VM Backups Solution: How to Back Up Virtual Machines
Before designing a virtual environment, comprehensive VM backups and recovery strategies must be considered before implementation. That being said, you need to utilize best practices that centralize management and process controls to ensure easy monitoring and a secure environment.
Nowadays, virtual machines (VMs) serve many purposes in modern computing environments, from running multiple operating systems or virtual servers to storing system backups to developing and testing new applications and services.
A robust third-party solution lets VM backups recover and restore virtual machines correctly. There is a massive advantage if the VM backup also helps you with Hyper-V backup and replication strategies.
Whatever their purpose, VMs typically contain configurations and data that your business can not afford to lose, making periodic VM backups as necessary as backing up your physical machines.
Virtual machines need a virtual machine backup data protection solution. The best VM backup solution is to look at third-party backup solutions.
Table of Contents
Briefly about how the virtual machine works
The basic system includes the physical machine and its operating system. Bare metal hypervisors do not require an operating system in this layer, so the hypervisor acts as a communication and translation layer.
Multiple virtual machines use the host’s resources by communicating with the hypervisor. On the other hand, applications and processes run on each guest’s operating system.
Virtual machine – definition, and backup
The virtual machine application creates a virtualized environment – simple enough, a virtual machine that acts as a separate computer system, complete with virtual hardware devices. VM runs as a window process on your current operating system.
You can boot an operating system installer into a virtual machine, and the operating system will be manipulated to think it is running on a real computer. It will install and run just like a real, physical machine.
You can open the virtual machine program and use it in a window on your current desktop whenever you use the operating system. The VM backup process for VMware VMs aids in data protection for the backup server to better understand what’s going on within the VMware infrastructure.
The virtual machine backup can be completed using a traditional backup product with agents in the file store of each virtual server. Yet, it can also be accomplished by recording or backing up the virtual machine and its files separately using a dedicated product designed for virtual server environments.
Backup VM is crucial for the virtual machine to make a backup by downloading read-only copies of the files and operating system and storing each version for later revocation and recovery.
Top 3 Approaches to backup and restore critical VMware data
Approach 1: VMware consolidated backup
VMware consolidated backup, or in short VCB, refers to a backup framework that removes the VM backup from the ESX server. The configuration eliminates backup traffic and frees up ESX server resources for VM performance. Data loss always triggers the idea of a data protection solution.
Approach 2: Local backup agent installed in each VM
The data flow to the backup/recovery infrastructure via LAN is essential. The backup software agent is installed in the VM in this traditional approach, just like a physical server. It is similar to what occurs if the agent is already installed on a physical server.
Approach 3: Backup Agent installed in the ESX service console
In this approach, you install the backup software agent in the designated ESX service console and backup the necessary VMDK file set on each virtual machine. Virtual machine backups provide continuous data protection with the VM backup software process.
Top VM backup practices to follow
- Use the vStorage APIs
- Schedule and test your backups carefully
- Keep in mind the backup alternatives for fault tolerance
- The recordings are not backups
- Learn how Quiescing and VSS work
- Do not back up your VM to the guest OS layer
What to look for in a VMware vSphere backup solution
- Optimized vSphere backup and recovery of vSphere environments with up to 1,000 VMs
- Protect Microsoft Windows guest operating systems
- Integrate and backup compatible applications for leading Microsoft applications
- Replication support
- More recovery options
As organizations increasingly relocate VMware virtual machines (VMs), the need for effective VMware backup and VMware recovery solutions has grown significantly. Numerous VMware backup solutions are available on the market presently.
VM protection is rugged with existing backup technology. Most solutions are inadequate for the software-defined data center (SDDC) or are too inflexible and expensive to scale quickly as data volumes grow.
VM backup is more comprehensive and contains all the data and information needed to restore a VM, while a snapshot is a single point-in-time copy of the data. Any proficient person or business that dives deeply into virtualization should consider virtual machine backup.
Therefore, you should be aware that many backup technologies offer only limited automation, adding to the complexity and inefficiency of the VMware backup process. So, choose your VM backups strategy carefully before acquiring a third-party backup and recovery vendor.