A couple of weeks ago Altaro has released the new version of Altaro VM Backup v7. Within this version there’re some great new enhancements and features. Here are some of the new features and enhancements:
- Boot from Backup
- Support for Windows Server 2016
- Augmented Inline Deduplication
With all these great new features and enhancements, Altaro VM Backup is a really nice solution for backup and disaster recovery in your virtual environment.
Altaro Offsite Server existed in the previous version, but was improved and has also an upgraded user interface.
The installation process of Altaro VM Backup v7 is really, really easy. In just a few steps, the installation is done. Really easy, really fast and just within a couple of minutes you’re ready to rock! If the Windows Firewall is turned on, all the necessary ports are configured automatically for you. After succesfully completing the installation, you can launch the management console. From this console you can perform all the configuration and management.
When you start the console the first time, there’s is quick wizard. In three easy steps, you can configure the software and you’re ready to make the first backups!
Three steps during the quick wizard:
- Step 1 – Add Host
Add your hypervisor to the configuration. It could be a standalone server or cluster environment (Hyper-V or VMware). Within the new version there’s also support for Windows Server 2016!
- Step 2 – Backup Locations
Add some backup locations to the configuration. You can choose the following options:
Physical Drive: USB, eSATA, iSCSI, Internal Drive
Network Path LAN Only: Network Drive, NAS or other Network Location
Offsite Locations: Mostly used for Disaster Recovery
Option 1: Altaro Offsite Server over WAN/Internet Connection
Option 2: Local backups are copied to one or more rotating drivers.
Simply add one or more backup locations and ‘drag and drop’ the VM’s to one of the backup locations.
- Step 3 – Take Backup
When you take the first backup of your VM’s, they will be assigned to the default retention policy of two weeks on both Backups and Office Copies. You can change the retention to assign a different policy or create a new custom policy that meets your business goals. The default retention policies are ‘Never delete’, ‘2 weeks’ (default), ‘1 month’ or ‘6 months’.
By default the VM’s are not assigned to a backup schedule. There are two backup schedules available out of the box.
- 20.00 on Sa and Su
- 22.00 on Mo, Tu, We, Th and Fr
Off course you can create your own backup schedule or multiples schedules to meet your business goals. Easily drag and drop your virtual machines to the right schedule to assign that particular virtual machine to the schedule.
Augmented Inline Deduplication
In pre-version 7 there was also a ‘deduplication’ technology called ‘Reverse Delta’. It’s not exactly the same technique as deduplication, but it served the same purpose. On a VM basis only the most recent data is placed in the most recent backup file. So this will save a lot of diskspace on a VM basis.
With the new version there’s a great new technology called ‘Augmented Inline Deduplication’. The backup operations are not only quicker, but far more efficient for storage as well. It will dedupe data across all your backed-up workloads!! All the backups are stored in a central repository and using a hash database to keep track of the deduped blocks. For example, 20 servers with Windows Server 2016 installed, there’re some similar files and data within each server. With the new Augmented Inline Deduplication technology, the similar files and data is only stored once!! And remember, the process occurs inline. This means that the process runs during the backup, not afterwards!!
So you don’t need to send more data to your backup repository then needed and it’s amazing fast! In my example I’ve 6 Windows Server 2016 virtual machines. When you look at the overall deduplication status, I saved about 88% percent on my storage. So this is incredibly efficient and the backup operations are really fast!
When you start the management console, you’ll see the main dashboard. You can see the most important things in one overview (Backup drive status, Active & upcoming Operations, Deduplication & Compression status, Recent Operations). It’s a really powerful dashboard with all the information in one overview.
Free Up Disk Space
It might be useful to delete some older backups. You can easy start a wizard, so you can delete previous backups within a few steps. Most of the time you use this option if you’re low on diskspace.
Boot from Backup
A great new feature within the new release of Altaro VM Backup is ‘Boot from Backup’. Now it is possible to boot a virtual machine directly from your backup. There are two options available, ‘Verification Mode’ or ‘Recovery Mode’.
The verification mode is very useful just to verify your backup is useful to recover from. The second option is to start a virtual machine directly from the backup, but also performing a full recovery of that virtual machine (Disaster Recovery). As soon as the VM is booted, a full restore operation takes place in the background.
When choosing the ‘Verification Mode’ the virtual machine will be booted directly from the backup location. Also you can enable ‘Disable network card’. So the new machine is fully isolated from your production environment!
From the console, you can connect to the specific virtual machine and login to the VM. After choosing ‘Discard VM’ the virtual machine will be shutdown and removed from your hypervisor (Hyper-V in my example). Very powerful to use without interrupting your production environment.
Sandbox & Verification
The Sandbox Restore feature allows you to test your virtual machines backups using a ‘Sandbox approach’ to ensure that the live original virtual machine is nog corrupted. This feature gives you two options:
- Verify Backup Folders. Verify your backup folders without attaching the virtual machines to the hypervisor. This should be used to verify the integrity of the data stored on the backup drive.
- Perform Full Test Restore. Performing a full test restore allows you to verify your backup data for a virtual machine as well as restore it to disk as a clone and attach it to the hypervisor to Ensure that it boots. This will not effect your live virtual machines!!
You can also schedule some ‘Test Drills’ so the whole sandboxing process is automated for you on a given time. Very powerful to guarantee the integrity of your data and virtual machines.
File Level Restore
If you want to restore only some files or data to your virtual machine, but not the whole VM and configuration, you can use ‘File Level Restore’. From the wizard you can select the specific virtual machine, the back-up to restore from and the data you want to restore. Next you’ve to choose a local folder or a network folder where to extract the files.
Altaro Offsite Server (Master Encryption Key):
When you’re creating a backup of your virtual machines, the data is on one single location. For disaster recovery it could be very useful to replicate the data also to another external location. In case of a disaster, you can boot directly from the ‘offsite server’ and your workloads are up and running again.
You need to configure an offsite location. This could be a physical disk, USB disk, LAN location or even a external location connected through the WAN (the Internet). In my environment I’ve attached some physical disks. Configure the new location and simply drag and drop the virtual machines to the new location. In my environment I only need two server: the domain controller (HV2016-DC01) and my webserver (HV2016-WEB01). All the other servers are included in the normal backup window.
One very important feature is ‘Master Encryption Key’. The Master Encryption Key is used for Offsite copies of all virtual machines & backups of any virtual machines which have been configured to use Encryption. Note: Encryption is disabled by default.
From the management console you can select the specific servers you want to copy to the offsite location and start the copy operations. Also very fast, very easy and powerful! Within a couple of minutes the virtual machines are copied to the offsite location(s). The speed depends on the bandwidth to the offsite location. Also in the offsite copies data deduplication is used.
Altaro VM Backup v7 is easy to install and configure. Within 15 minutes the first backup can be made. With some great new features and enhancements like ‘Windows Server 2016 support’, ‘Boot from backup’, ‘Offsite Server’, ‘File Level Restore’, ‘Sandbox & Verification’ and personally the greatest new feature Augmented Inline Deduplication, this version is a really nice solution to protect for virtual environment including disaster recovery.
Looking to the future, there could be ‘more’ cloud support, for example Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS). Currently you can set up Altaro Offsite Server on Microsoft Azure. When you can backup virtual machines directly from Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS), this software should even more powerful and you have all the things you need to meet your business goals!
If you have any questions or you want to use Altaro VM Backup in your own environment, you can download the software and use it free for 30 days or completely free for 2 VM’s!!