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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Altaro Hyper-V Backup V4

 

Recently Altaro has just released Altaro Hyper-V Backup to v4. Let me share on my findings during testing and thanks to Altaro which allowed me to remote into their testing environment to perform certain in-depth testing which is not available on my test environment.

New Infrastructure

Altaro

Altaro Hyper-V Backup v4 allowed for multiple components deployment:-

a) Altaro Hyper-V Backup – Main installation which be installed on the Hyper-V server and also included management tool as part of the installation

b) Altaro Backup Server – require if you want to enable offsite backup

c) Altaro Management Tool – allow to install on Windows 7 and Windows 8 (64 bit) client machine to manage multiple Altaro Hyper-V Backup.

Improved User Interface

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On the dashboard, it give the similar look with “Server Manager” and it has included with “Available Offsite Copies” status which we are going to talk about it shortly. Management, daily operation and navigation is easy to use and you won’t have a hard time to get the job done from the left pane.

Backup Improvement – Compression & Encryption

In term of backup, it has went one level up whereby most Enterprise would love to have “Compression & Encryption”. The users will be able to choose which virtual machine to set compression in order to reduce the backup data size and this will eventually reduce the cost of having storage to hold the data.

For customer who are looking into security, Altaro has the solution to secure backup data with military grade AES encryption.

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Before allow encryption, do remember to configure “Master Encryption key” and kept in the safe place. Don’t worry if you lost the key. You can configure a new encryption key but those impacted VM would need to start backup from scratch. This make sense to protect the VM data.

Next on backup and offsite retention plan, you just need to drag and drop the VM into the correct plan either 1 day, 1 weeks, 2 weeks, 1 month or 6 month. If you don’t like the plan, you can easily create a new plan according to your requirement.

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Offsite backup with WAN Acceleration & Seeding to Disk

With Altaro v4, you can now create copies of backup to a second local or offsite location. In order to achieve this, you’re require to install Altaro Backup Server at secondary location, enable it and you can straight begin your offsite backup.

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With offsite copy location enabled, users has the options to configure backup locally and offsite copy in the backup schedule. If you notice, most screen shot here is either option, button or checkbox. It has less wizard based page which require you to click NEXT | NEXT | NEXT!

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But wait a minute! the VM image file is huge and will consume a lot of bandwidth especially 1st replication. Well, to solve this problem, Altaro include a features called “Seeding to disk”. Just select a VM and click Seed To Disk.

It will take the first full backup to a removable drive.Once seed complete, transfer the removable drive to secondary location and “Import seed from disk”. Subsequent backup will be incremental copies over the WAN connection and this will eventually eliminate any bandwidth issue. Guess what! Altaro Hyper-V Backup v4 came with Bandwidth Acceleration as well.

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Central Management Console

We are back on user interface case. Besides than simple UI, we now can have a Centralize Management Console to manage multiple Altaro Hyper-V Backup host.

Well, I’m not sure about you guy but I prefer to have 1 console to manage everything from a single location. So Altaro solution has passed on one of my requirement which I can think of for my future customer project.

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Before I forget , in order to allow central management, make sure all these ports to be opened

TCP Port Description
35100 Communication with the Remote Management Console
35101 – 35105 Communication with the Altaro Backup Server
24251 – 24252 Communication between agents on the same cluster
24253 Communication from the Remote Management Console to Agent

Let move on to talk about restoration.


Restore – Item Level Recovery : Exchange
 
I still remember my last review on Altaro Hyper-V Backup V3.5. One of the cool feature is perform File Item Level Recovery. All you need is just mount a VHD and restore files without having to restore a whole Virtual machine. This time around, we can do the same option for Exchange. Wow!

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All you need to do is

a) Use Altaro to backup Exchange VM

b) Once backup complete, you can select Exchange Database and view in Altaro Exchange Restore Console. From here you can restore email, calendar, notes and other items without having to restore a whole Exchange VM.

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Don’t just backup without knowing your restore option and process. How about test before disaster recovery?

Sandbox Restore

Before any disaster happen, it is very important to test and make sure the VM backup is able to work as expected.Here you can use “Sandbox”. Sandbox restore allow you to restore a VM as a test VM without interrupt the original VM. You can test sandbox restore several virtual machine (AD, File Server , Exchange, SQL, etc) and connected to private network for testing purpose. Remember to use separate virtual switch or private switch on your tested VM to avoid any interruption to original VM.

Sandbox1

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Just bear in mind that sandbox restore will take a while to restore your VHD (depend on your VHD size). If you would like to immediately test restore without restore an entire VHD, then you can select “Boot from Backup Drive”

Boot from Backup Drive

When select boot from Backup Drive, it will display a nice dashboard  that you can boot VM directly from backup storage and continue working within seconds. Only VMs which are uncompressed and unencrypted was able to Boot from Backup drive.

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With this option, you can quickly recover from any disaster and has the option to commit / discard any changes before fallback to original VM.

Alright, that’s all for today on my review about Altaro Hyper-V Backup V4. Do visit Altaro link to explore more on their existing and new features as highlighted above and experience it yourself.

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