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Altaro VM Backup Product Review And Features

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.

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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 8.4.12.6 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.

Altaro VM Backup connect machine

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

Altaro VM Backup quick setup

I connected to my vCenter server 6.5

Altaro VM Backup add VC

Provided the credentials to my vCenter server and tested the connection. Connection status appeared as successful at the top.

Altaro VM Backup VC credentials

vCenter setup was successful and my connected Hosts were appeared in “Green”, which is a good sign of a healthy configuration

Altaro VM Backup VC configured

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

Altaro VM Backup Backup location

A folder should be selected to store the Virtual Machine backups, you can create a folder in this screen

Altaro VM Backup Location Folder

Backup Offsite Location also can be configure here, few offsite locations are available to store the offsite copies of the Virtual Machine backups

Altaro VM Backup add offsite location

Physical Drives, Network Drives, External Drives, Azure Storage Account and Altaro Offsite Server (WAN Acceleration) options are available as the offsite backup locations

Altaro VM Backup Altaro offsite server

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

Altaro VM Backup save config

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

Altaro VM Backup backup schedule

CDP Settings” for high frequency backups even for every five minutes, this configuration option can be configured for each and every Virtual Machine individually

Altaro VM Backup CDP Settings

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.

Altaro VM Backup retention policy

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.

Altaro VM Backup adv settings

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

Altaro VM Backup run backup job

Backup status is visible in the top notification bar and in the Dashboard

Altaro VM Backup notification

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

Altaro VM Backup restore

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

Altaro VM Backup restoration details

One-stop dashboard is listing all of the job status, back drive status and “Deduplication and Compression” ratio of the backups

Altaro VM Backup monitor dashboard

Restored Virtual Machine was in my vCenter inventory with the provided name

Altaro VM Backup restored VM

Replication can be easily enabled under “Replication” for the backed up Virtual Machines

Altaro VM Backup replication

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

Altaro VM Backup verify backup folder

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.

Altaro VM Backup backup health monitor

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

Altaro VM Backup Operation history

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

Altaro VM Backup available support

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Aruna Lakmal

Associate Technical Specialist at Pearson, Sri Lanka. Technology junky, enthusiast, a VMware vExpert and a blogger with more than 7 years of Experience in Information Technology more focusing on VMware Virtualization, Microsoft and Datacenter Technologies.

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