BackupAssist: Hyper-V Host Level Backup & Guest File Retrieval

This is something that is the ideal.  Consider the typical host level backup with DPM (Data Protection Manager).  It uses VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) to bring the VM into a state where everything can be backed up at the VHD level without service interruption or inside VM corruption.  The problem with this is that you are backing up the state of the VM and a restore means you have to restore the entire VM.  Yes, you can restore that 100GB VHD, mount the VHD and get the file(s).  But that’s time consuming and slow.  It’s also manual.

That means you are typically putting backup agents on the host and in the VM.  The host level one is good for DR and the VM level one is good for operational backup/recovery.  The problem is the time to set it up, potentially the licensing costs (with 3rd party solutions), the amount of storage required and the amount of time/traffic required for a backup window.

A company called BackupAssist seems to get this.  I’ve never heard of them before and I cannot vouch for their product or their company.  But they are pointing the way forward.  The have a solution called BackupAssist v5 that will backup at the host level.  You can then restore any file from within the backed up VHD’s.  On the face of it, it appears they are doing this VHD mounting process through a GUI.  It also looks quite cheap.  If I was a SME looking for a backup solution for my Hyper-V servers, I’d definitely have to give their demo a good test.

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3 Replies to “BackupAssist: Hyper-V Host Level Backup & Guest File Retrieval”

  1. After an eval, I just purchased their product with the optional selective restore console, and the addons for Exchange and SQL.

    It’s very keenly priced (I’m not sure it’s aimed at the SAN market) and simple to use (I could never be entirely sure with Backup Exec what had backed up and what hadn’t). Support is very responsive.

    Downsides – there are a few missing features. Everything is schedule based – you can’t chain a series of jobs to run sequentially. Backups using Windows Imaging are constrained by Microsoft’s implementation – 2TB hard stop for example, and for some reason there’s only the option to manage 1 week of daily backups using imaging where the target is a fileshare.

    Upsides – if you’re wishing to backup to eSata devices, this seems to work pretty well. Value for money – 500 pounds for a Hyper-V aware product, able to restore individual files from a given guest, plus VSS based SQL and exchange mailbox level restore. Seems pretty good to me.

    I’m getting varied results backuping up to a iScsi target (Technet version of Windows storage server), but in fairness, I get the same issues with Windows Server backup so I suspect I’ve got underlying issues.

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