Guide: Back up and restore your VMs using Altaro VM Backup v.7

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Quick Access

Introduction
Step-by-step-guide

Create VM Backup

Take local VM backup

Take offsite VM backup

Restore VM backup

Full VM Restore

File Level Restore

Exchange Item Level Restore

Verify backups

Conclusion

Introduction

 

For the past few months, my conscience has been bugging me about backing up my VMs on my host. This something that I postponed every week, but a few weeks ago I was contacted by my blog sponsor Altaro who asked me if I wanted to write a guide and short review of their product: Altaro VM Backup. Perfect, I thought, as I would finally be backing up my VMs 🙂

Here is a short feature list of Altaro VM Backup (source: http://www.altaro.com/vm-backup/features.php)

  • Support VMWare & Hyper-V backups
  • Augmented inline deduplication
  • Leverages Microsoft VSS
  • Backup to local drive, network share or offsite backup
  • Windows Server 2016 support
  • Possibility to encrypt backuped up VMs
  • Full support for Cluster Shared Volumes & VMware vCenter
  • Instantly boot any VM version from the backup location without affecting backup integrity.
  • Browse through your Exchange VM backup’s file system and restore individual emails
  • Granular Restore Options for full VM or individual files or emails
  • Restore an individual or a group of VMs to a different host
  • Easily test the integrity of your backups for peace of mind

Step-by-step-guide

Download Altaro VM Backup

Download the 30-day unlimited trial here: http://www.altaro.com/vm-backup/download.php

Starting Altaro VM Backup

Following the installation of Altaro VM Backup, it is time to start the application. Search for Altaro VM Backup and run it.

You are greeted by a welcome screen where you will need to select which Management Console to connect to. It is possible to either connect to your local machine or to a Remote Machine. In my case, I will be connecting to the local machine.

 

Create VM backup

1. Create backup location

Local backup

Upon launching the Management Console, the first thing we will need to do is to add a backup location. In the screenshot below, I have already added a backup location. To add a backup location, simply press Add Backup Location as marked in the screenshot.

 

Now you are presented with two options: Physical Drive or Network Path.

Select Physical Drive if you wish to store the VM backups on a internal or external hard drive.

Select Network Path if you wish to store the VM backups on a network location, such as a NAS.

In my case, I added a Physical drive as the backup location.

 

 Offsite backup

Altaro VM Backup also supports Offsite backup. In order to create an Offsite backup location, select Add Offsite location to the far right of the same window.

You are now prompted with several options. Select one of the following and press Next.

Note: Altaro Offsite Server is required in order to replicate VMs to a remote backup location. You will need to download and install the Altaro Offsite Server on the remote machine which will host the backups.

2. Add VMs to backup location

Once you have created the backup location and you have returned to the Backup Locations node, simply drag and drop the VMs to the backup location.

 

 

3. Configure schedule

The next step is to create a backup schedule for your VMs in order to ensure that your machines are backed up on a regular basis automatically.

Create a schedule that fits your liking and drag and drop your VMs to the Backup Schedule of your choosing.

 

 

4. Configure retention policy

Now you will need to determine how long you wish to keep your backups. I will leave the default option, which is two weeks.

 

5. Configure advanced settings

Configure advanced settings such as deduplication and encryption. I strongly recommend to use deduplication as it will drastically reduce the size of your backups.

 

 

Take backup

Now it’s time to take the actual backup. You have the possibility to create a local backup or an offsite backup.

Local backup

Select Virtual Machines -> Take Backup and press Take Backup.


Offsite backup

In order to take a backup to an offsite location, select Take Offsite Copy.

 

7. Follow up

Once the backup has completed, follow up how the backup went, using Reports -> Operations History.

 

 

If you go to the destination directory for your backups, you can verify the file size. Because of the deduplication, the VM backups are significantly smaller in size than on the source.

The total size of my virtual drives was 143 GB. The backup is 41 GB, which is a storage space save of 71%.


This can also be seen on the main dashbord when starting Altaro VM Backup v.7:

 

Restore VM backup

Taking backups is good and all, but the most import thing is being able to restore the backups. Altaro VM Backup supports full restores of the VMs as well as granular file-level restore.

Full VM Restore

In most cases where the VM has stopped working for whatever reason, a Full VM Restore might be a good idea.

1. Select backup location

Start by selecting the backup location.

 

 

2. Select VM

Now, select the VM to restore.

 

3. Restore VM

Select the version of the VM to restore and press Restore.

 


File Level Restore

Select Restore Source

Start by selecting Restore Source.

 

Select Virtual Machine

Select the VM from which to extract the file(s) from.

 

 

Select Backup Version

Select the version of the backup that you wish to extract the file(s) from.

 

 

Select File(s) to Restore

Simply select the file(s) which you want to restore.

 

 

Extract files from backup

Almost there! Now you just need to select where to extract the file(s) to. Once selected, press Extract to extract the file(s) to the desired location.

 

Exchange Item Level Restore

Altaro VM Backup also support restore of individual e-mails from an Exchange VM using the feature Exchange Item Level Restore. I will not be going in to more detail in regards to this feature, as I do not have a source Exchange server.

Verify backups

If you want to verify the integrity of the backup data or perform a full test restore of a VM, this is possible using under the Sandbox & Verification section.

 

It is also possible to schedule the testing and verification of the backups, using Schedule test drills:

 

Conclusion

The first thing that hit me with Altaro VM Backup was how simple and easy to use it was..

Without referring to a user guide once during the process, I was able to backup my VMs and create the configurations I needed.

The built-in deduplication is also a nice feature as it saves a ton of space.

So in conclusion, Altaro VM Backup v.7 is a great solution if you want to have a hassle-free VM Backup experience.

If you want to have a look at Altaro VM Backup, you can download a 30-day trial here: http://www.altaro.com/vm-backup/download.php

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