV will go into redirected more during the backup to allow the CSV owner complete access to the file system.¬† You get a drop in performance as host I/O is redirected over the CSV network via the CSV owner to the SAN storage.¬† We can eliminate all of that and simplify backup by using VSS enabled storage.¬† That means choosing storage with VSS providers.¬† Now you backup LUNs on the SAN instead of disks on a host.¬† The result is quicker and more reliable backups, with less configuration.¬† Who wouldn’t like that?
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