ALTARO Hyper-V Backup Review

I received notice from Altaro that they were looking for beta testers for their new Hyper-V Backup software.

Because I was very short on time, one of my Twitter followers Femi Adegoke (@awedio) reacted to one of my tweets so I thought I might ask him to review the product. Well he was very quick to accept my invitation. So here it is, our first guest blog post!

Let me first briefly introduce our guest blogger: Femi Adegoke lives in Thousand Oaks, Southern California. He is in charge of fixing all things IT for healthcare company WGA Management in California. Femi holds a degree in Architecture and Masters in Business. Currently he is implementing VDI using Quest vWorkspace with Hyper-V.

 

By Femi Adegoke

In Hyper-V world, these are exciting times.

The 3rd party eco-system is growing up. We are seeing new products come to market.

Via Twitter, I hooked up with one of the kings of hyper-v.nu, Cluster MVP, Hans Vredevoort (@hvredevoort). He asked if I would be interested in doing a review of Altaro Hyper-V Backup.

Altaro Software is a technology start-up that recognized the need to develop easy to use and innovative backup software that goes beyond traditional backup functionality. Altaro Hyper-V Backups works on Windows 2008 R2 (all editions), Windows 2008 R2 SP1 and Windows Hyper-V Server R2 (core installation) and should be installed on the Hyper-V Host (not within the guest).

Some features in Altaro Hyper-V Backup:

  • Hot Backups – Back up running VMs without stopping them.
  • Fully Hyper-V Aware – Altaro Hyper-V Backup does all the complex config connections and allows you to backup any instance in 5 clicks or less.
  • Agent Less – Installs on Hyper-V Host without installing anything within the VM itself.
  • Flexible & Fully Featured – Backup or Restore Individual VMs without having to restore an entire volume.

The current rev of the software is Beta 2.

The test was performed on a Hyper-V host running 2008 R2 SP1 with 2 virtual machines.

Installation

Installing the software was fast & easy, about 6 mouse clicks. Next, next….x6

clip_image002

Launching the Management Console after the install. This is the “Home” page.

clip_image004

The top pane provides info about your choice of two backup drives & backup schedule.

Configuration screen

Altaro is able to see both virtual machines running on our Hyper-V host.

  • Starwind iSCSI is a 2008 R2 SP1 vm using Dynamic vhd.
  • Win 7 is a Windows 7 64 bit vm using Differencing vhd

clip_image006

The bottom of the dashboard has 4 ‘clickable’ buttons.

Navigating from the right to left, we click the first button “User Guide”

clip_image008

The 2nd button is “Support”

clip_image010

Button #3 is “License Key”

clip_image012

The last button “About Altaro…”

clip_image014

To prepare for backup, move from top to bottom in the left column below the green Home Dashboard icon.

Configuration

CONFIGURE, Step 1: Select Hyper-V Guest VMs

The 1st step is to select the VMs we want to backup. At this screen we should see all the VMs that are installed on the Hyper-V host

clip_image016

CONFIGURE, Step 2: Select a Backup Drive

We have a choice of selecting a max of 2 backup drives.

For this test, my primary backup drive is a Network share. Clicking the “Select Backup Drive” button (highlighted in Yellow), a 2nd windows pops up. I can now choose the “Back up to network path” option.

Enter UNC path & save by clicking on green check mark “Select Backup Drive”

clip_image018

Secondary backup drive is a USB external hard drive.

clip_image020

CONFIGURE, Step 3: Setup Notifications

Here we can setup email alerts for various scenarios. For now, I have left this blank.

clip_image022

Backup

BACKUP, Backup/Restore Hyper-V Guest VMs

Here we can initiate a manual or scheduled backup. We can also enable or disable the scheduler. Restores will be launched from this same screen. At this point, you can tell we have no backups.

clip_image024

Clicking the Red screwdriver/wrench settings icon brings up this screen where we can set a backup schedule and adjust other settings.

clip_image025

clip_image026

I will now initiate a manual backup of the Win 7 vm.

clip_image028

Progress information is displayed in right side of the dashboard. The red square can used to cancel the backup process. The Win 7 vm is up & running. During the backup, I have a WordPad document open & YouTube video playing.

clip_image030

Backup is now complete. It took 4 mins

clip_image032

For more detailed information, go to the backup report

clip_image034

I aborted a backup (using the red square) so I could take this screenshot

clip_image036

After a successful backup, we now go back to the dashboard screen, which contains some newly updated info

clip_image038

Restore

RESTORE, Backup/Restore Hyper-V Guest VMs

What good is a backup if we can’t perform a clean restore..?

We head over to the restore section. Select the vm we plan to restore, click “Restore/Restore As..”

clip_image040

Restore Console is launched, select your options & restore locations.

clip_image042

clip_image044

A few messages pop up & we accept the defaults to begin the restore

clip_image046

This is a message we all love to see

clip_image048

Some more restore history reporting.

clip_image050

Conclusion

Props to the folks at Altaro for creating a very easy to use backup tool.

Even in Beta (current release is Beta 3), navigating around is intuitive & smooth.

More features are planned for the future:

  • CSV support <see update at bottom>
  • management console

I like this tool.

 

Final note by Hans Vredevoort

Thanks Femi!

The Altaro backup product in its current state is very suitable in non-clustered Hyper-V environments and backup/restore are a host level operation employing the Hyper-V VSS Writer. Meanwhile I managed to install the product, backup a VM, restore a VM in under 30 minutes. So I agree with Femi that it is a very easy to use product. The only warning I’d like to give is to be careful with backing up/restoring VM’s that do not support host level backups. For instance, restoring a VM running as a domain controller to a previous point in time can break the synchronization with other domain controllers. In my private lab however this is just a very easy to learn protection product that just does what it is supposed to do: Backup & Restore of Hyper-V virtual machines. The beta already supports SP1 of Windows Server 2008 R2. Another thing that I liked was the ultrafast response to a feature change in the product. The Altaro developers worked through the night and the next morning I could download the updated version. You don’t see that very often. I am looking forward to the final versions.

Free license

If you want to download and test this software go to:
http://www.altaro.com/hyper-v-backup/

You can receive a full license if you send an e-mail to david@altaro.com with hyper-v.nu in the subject.

UPDATE:  Meanwhile Altaro informed me that people are asking for their free licenses

Update July 31st 2011

Altaro is about to release Altaro Hyper-V Backup in three editions (Freeware, Standard, Unlimited). An important addition not mentioned in our review of Altaro Hyper-V Backup is support for Cluster Shared Volumes in Hyper-V Clusters. For a list of all features in the final version visit Altaro’s website

4 Comments

  1. Ian0x0r's Gravatar Ian0x0r
    May 30, 2011    

    Good write up. Look forward to to seeing the csv support

  2. July 31, 2011    

    Hot Backup is just for Windows VMs, right?

    • July 31, 2011    

      I found this on the site but haven’t tested:

      Feature: Backup crash consistent Linux VMs
      Back up crash consistent Linux VMs without shutting down the machine.

      Regards, Hans

  3. September 6, 2011    

    Great software but lacks the ability to backup the Hosts. Need a complete solution.

  1. Hyper-V Backup software : Altaro « Virtualisation & Management Blog on June 29, 2011 at 00:54
  2. Reviewing Altaro Hyper-V Backup including CSV support | Hyper-v.nu on August 2, 2011 at 23:51
  3. Altaro Hyper-V Backup getting ready for Windows Server 2012 on August 7, 2012 at 09:04

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>