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.
Installing the software was fast & easy, about 6 mouse clicks. Next, next….x6
Launching the Management Console after the install. This is the “Home” page.
The top pane provides info about your choice of two backup drives & backup schedule.
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
The bottom of the dashboard has 4 ‘clickable’ buttons.
Navigating from the right to left, we click the first button “User Guide”
The 2nd button is “Support”
Button #3 is “License Key”
The last button “About Altaro…”
To prepare for backup, move from top to bottom in the left column below the green Home Dashboard icon.
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
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”
Secondary backup drive is a USB external hard drive.
CONFIGURE, Step 3: Setup Notifications
Here we can setup email alerts for various scenarios. For now, I have left this blank.
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.
Clicking the Red screwdriver/wrench settings icon brings up this screen where we can set a backup schedule and adjust other settings.
I will now initiate a manual backup of the Win 7 vm.
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.
Backup is now complete. It took 4 mins
For more detailed information, go to the backup report
I aborted a backup (using the red square) so I could take this screenshot
After a successful backup, we now go back to the dashboard screen, which contains some newly updated info
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..”
Restore Console is launched, select your options & restore locations.
A few messages pop up & we accept the defaults to begin the restore
This is a message we all love to see
Some more restore history reporting.
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>
I like this tool.
Final note by Hans Vredevoort
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.
If you want to download and test this software go to:
You can receive a full license if you send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org 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