Over a year ago, I saw a post by Hyper-V MVP Charbel Nemnom about Altaro’s Hyper-V backup product that is now called Altaro VM Backup. I was very interested at the time because I was working on a Hyper-V\RDS implementation and thought it might be a good product to be aware of. I reached out and got myself a copy of the product. I used it and even grabbed screenshots to post a blog…but as, is a recurring trend with my recent posts and rants on Twitter..I ran out of time and never posted. Well, the guys at Altaro asked me if I would participate in their Beta program for version 6 and possibly blog about my experience. So, I did and this is the resulting post.
With that out of the way! Let’s talk about the product!!
The biggest and most notable change with the release of v6 is support for VMware ESXi\vCenter. As somebody who used the product for Hyper-V, the transition to use this version with the VMware Hyper-visor products was a simple transition to make. At home, I have ESXi installed on an Intel NUC and VMware vCenter on a Server 2012 R2 machine.
The setup of the product is very simple. You can set it up on your vCenter server or on a remote machine.
You will notice when going through the post install wizard on launching, you have the option to point to a remote box
You can point your backups to a physical machine or in my case, I chose to store my backups on a file share.
As with all good backup solutions, you can configure a backup schedule!
You can also setup your retention policies. Very simple, right?
When you’re all set you can select to take a backup of any and all VM’s
In my case the VM’s were backed up in less than a minute. I was going across Solid State Drives within the same box. I didn’t have a whole lot of instruction above because it is really, really simple. It’s exactly what you would want with a backup solution. Set it and forget it. You can setup alerts, to let you know if there’s been any issues with a backup. So really, you rarely need to go back to look at things unless you want to pull reports.
Once, you’ve got your backups, the next logical question might be…ok, what about when I want to restore a backup?
You can set what host, what datastore and what name to give for the restore.
A really cool feature is the ability to setup some automation for performing for sandbox testing of your backups. Rather than setup a backup and then have it fail and scramble to get it resolved, you can perform some sandbox testing! Very nice feature. You can also just have automated continuous sandbox testing.
What do you really want in a backup solution? You want something you can setup and allow it to do it’s thing. You want to be alerted when there’s any issues. I mean, how many times have you heard that somebody had a major outage and needed to restore from backup, only to realize they didn’t have a backup because their backup failed. This product gives you pretty great reporting and alerts. It’s very straight forward to setup. If you’ve got mixed use cases for VMware and Microsoft’s Hypervisors, you can use this product for both. At home, I like to backup my VM’s because I’ve got pretty limited hardware and am constantly working in my lab. I cannot and do not want to manually cycle through and backup my VM farms. This provides me with a reliable and simple solution that gives me peace of mind.