Protecting your Virtual Machine infrastructure is quite crucial and you need to pay more attention and effort on protecting all your Virtual Machines from a disaster, Altaro VM Backup is one of the best solutions for protecting all your Virtual Machines in Hyper-V and VMware virtualized environments. Recently, I got a chance to review this flagship product and I thought to write up a review on the product and its features in this post.
The Altaro Company
Altaro was founded in 2009 and it is celebrating its 10th anniversary in this year. Altaro’s flagship product, Altaro VM Backup is a choice for Hyper-V and VMware based Virtual Machine backups. Company is spread across United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Malta and North Macedonia providing 24/7 support services to its customers, all their products designed and developed in Europe.
Getting Started With Altaro VM Backup – Installation
Software can be easily downloaded from here and application was 213 MB in size. Installation was quite simple software installation and I used Windows Server 2016 server to install the Altaro VM Backup Version 18.104.22.168 and it was fully compatible with the operating system.
After the successful installation, it led me to the “Management Console” of the application, which can be used to connect to the same machine or a remote machine which configured the Altaro VM Backup.
After the successful connection to the server, “Dashboard” will appear along with the “Quick Setup” option which can be easily used to setup the backup infrastructure for the first time
Connecting vCenter Server
I tested this in my VMware environment with vSphere 6.5, selecting the “Add Hyper-V / VMware Host” option
I connected to my vCenter server 6.5
Provided the credentials to my vCenter server and tested the connection. Connection status appeared as successful at the top.
vCenter setup was successful and my connected Hosts were appeared in “Green”, which is a good sign of a healthy configuration
Backup Configurations And Options
The next step was adding the backup location, I used the same drive to store the backups since this is my test environment. You have the opportunity to configure the NAS drive or other network location to configure as the backup location
A folder should be selected to store the Virtual Machine backups, you can create a folder in this screen
Backup Offsite Location also can be configure here, few offsite locations are available to store the offsite copies of the Virtual Machine backups
Physical Drives, Network Drives, External Drives, Azure Storage Account and Altaro Offsite Server (WAN Acceleration) options are available as the offsite backup locations
After completing the “Step 2” adding backup location, Virtual Machines added to this location simply dragging and dropping to the location. It was an easy configuration option and I personally liked that option rather than selecting Virtual Machines from another wizard and clicking few buttons. Configuration should be saved after selecting the Virtual Machines to this location
Under “Backup Settings” there were some configuration options:
- Schedule Settings
- CDP Settings
- Retention Policy
- VSS Settings
- Advanced Settings
- Delete Backup Versions
- Master Encryption Key
Under “Schedule Settings” default backup schedules were there and Virtual Machines can be easily dragged and dropped to select these default policies, or you can “Add Backup Schedule” here as per the customer requirement
“CDP Settings” for high frequency backups even for every five minutes, this configuration option can be configured for each and every Virtual Machine individually
One other important configuration is the default “Retention Policy” for the backups. Default old backup deletion policy and offsite deletion policy configured for 2 weeks, by default all the Virtual Machines were added to these policies. Custom GrandFather-Father-Son Archival policies are also available.
Under “Advanced Settings” few advanced configurations such as deduplication, encryption, exclude ISOs, use CBT and excluding drives from the backups can be configured. This configuration options are also available to the each and every Virtual Machine in the inventory. Altaro’s deduplication is one of the most important feature, which can save more space and money from backup locations. Customers can be highly benefited with this deduplication mechanism when it enabled in the production backup jobs.
Running A Backup Job, Restoration And Replication
The next step is to configure the “Backups“, I had a test Virtual Machine named “isotest” and I ran a quick backup of this Virtual Machine. Virtual Machines can be easily search from the inventory typing the name or a part of the name in the search box
Backup status is visible in the top notification bar and in the Dashboard
To restore a Virtual Machine from the taken backup, it gives you few options:
- Restore VM as Clone
- Restore Virtual Disk
- File Granular Restore
- Boot from Backup
I just tested my previous Virtual Machine as a Clone with the “Restore VM as Clone” option
Previous backup version, Virtual Machine name, Target Host and Datastore should be provided in the next screen and there is a safety option to disconnect the network card of the Virtual Machine to avoid IP conflicts after the restoration
One-stop dashboard is listing all of the job status, back drive status and “Deduplication and Compression” ratio of the backups
Restored Virtual Machine was in my vCenter inventory with the provided name
Replication can be easily enabled under “Replication” for the backed up Virtual Machines
Sandbox And Verify Backups
One of other important and fantastic feature is “Sandbox & Verify Backups” option, which is to ensure healthy and error free backup for the Virtual Machines. Original Virtual Machine will not be interrupted
There are two options available to test the backups, “Verify Backup Folders” to endure the integrity of the backup and “Perform Full Test Restore” to ensure the booting Virtual Machine after a restoration
“Backup Health Monitor” is a safety mechanism to test the health status of the backup location, this process can be configured to automate the Health check monitoring of the backup drive location. This monitoring mechanism will attempt to self-heal any bad blocks and notify you regarding any inconsistencies in your backup set.
Reports and Available Support Services
“Operation History” and “Error History” is available to check the backup job history and the Error History of the backup infrastructure
In terms of customer support, there are many options available such as email support, over the phone support and Live Chat Support and also few other useful links available to make their customer’s lives more easier
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