Six VM backup tips for your virtual server environments

Virtual machine (VM) backups can pose several challenges to the uninitiated. These VM backup tips can prove useful to protect your virtual servers.

In today's era of server virtualization, virtual machine (VM) environments are scaling up day by day. Physical environments now take the VM road to leverage server virtualization's benefits. It's essential to perform optimal VM backups of these virtual server environments, and the following best practices will prove handy.

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VM backup tip 1: It's essential to categorize what to backup. In case of VMware environments, .vmdk and .vmx are data and configuration files that exist separately for each virtual machine. As most backup software support volume shadow copy service, we can back up these files. This is equal to a full VM backup of each virtual server.

VM backup tip 2: We can use the advantage of virtual consolidated backups to reduce load on the ESX Server, as the VM backup load is moved to another dedicated proxy server known as VCB proxy host. VCB backups enable LAN-free backups, and helps avoid the flow of backup data on your data center's production network infrastructure.

VM backup tip 3: If we take VCB enabled backups, there's no need to install the backup software client on each VM. This eases VM backup administration and also gives cost benefits, as there's no need to procure separate backup client licenses for each virtual machine.

VM backup tip 4: Today's backup software solutions are aware of virtual environments other than VMware, and need just one license per physical server, irrespective of the virtual machines provisioned on that particular server. For example, in the case of EMC Networker, you'll need the virtual client license. So these things should be kept in mind while while choosing a backup software for virtual server environments.

VM backup tip 5: Using deduplication enabled backup software will give enormous backup media savings and considerable reduction in the VM's backup window. In the case of virtual server environments, we get dedupe ratios of up to the 80% (in some cases, even more than this figure). Increased dedupe ratios mean reduced VM backup windows, which directly affect the company's total cost of ownership.

VM backup tip 6: In the case of VCB backups, ensure that all virtual machines have installed the latest version of VMware tools.

Anuj Sharma
Anuj Sharma

About the author: Anuj Sharma is an EMC Certified and NetApp accredited professional. Sharma has experience in handling implementation projects related to SAN, NAS and BURA. One of his articles was published globally by EMC, and titled the Best of EMC Networker during last year's EMC World held at Orlando, US.

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